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Robert Nevin’s fave band of 1977 and my fave band of 1980; MJ all over Itunes

My friend Robert Nevin’s taste in music gives the term eclectic whole new vistas of meaning; he obsesses over the minutia of weirdness, the sound of the strange, the found sound, the dropped noise, the daft baker from Dumbarton and the forgotten born again bluegrass museum.

A couple of months ago when I asked for favorite albums, Robert name checked 10cc’s “Deceptive Bends”. “Deceptive Bends”? half their original line- up had hit the road after the fair to middling “How Dare You” (a better album then the previous one hit song album “The Original Soundtrack” -the song was “I’m not in Love” by the way) and the other half weren’t the brains of the outfit. What the heck did Robert see in 5cc.

In the early 70’s 10cc were to prog rock what Steely Dan were to jazz. An expertly (almost sessionly) played English pop sheen on overly produced, fussily written potential pop standards. All four musicians -Grahan Goldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme, had come out of the same scene that brought us Herman Hermits, the Kinks, the Mindbenders (you know: “Groovy Kind Of Love,” Eric Stewart sang that.

So these same minded fellows bought Sgt Peppers and Traffic, were discovered by Brit king maker Jonathan King after being turned down by Apple records and had three smashes off their first album all of which sound great today. The album is actually not merely similar but better than Steely Dan’s “Can’t Buy A Thrill”. Anyway, success went to their ego and they got stuck in their own ambitions and went from intricate hook filled songs to ambitious symphonic disasters like “One Night In Paris”.

And of course: no Beatles, Stones or 10cc in 1977, the year Mr. Nevin’s favorite album was released. I remember buying “Deceptive Bends” because I remember the cover. I only remember one song, “The Things We Do For Love” included here:
According to Wipedia Eric Stewart claims it was a return to a simpler sound. Perhaps. If Electric Light Orchestra are a simpler sound. In the end 10cc were gutted by two things at the same time: they became completely unfashionable at the same time they became completely unlistenable. Your turn, Robert.

Richard Grabel, former New Musical Express New York correspondent, recommended the Feelies to me back in the day and after hearing their 1980 album “Crazy Rhythms” I managed to mention them in every other article I wrote for the next two years. They looked like geeks (actually, they looked like rock critics -all white tees, plaid shirts and glasses) and they sounded like third generation Velvet Underground with all sex appeal frozen and a bad tic. Give a listen to my favorite song of 1980 “The Boy With Perpetual Nervousness” :

They are all strung out guitars -but strung out on aspirin not heroin. They are cool in their absolute lack of cool and Glenn Mercer’s ability as a master songwriter is at odds with what they look and feel and sound like: it’s as if everything you were being told was hot about rock wasn’t. Punk, for all its class warfare, were hot stuff; they got the girl always. 10cc for all their nerdy exactness were cool: they were like the doctors in the movie of MASH, they were “the pros from dover” . But the Feelies were these sound doctors, this buzz in the back ground a weird ambient sound flow. These cats were us in High School.

Anyway, the Feelies seldom played live and I saw em a total of once and found them fascinating but not exciting -the guitars tense and loud road was all riffs and sounded more like Glenn Branca than Glenn Mercer. And then they didn’t release their follow up till 1986 and I had lost interest.

Michael Jackson has 6 out of Itunes top 10 selling singles and 9 out Itunes top 10 selling albums on the charts today. The outpouring of grief is real but tainted -it’s like if your unfaithful ex dies in a car crash. I will get around to taking a closer look at his career but the long and short of it is from “I Want You back” to “Scream” and even “Invincible” the man was a complete master of crossover dance music and could dance like a dream on top.

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