Eric Stewart on 10cc, Paul McCartney and his new two-disc Anthology

Eric Stewart is a English musician and producer who is best known for his time with 10cc, a band he was a member of from 1972 to 1995. They enjoyed three UK number ones, including I’m Not In Love (co-written by Stewart), a song that endures to this day.

Stewart’s solo work is less well known, with much of it out of print or simply unavailable on CD at all. Cherry Red encouraged Stewart to curate a two-CD Anthology which was released in the summer. SDE caught up with him a few weeks ago to discuss the project and his new book Things I Do For Love

SuperDeluxeEdition: There’s a few 10cc related projects out at the moment, there’s the ‘Before During After’ box set and then there’s your Anthology and there’s a few other things… 

Eric Stewart: Yeah, and Godley and Creme…

SDE: That’s right. Did you get involved in the box set project as well, or have you just been focusing on your own anthology?

ES: No, no, it’s the record company themselves decided on the compilation of that [box].  I think the covers were done by Kevin Godley, and the title, Before During After, which was quite interesting, because it is stuff recorded before 10cc, during 10cc and after…

SDE: But focusing on your particular anthology, you would have been aware that your albums weren’t available digitally – the early ones aren’t on CD – so was there a feeling that it was about time you got the stuff back out there and into the marketplace?

ES: It wasn’t me, Paul, actually, it came to me from Cherry Red themselves, the people there actually called me and said ‘We’ve been looking at your past history, we’d love you to put together a compilation of what you think were the best tracks’, which was a lovely project.  So yeah, I got down to it, and then, because I had all the original masters, even the analogue masters for 16 and 24 track masters, I copied them all again to digital and then started to remix them, using a lot of sounds that are only available now because of all the apps that we can now move into, recording system like Logic on Apple Macs, which is terrific. It does sound very, very good, it’s very, very close to analogue, which I still think is slightly better, but we don’t really believe in analogue systems any more, apart from people buying them again, which I’m delighted to hear.

SDE: How much of the material did you actually go back and remix? Was it all of it or just some of it?

ES: I think probably about half of it. There was some earlier stuff that wasn’t able to get the multi-track masters for, so I listened to those anyway and compared them with what I was doing with the ones that I had managed to copy across digitally, and just see if they blended sound wise throughout the album.  I mean, there are some, like the Girls track, which came from the film, and a couple of the early ones which were actually released in mono, but I managed to tart them up and just bring the sound back, because I’d engineered all those tracks anyway back then.

SDE: Are you saying that ‘Girls’ was only ever available in mono originally?

EC: Yeah, I think it’s only available in mono, yes, it was released as an album from the film that I did it for, so I couldn’t find a decent stereo version anywhere, but you can using Logic, you can create a stereo version of a song – it’s quite easy, although it doesn’t sound as interesting as a real stereo picture because [with that] you’ve got a serious left and right, you can move instruments around, and voices and backing voices behind the lead vocal and so on, you’ve got a lot more flexibility there with a true stereo master or stereo multi-track.

SDE: I think ‘Girls’ sounds incredible. I’ll admit, I wasn’t familiar with that track, but I couldn’t believe how good it sounded…

ES: Well, it was a very interesting project that was thrown at me. I mean, the guy who asked me to do it was Just Jaeckin, who’d done all these really, really naughty films called Emmanuelle, the Story of O in France, and I thought ‘What the hell does he want?’  He said ‘Oh, I want a Saturday Night Fever’, which had just been a big hit across in American and Britain, he said ‘I want to do something musically’, and that’s what it was all about. So I said ‘Well okay, I’d be delighted’, and I got together with a guy who was with 10cc at the time, with the touring band, called Duncan Mackay, and we wrote the whole backing track for the movie, but Girls was the only thing that was released as a single.

SDE: But why not just go album by album and do the whole album, and maybe find a few bonus tracks and do it that way round, what stopped you from doing that?

ES: I think it was the amount of tracks that would be there, you’d be talking over 40-50 tracks really, and a lot of them, listening to them now, I didn’t think were good enough compared with some of the tracks on the albums. So what I wanted to do was pick the best tracks out of each album, the Frooty Rooties, the Girls track, as I said, because there were no other songs on the Girls album, it’s all background music.

SDE: Wasn’t there a song called ‘Warm, Warm, Warm’?

ES: Oh yes, there was, you’re right. Yeah, again it’s a sweet song but I didn’t think it was good enough to balance them. It’s interesting, because the way I compiled them, eventually I’ve got a lot of flack about from some of the reviewers, saying ‘Why have you used the first track’, which would be Girls, ‘in the middle of the second album, the second CD?’, but I was just going on my own instincts, listening to the sounds and the way they progressed rhythmically, sonically, and word wise. That for me was the best compilation I could think of, starting with the Age of Consent.

SDE: Yes, I was going to ask you that very question actually, you know, about the running order, and I thought there was obviously some method in the way that you broke things up.

ES: Yeah. We used to do that when I mastered the 10cc albums, you’d sit there and listen to each track, certainly the opening track of the album had to be something that would make people sit back and go ‘Oh, what’s that?’ Then rhythmically, sometimes things are following when you’re just tapping a rhythm, a time, and you count the time with a gap in between and then bang, the next track hits, it sort of develops itself, it’s something you do as a musician, but also engineering things too.

SDE: Even though this is primarily your solo material, there are a few 10cc tracks on here…

ES:  They’re the tracks that I actually gave to the record company to put in the 10cc albums, especially the Mirror Mirror album, you know, those tracks did suit 10cc, even though we were not actually writing and working together at all at that point in time.

SDE: But do you consider those almost de facto solo songs, in a way? Is that why you think the inclusion of those tracks is justified on this new collection?

ES: Yeah, I thought they were good enough. Yvonne’s the One, which I’d recorded and written with Paul McCartney, and Code of Silence, you know, the one that I’d written with him, started writing with him, and then he said ‘Well you finish it and see what you come up with’, and that’s what I came up with, Code of Silence, and I really loved that track too because, you know, it started just from sitting down with him and him playing the most beautiful string section and then adding a little bass thing on it and a very ordinary little electric piano, just banging a chord, but when it was finished, he played about two minutes of it and I said ‘That’s brilliant, that’s brilliant’, you know, and he said ‘Well alright, you carry on with it, let’s see what you come up with’, and I carried on with it myself and came up with the words and the guitar solo, I extended it from two minutes to about six minutes, but he liked it. So there we go, it’s a Stewart-McCartney song, or McCartney-Stewart…

SDE: You didn’t include anything from Windows in the Jungle or Meanwhile –  is that just because you didn’t think those projects particularly worked out that well?

ES:  I didn’t think they did, certainly for my album. No, no, I didn’t, I just wanted to keep … like we did with the 10cc albums, every track was always different than the previous track, and I wanted to do that. The Beatles used to do it all the time with George Martin; every track would be different, and it would really surprise you how they found so many variations, and that certainly influenced 10cc and I wanted to carry that on, and I think I did on this album.

SDE: As well as the re-jigging the running order, you’ve actually re-titled some of the songs from ‘Do Not Bend’. Why did you choose to do that?

ES: Again, looking at the words and then listening to me singing, I thought ‘Why have I used that, why have I used …’  I’m trying to look down the list now to think, Sleeping With The Ghosts or something like that, when ‘Heaven Knows’ was repeated more times and was more of a chorus line, it could have been an opening line, that sounded more like the title to me. It’s one of those things, you’re always developing things, you look at them, even looking at the words now, so I’ve got the words up in front of me, or the reasons why these songs were written, and you find yourself changing things even now, it’s the way your brain develops ideas I think.

SDE: That’s an interesting approach, because you’re almost treating your past recordings as a ‘work in progress’ really. You don’t look at your previous work as something that’s locked down and has to remain as it is?

ES: Well only songs like I’m Not in Love, that’s locked down, but believe me, you’ve probably heard the stories before; when we did it initially it was a bossa nova.

SDE: That’s right, yeah.

ES: And it just was not good enough, you know. It was Kevin Godley who said ‘That sounds like crap’.  ‘Well what do you think?’, and he said ‘Why don’t we do it all with voices?’, and I said ‘What, a cappella?’  He said ‘No, no, we do the whole track using voices, hundreds of voices’, and I said ‘What, employ a choir?’  He said ‘No, we can do it like a mellotron’, where you can mass strings on tape loops, and we developed our own tape loops to do that, but that was just somebody triggering another thought in your head, and once you’ve got that great thought in your head we did come up with something that was totally unique.

SDE: It’s still an amazing track, isn’t it?

ES: It is, thank god, you know, it’s my bloody pension, that track, but Kevin actually recently said ‘I still think songs like I’m Not in Love and The Things We Do For Love are crap, but I wish I’d have written them’.

SDE: But talking of that, one thing that really came across to me, listening to this anthology, is sonically everything sounds incredible. You clearly still enjoy the production side of things and working in the studio and getting things to sound perfect.

ES: Yeah, I do. What we can also do now, Paul, when I took those masters to the cutting room, there’s a guy there call Andy Pearce in London, he could also listen to that stereo picture and widen it, slim it down to almost mono for a more rock and roll-y sound, and he was doing things that I’d never considered and it got me going again. So with every track, we really did work hard on it, but gosh, I was so thrilled when we’d finished it, I rang him up and congratulated him, said ‘Thanks for doing that, it’s brilliant’.

SDE: You mentioned how other people contributing ideas – all the bouncing off each other with ‘I’m Not in Love’ – led to decisions being made which created that amazing track. However, with your solo albums, it’s mainly you playing everything, on your own. Which is obviously impressive, but is that hard as well, because you’re on your own and you’re left to get on with it?

ES: It is hard, but it’s something you can just mess around with, leave alone and come back later, listen again, whereas if you’re in a studio with a group of guys you’ve really got a timing problem, even though the studio belonged to us, both Strawberry Studios and North and South, you are working to some sort of a deadline for a record company, whereas these tracks I wasn’t, I was just enjoying myself and then leaving something alone, coming back a few days later and changing the title, as you said, changing the feel, getting rid of things which are beginning to sound over-produced, and just leave the little magical bits of music in there that suddenly started to stand out to me.

SDE: But how do you know when something is finished? Is that just pure instinct?

ES: It is a pure instinct, yeah. I would think ‘what else can I do with this?’, but again I would leave it alone, I’d do a mix of it that I was happy with, leave it alone, and then listen to that mix a week later or two weeks later – even a month later – and say ‘Is that standing up?’, and most of the time it was, thank god, but sometimes I’d think ‘Oh no, hold on, my voice is not loud enough, or it’s too loud, or I don’t like the sound of it, I don’t like the reverb I’ve used on it’ etc, ‘I need some more of the guitar to the right and the keyboards to the left’ or whatever.

SDE:  And your lyrics… I was reflecting on your lyrics, listening to all these songs, and there’s a lot of humanity in there, in terms of our place in the world, how we interact with friends and the ones we love and all that kind of stuff. Do those song ideas and themes come easily to you?

ES: They do. It’s the idea that makes me think of doing a song about it, as I’ve said, many times, like that first track, Age of Consent, my wife and I walk into a restaurant and within about five minutes we realise that we’re in a gay restaurant that was for girls and we didn’t know, and the staff were all ladies and there were lots of ladies on the tables with each other, holding hands and dancing together, when they played some music, and I turned to Gloria and I said ‘Well, this is the age of consent, Gloria’.  The minute I said that, the song started writing itself in my head… so I wrote about the experience sitting in that restaurant and this going on around me, and it’s things like that.

You know, somebody will say something to me, like ‘What do you think, Eric, is everything enough?’, and I said ‘No, everything’s not enough, for a lot of people’, and it’s weird because, you know, you’ve got people who you think have everything they would ever need in their lives, financially or whatever, but they always seem to want more, and so I thought ‘Well, I’ll write a song about it’.  Ideas come up like that.

SDE: I thought 2007’s ‘Viva La Difference’ was a great album, but how difficult is it, mentally, when you work on a record and it comes out and has a relatively short lifespan and doesn’t necessarily connect with a wider audience in the way that you might have hoped it would. Is that tough to deal with? You’re not having the number ones any more like you were in the 70s, but the music’s still great…

ES: It’s a generation thing, Paul, I think. There are a lot of people listening to radio out there now who are really two generations behind me, and the things that they are buying, like Ed Sheeran or Adele, who are selling multi-multi millions around the world – far great than even The Beatles did – I can’t compete with that. The only thing I’m hoping to do is get through to people who did know 10cc, but again trying to get people to play these tracks for you on radio, again I’m dealing with a totally different age group and they don’t see the songs being interesting for Radio 1, for instance. I would never get a song played on Radio 1, but c’est la vie, that’s life, the way it is at the moment.

All I want to do is to write these ideas down, because I’m always thinking of songs, of ideas, it’s part of my life, my music life’s been over 50 years now, so ideas come up or somebody says something to me, you know, and Viva la Difference, as you’ve just said, that title came to me when somebody said in France, ‘Well, viva la difference’, because something was being said in the conversation that we disagreed with, and I thought straight away ‘Well of course, it’s great that we do disagree because that’s how things progress’, you start thinking ‘Why is it that we disagree, how can I improve on what I was saying or how can he or she improve what she was saying?’, and the whole thing comes up as a song for me.  Whether that will link with the public I’m not too sure, but if they do know about the background behind each song it may become totally clearer.

SDE: How do you connect with your fans?  I mean, are you into social media and all that kind of stuff?

ES: Yeah, I don’t go on Facebook and Twitter myself, but I do have a girl called Gilly Hewer who runs basically my record label, I call it Strawberry Soundtracks, she deals with the fan clubs, and there are about 6,000, the members, and she lets them know what I’m up to all the time, whether it’s songs, something for a film, writing with somebody else, recording somebody else, mixing stuff, she lets them know about all that, so I’m still in contact that way.

SDE: You were talking about Paul McCartney earlier on. I think your harmonies on ‘Tug of War’ and ‘Pipes of Peace’ with Paul and Linda are rather uncelebrated. That was quite sublime, the mix of your three voices.  That must have been fun, hanging out with Paul and Linda and George Martin during those sessions?

ES: Terrific. I mean, I’m dealing with a man there who is a genius, believe me, Paul would just come up with an idea, he’s a genius, and having the fifth Beatle there with George, watching the way the chemistry was going between them, they didn’t even have to discuss something, they’d just look at each other and nod or shake their head and it would develop in that way, and that was thrilling for me to watch, because I’d often wondered, ‘How did they come up with those ideas? How did they develop the song once the lyrics and stuff were done?’ It happened between me and Paul, I walked into the studio and I’d got a postcard from Nick Mason, who’s the drummer with Pink Floyd, and on the front of the photograph there’s this beautiful girl with a volcano exploding behind her, and I showed Paul the photograph, and at the bottom it said ‘When I first saw Yvonne volcanoes erupted’, and he looked at it and he said sings ‘When I first saw Yvonne volcanoes erupted’.  I said ‘What?’  He said ‘Yeah, let’s do it’, and he did, he sung, he’d taken this line from the postcard, he sung the first line of the song and it was brilliant.  So we developed it from there and it just clicked, and our three voices, thank you for saying, I do agree, the blend of Linda, me and Paul was so smooth, I loved it, I loved just working for them anyway, great thrill.

SDE: Another thing that must have been quite difficult, I guess – correct me if I’m wrong – but the timeline suggests you would have been in the studio in early ’81 when John had just died?

ES: Yeah. It was interesting, it was very, very sad, and I was working with Paul actually down at Strawberry South at the time, we were doing Stevie Wonder and he’d written a song with Paul, I think it was the Tug of War album, yeah, What’s That You’re Doing. And we had his girl backing group there, Wonderlove, who were doing the most wonderful vocals. Paul’s sitting there, just looking very, very strangely, just looking into the distance, and I said ‘Are you okay?’, and he said ‘Yeah’, he said ‘Do you know, I’ve just realised that John is really gone and I’m never going to see him again’, and I said ‘Bloody hell, you’re right, wow. You must be feeling it a hell of a lot more than I will’.  He said ‘Yeah, it’s so sad’, but I don’t know what was going on between them at that point in time, but obviously there were big fallings out with the Beatles anyway, as you’re probably well aware, but really, seriously, John was the only person who could say to Paul ‘That’s not good enough, we’ve got to get that better’ or ‘I don’t like that, it’s crap’, he could say that and Paul would listen to him. If I said that to Paul he’d take my head off [laughs], you know, and quite rightly, you know, he’s got a great brain.

SDE: Well that’s an interesting point. If you don’t mind indulging me with a few questions about Paul’s ‘Press To Play’ album, because you went from playing a bit of guitar and doing backing vocals on the ‘Tug of War’ and ‘Pipes of Peace’ albums, to working more with Paul in a songwriting capacity.

ES: That’s right.

SDE: Press to Play ended up being produced by Hugh Padgham, and is it correct that there was a bit of a misunderstanding between you and Paul in terms of roles and who would be doing what?

ES: Yes, it’s very correct. It was George Martin, we were at dinner, at an awards dinner, and George says to me, he said ‘Eric, why don’t you produce Paul’s next album?’, and I said ‘What?  What?’, in shock, you know, get my heart pills. I said ‘Why, are you not doing it?’  He said ‘No, no, I think he needs some new blood in the tracks’, or on the tracks, as I put it. I said ‘Really?’  I said ‘Thank you for asking me’. About three days later Paul’s manager, Steve Shrimpton, rang me up and said ‘Eric, can we have a meeting?’, just him and I.  I went over to their offices in London, MPL, and sat down, and he said ‘Eric, would you like to produce Paul’s next album?’, and I thought for about five seconds and said ‘Of course, I’d be delighted’. So we started planning all of that, we’d already been continuing to write songs together socially, because we saw a lot of each other, him and Linda, me and Gloria, my wife, and we lived quite close by down in East Sussex. Anyway, before we actually started recording anything at Paul’s home studio he rings me up, he said ‘Oh, by the way, I’ve got Hugh Padgham coming in to engineer’.  I said ‘Oh wow, right, brilliant, he’s a very good engineer’. He said ‘But he can’t start for about four weeks, so in the meantime let’s go in and do something else’, he said ‘I’ve got this brilliant English drummer coming in and I’ve got Jon Kelly’, who was a great UK engineer, ‘he’ll just come and record with us’.

So we went in and we started to play on the first day a song called Angry. And that song, we finished it in a day. I got this great guitar backing track going, Paul playing magic bass, singing beautifully, him, Linda and me doing the backing vocals and all that, [sings] ‘Shouting down again, mama, shouting down again’.  I got home that night and the phone rang and my wife picked it up, it was Paul, and he said ‘Tell your man he’s a fucking genius’, he said ‘That track, Angry, sounds so bloody good, I’m delighted, so just tell him that, will you?’, and of course I was over the moon about that.

So about three weeks later we started recording, we’d got an American drummer over who was a fantastic drummer, and Hugh started engineering.  It was all going well, the sounds were great, Hugh’s a great sound engineer, but eventually one day things started to fall apart when I said – via Hugh – ‘Can you go over that vocal again, Paul?’,  he went over the talkback, and said ‘Paul, can you do that again, he doesn’t like it?’ I said ‘He? Hold on, what’s going on here?’  So I said ‘Paul, can we have a chat?’  We went in the office and had a chat, I said ‘What’s going on?  I thought I was supposed to be producing this with you?’  He said ‘Well no, Hugh’s producing it too’. Now Hugh had said to us at the start of the album ‘I’m not a record producer’, he said ‘I couldn’t tell you an A-flat from a basement flat’, those were his exact words, and I said ‘Oh okay, well don’t worry about that, you just engineer, you’re a bloody brilliant engineer’

Anyway, we left it that day and I went home, and then I got a phone call from Paul’s manager saying ‘Eric, you’re no longer on the production side’, and that was it, one day I’m an effing genius, next day I’m not needed, and I said ‘Oh, okay’. A few hours later Linda rings my wife and said ‘Oh please, tell Eric I’m sorry about this, but I hope we’re going to continue to be friends’, and she said ‘Well I don’t know, you’ll have to speak to Eric about that, we don’t know what’s happened down there’. Anyway, Hugh carried on –  I didn’t –  and the album was turned into a pile of crap. God knows what happened, but by the time it was finished there were four producers involved and they’d messed up those songs, like Angry, totally changed them, a great song called Stranglehold, which was a beautiful song we’d written together, buggered it all up with blipping saxes going all the way through the verses.  Anyway, it turned out to be the worst selling album Paul had ever released up until that point.

SDE: Yeah, the production side of it was a bit of a mess in the end, wasn’t it?

ES: It was ghastly, it was ghastly, and I really felt very sorry that I’d got myself involved and then was told to walk away from it when it was going so bloody well before Hugh got involved in the production side. I think he would admit himself now it was a grave mistake, but anyway.

SDE: But the relationship must have recovered, because obviously Paul did play on a couple of tracks on the ‘Mirror Mirror’ album?

ES: Yeah, it did.  We of course stayed very friendly with Linda and then I started seeing Paul again, you know, we’d have dinners together, and I started writing again with him. We still talk, we still talk.

SDE: Did he ever say to you, ‘Ah, sorry about that, it was a bit of a cock up’?

ES: No, no, we didn’t discuss that album at all.

SDE: Tell me about your book ‘Things I Do For Love’. It’s only available digitally, isn’t it, there isn’t a printed copy you can buy, is that right?

ES: No. Well, the main reason, Paul, is because there were so many links in the book to songs, to every song I ever was involved with, including the McCartney songs, ad libs of me and Paul in the studio taking the piss out of Andrew Lloyd Webber and stuff like that, it’s hilarious. It’s got stuff like that you cannot put in a printed book.

SDE: I see, so it’s much more interactive than just reading text?

ES: Totally. There’s stuff in there that no one’s ever heard, and a lot of 10cc chat too, you know, me and Lol Creme talking about guitars, guitar solos, songs we love messing around with.

SDE: Oh that sounds really interesting.

ES: Yeah, well that’s the beauty of it, Paul, and I can’t do that on a coffee table version if I put one out. Christ, the cost would be astounding. What I’m trying to do at the moment is re-release it with Amazon, because at the moment their Kindle version is only the size of a handbag, and this book has got photographs in it that are so stunning, they’ve got to be in full landscape, you know, 11 inches by 8 inches, 11 x 8 tall, so you see exactly what I’m talking about in the photograph. So it’s discussing everything, music, photography, racing cars, aeroplanes, studios, 29 chapters of it and 550 photographs that I’ve taken myself all the way, since I was 16 years old I was taking pictures of wherever I was, whichever group, The Mindbenders, Wayne Fontana, all that stuff.  It is a true biography.

SDE: How long did it take you to put that together?

ES: Three years, and I also got Paul’s permission to use some of the really unique photographs. That you won’t find anywhere else, of him and me working, and a photograph he’d taken of Linda.

SDE: Do you have any plans to record any more music in the near future or are you just concentrating on other projects, like the book?

ES: I’m concentrating on the book and the anthology at the moment, yeah, but ideas are always coming and titles are coming up. Songs come from titles so many times, Word of the Mouth, We’re Not Alone, Viva la Difference, Girls, oh and More and More Each Day, that’s something I wrote as a Christmas card to my wife, ‘I love you more and more each day, much more than yesterday but not as much as I will love you tomorrow’, and the minute I’d written it down I thought ‘There’s a bloody song there’, and I wrote the song as well. So it happens like that if you’ve got a brain that is working in that way.

SDE: You mentioned about vinyl earlier on, any plans to maybe put out some kind of vinyl edition of the anthology?  It would probably have to be cut down, wouldn’t it?

ES: It would have to be, yes, you’re right, to probably six tracks a side. I’ve not thought about it, and Cherry Red haven’t mentioned it, but Universal are putting out vinyl versions of the first four 10cc albums, so that will happen, which is great. I mean, the sales are really picking up and I’ve got a lot of people saying to me ‘Oh I’ve just bought a record player’.  I say ‘Really?’  ‘Yeah, with a needle’. It’s great, especially with the vinyl situation, and then the vinyl records are selling, original vinyl, if it’s in good condition, sells for a fortune, it’s incredible, but the sound is seriously good.  I always wished that people could listen to the tracks as I was mixing them in the studio, when we were finished, like I’m Not in Love, we sat there for three hours listening to it again and again and again, saying ‘What the hell have we created here?  It’s six minutes, 10 seconds long, they’ll never play it’, but they did, eventually, and it was a worldwide smash, thank god.

Thanks go to Eric Stewart was talking to Paul Sinclair for SuperDeluxeEdition.

Eric Stewart’s two-CD Anthology is out now. His eBook, The Things I Do For Love is available on iTunes. For more on Eric Stewart, SDE recommends checking out the The Strange Brew podcast.

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Eric Stewart (10CC)

Eric Stewart/10cc - Anthology 2CD set


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10cc - Before During After - 4CD


Eric Stewart Anthology


















10cc / Before During After – 4CD box set

DISC ONE – The Best of 10cc             

  • Rubber Bullets / The Best Of 1972-1978          4.46
  • Donna / The Best Of 1972-1978          2.56
  • Silly Love / The Best Of 1972-1978          3.15
  • The Dean And I / The Best Of 1972-1978          2.52
  • Life Is A Minestrone / The Best Of 1972-1978          4.32
  • The Wall Street Shuffle / The Best Of 1972-1978          3.52
  • Art For Art’s Sake /  The Best Of 1972-1978          4.20
  • I’m Mandy Fly Me /  The Best Of 1972-1978          5.19
  • Good Morning Judge / The Best Of 1972-1978          2.54
  • The Things We Do For Love / The Best Of 1972-1978          3.21
  • Dreadlock Holiday / The Best Of 1972-1978          5.01
  • I’m Not In Love / The Best Of 1972-1978          5.59

DISC TWO – What We Did Next – Post 10cc                        

  • Godley and Creme     Under Your Thumb     3.43
  • Godley and Creme     An Englishman In New York   5.50
  • Godley andCreme     Cry       3.58
  • Godley and Creme     Wedding Bells 3.26
  • Graham Gouldman     Sunburn           2.58
  • Wax     Bridge To Your Heart  4.02
  • Wax     Right Between The Eyes        4.08
  • Eric Stewart    The Ritual Parts 1-2-3            10.4
  • Paul McCartney           Pretty Little Head        3.50
  • Art Of Noise    Metaforce       3.43
  • Art Of Noise    Metaphor On The Floor          2.05
  • GG06   Hooligan Crane           5.38
  • GG06   Son of Man     4.59
  • Kevin Godley   Confessions     3.06
  • Kevin Godley / Luke Mornay   Expecting A Message 4.12
  • Producers        Man On The Moon      04:02
  • Producers        Every Single Night In Jamaica            5.17

DISC THREE – And Friends                 

  • Ohio Express   Sausalito (Is The Place To Go)           2.18
  • Peter Cowap   Tampa, Florida           2.29
  • Garden Odyssey          Have You Ever Been To Georgia?       3.20
  • Tristar Airbus  Travellin’ Man 2.14
  • Peter Cowap   Crickets           3.13
  • Festival           Today  4.18
  • Doctor Father  Umbopo          5.30
  • Peter Cowap   Safari  2.18
  • Grumble          Da Doo Ron Ron          3.04
  • Garden Odyssey          The Joker         2.35
  • Manchester City F.C.   Funky City        2.26
  • Peter Cowap   The Man With The Golden Gun         2.39
  • Doctor Father  Roll On            4.33
  • Peter Cowap   Wicked Melinda          3.29
  • Tristar Airbus  Willie Morgan 2.49
  • Grumble          Pig Bin An’ Gone         4.01
  • Festival (3)      Warm Me       2.01
  • Peter Cowap   Oh Solomon    2.53
  • Manchester City F.C.   Boys In Blue    2.34
  • Crazy Elephant            There Ain’t No Umbopo         3.06

DISC FOUR – Before 10cc – the Early Years             

  • The Mindbenders        A Groovy Kind Of Love            2.02
  • The Mindbenders        One More Time          2.09
  • Graham Gouldman     Bus Stop          3.26
  • Graham Gouldman     No Milk Today 3.13
  • Graham Gouldman     For Your Love  2.31
  • Hotlegs            Neanderthal Man       4.13
  • Hotlegs            Desperate Dan            2.16
  • Rameses         Life Child         6.37
  • Rameses         Quasar One     6.46
  • Neil Sedaka     That’s When The Music Takes Me     3.34
  • Neil Sedaka     Solitaire          4.47
  • Neil Sedaka     Love Will Keep Us Together   3.44

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Jay St@fford

I saw an unscripted raw edge of McCartney’s personality show up during a 1990 episode of the American TV show “48 Hours” which featured him. On a talk show many years later, he would slip in a comment about himself such as ,”being of the hit-making variety, I…” So, yeah, he was very aware of his station in life. I’m not surprised he would incorrectly take rude offense with other musicians.


I came back here after reading the McCartney biog Fab by Howard Sounes and finding odd contradictions with what Eric Stewart says in this interview, as Pablo noted last year. In the book Eric Stewart says he walked away from the sessions because he realized he wasn’t going to be able to get McCartney to work as hard as he should on the album as he didn’t carry the “weight” that Lennon or George Martin had with him. That book was released in 2010, was he holding back something at the time when he talked to Sounes ? On the other hand I remember reading in the 80s (a Macca interview at the time of FITD ?) that he’d claimed P2P had failed partly because of a misunderstanding with Stewart about the production of the album, which is basically what he told you last year.

Paul if you ever get to Eric Stewart again can you please prod him about this ? Thanks !

The Original Kathy

The American story of I’m NOT IN LOVE would make a Lifetime movie. Ever wonder about She’s Gone inclusion into it. She’s Gone was recorded in 1973. Eric does not know about the American story and it is best he doesn’t.


Eric seems like a good, decent, warm man and certainly is a brilliant artist, but there’s some minor points here to be addressed:

– Girls was released in stereo only, a fine stereo mix, so no need for any stereo widening from a mono source;
– I believe there’s six vocal tracks on Girls, not two as said in the interview, including a different mix of Make The Pieces Fit;
– The need to remix tracks from Frooty Rooties is, in my opinion only, pointless, since the original mix made by the late great Martin Lawrence is a beautiful sounding one, very analogue, a rarity in the early digital era (1982). The remix changed the great recorded acoustic drums for digital drum samples, the snare on the remix is LOUD, sounding almost like a Hugh Padgham mix (sorry I couldn’t resist).

Overall, the Anthology is a very good selection from a very underrated artist and is worth buying for the high quality of the songs and the man’s huge talent as a musician and singer.

Steve Scott

Very interesting. Eric, if you read this please get out on the road and do some live stuff.

Shirley J.

Brilliant interview. I’m a huge fan of Eric Stewart and I’ve always felt he deserved more recognition for his body of work. Thanks so much!

Marc K.

Great interview Paul, thanks!
Being a big Police fan, I have my own opinion about Mr. Hugh Padgham and his influence in Ghost in the Machine. Great songs, pretty awful production.
Some of the ‘good’ albums of the ’80’s could have been great, were it not for the production of Padgham. Press to Play should receive a remix (Giles Martin maybe? Tony Visconti ;-) ?)
Paul, did you ask Eric Stewart about any future 10cc plans? There was a rumour a few years ago about a reunion of the 4 original members, anything on that?

Stephen E Cohen

Being from that “MTV Generation”, I oddly learned about Eric Stewart in a visual manner. I was curious about who that cool-looking dude was in Paul McCartney’s videos for “Take It Away” and especially, “So Bad”, + that Oscar-winning classic “Give My Regards To Broad Street”. I was always curious why that relationship with McCartney did not continue after “Press To Play”, but I always assumed it was due to the low sales of that particular album, and “shaking it up” a bit for “Flowers In The Dirt”. Obviously, there was bit more to it than that. So, I appreciate this interview, Paul, which gave me a little more insight into that situation. Also, great job, acknowledging those super harmonies of Paul, Linda, and Eric, on those extra special (to me) “Tug Of War” and “Pipes Of Peace” albums. Eric Stewart seemed very responsive to your questions and observations!


Actually, Eric’s memories of the PTP sessions contradicts his own recollections (and Padgham’s) for the McCartney biog Fab (written by Howard Sounes). If may quote a page from that book:

At first, Eric had been delighted with the songs he and Paul had written
at Waterfall, songs which came easily and sounded fresh to his ears. Then
he started to have misgivings about the quality of the tunes. ‘I thought, Are
they really good enough. Are they finished? I always thought when we get
them in the studio we’ll finish them, but as we got in the studio and we
started to record, I said, “This is not good.”’ One day Eric clicked the talkback
button and said: ‘Paul, that vocal’s not right.’
Paul asked Hugh Padgham his opinion. ‘Well, it’s OK, but I’m a sound
man, Eric’s the musician.’
‘But what do you think?’
Hugh agreed with Eric. Privately, Hugh had been worried that the
material was on the weak side, but assumed an artist of Paul’s stature,
working in tandem with someone as experienced as Eric, would improve
the songs in the studio. Unfortunately, this wasn’t happening. ‘I don’t think
it’s good enough,’ he said, suggesting some more writing might be
required. Paul’s response shocked both Hugh and Eric.
‘Hugh, when did you write your last number one?’ McCartney asked,
As Padgham says, ‘That one was a real kick in the balls, which you don’t
forget.’ Eric switched off the talk-back and groaned, Oh shit! This is going
wrong. ‘And it really did start to go wrong. There was this conflict there. And
that was something that Paul could do. He could actually wither you with a
sentence if he didn’t like what you’ve said.’ Eric later realised that he
should have stood up to Paul at this point, and thrashed out whatever the
problem was. But it was hard to argue with the man. ‘It’s difficult to tell Paul
McCartney, isn’t it? He’s a great singer, he’s written the greatest songs of
all time and you’re saying, “That’s not good enough”.’ John Lennon had
been able to have those candid conversations; George Martin could tell
Paul when he was wrong. ‘Could I do it? No.’ Despite the fact they had
known each other since the Cavern, and had worked closely for five years,
Eric was tongue-tied.
We never discussed it afterwards. But after about another week of
this, I said, ‘Hold it, this is not working for me.’ I said, ‘You carry on
with it. I’m just going to come down and pick my guitars up … I’m
not really adding anything here but conflict, because it’s not good
enough.’ Let Padgham carry on with it.
So Eric left, and Hugh found himself alone with Paul, renting a nearby
beach house where he lived an increasingly miserable existence as work
on this difficult album dragged on for an amazing 18 months, the producer
becoming thoroughly fed up with Paul McCartney in the process.


Great interview! Have the signed CD anthology and it’s fantastic. Now can you interview the rest of 10CC?

Wayne Klein

Great interview Paul. When I spoke to Gilly about the album and why Eric’s “Frooty Rooties” wasn’t released in full it also came down to the cost to license the whole album and reissue it hence the “Anthology” album that cherry picked the best tracks and combined them with “Mirror, Mirror” and Eric’s last two solo albums. She told me the same thing that Eric told you–he doesn’t consider “Girls, Girls Girls” to be a very good album just kind of mucking about creating background music. I keep hoping that Eric’s version of “Angry” and “Stranglehold” get reissued (as I recall the first single version WAS his mix and was withdrawn and hasn’t been reissued since). I hope Eric does do some new stuff as I really liked his last two solo albums quite a bit and the guy still has it. I also am hoping that, at some point, we get a disc of demos with various 10cc tracks from Eric (we got a small taste on the previous boxed set). When Eric remixed a couple of the older tracks from “Frooties” but, from what I can recall, the remixes are quite subtle not drastically different. Great interview. I am kicking myself, however, that I missed out the few signed copies from Cherry Red early on. I missed it by this much! Thank you!


Ace interview. Many thanks!

Darren Briscoe

Excellent article as usual! Ideal for an insomniac in California at 5am…

Keith Ainsworth

Very interesting interview. Very touching to hear about the moment McCartney realised John was gone forever. To us they were genius musicians but of course they were also mates who had gone through all those experiences together.


Superb immersion in Eric Stewart’s work.
Thanks, Paul !!

Mr Olsen

I’m sure Eric could rescue Press to Play now with a download of one of those lovely apps on his Apple Mac or iPad… Maybe the same app Tony Visconti used to fix “Heroes”?


“And I started writing again with him”…..there are more McCartney / Stewart songs perhaps ….?

John Gunderson

Great interview thanks for posting. I agree… Eric’s a genius and the anthology was a great idea but I wish he would have left the tracks from Frooty Rooties as they were.

Mike the Fish

That was really interesting. Thanks for asking the Press to Play questions.

Friso Pas

Lovely, Paul. Just … lovely background in-depth stuff, again, thanks to you, diving in deeper.

Ian Harris

Didn’t Hugh Padgham co-produce Bowie’s Tonight, initially on the understanding he would be the engineer but then took over? There’s something along those lines in Nick Pegg’s brilliant book The Complete David Bowie.

I am a huge 10cc fan and found this a fascinating read Paul, so thank you. I general I prefer the odder Godley & Creme side of the band, but Eric is (and I don’t mean this as a criticism at all) a master craftsman of pop music and there are plenty of post-Godley & Creme 10cc tracks I love. Eric’s Anthology has been on my wants list for a while as this prompted me to finally get it.

Any chance you could chat to Kevin Godley some time (maybe when his solo album is out next year)?

CJ Feeney

I love your interviews, Paul. Clearly you have a great “bedside manner” since you never fail to get revealing details that we don’t read elsewhere.

GS Cleere

Thanks Paul — great interview and, for sure, I will pick up the discs —



Great interview, Paul! I stopped working to read it. I could not put my phone down. SDE is my favorite click each day. BTW I cannot wait until you interview Sir Paul.

Paul E.

Don’t sell yourself short Paul as, me thinks it’s Macca who owes you an interview for all your coverage lately. He’s dominated the site good, bad, or indifferent and I’m quite sure that’s translated into sales. Your coverage has certainly been fair.


Paul, have you asked Eric if he was contacted in this recent years for Press To Play Archive Edition? I know that Danny Seiwell was contacted for Red Rose Speedway, so it would made sense with Eric for Press to play…

Andrew r

Paul any idea what the current state of play is between the ex members of 10cc
It is one band you never hear or read about. Funny really as they were so innovative
in the studio. Never seem to get any serious credit .The likes of Mojo will write yet another article about Floyd or T.rex nothing on 10cc.


Nice to hear from Eric again. Got the anthology in July and enjoyed it very much. Too bad ‘Warm, warm, warm’ isn’t on it. That was released as the second single off the Girls album over here in Holland, back in 1980. Only recently managed the get one in its original picture sleeve.

Eric is the only one I’ve followed, since 10cc broke up. Always wondered what happened between him and Graham Gouldman. Anyway, thanks for the interview.


I don’t care what anyone says Press To Play is still an amazing album!! Pretty little head is genius, good times coming, footprints move over busker, angry, write away, it’s not true, tough on a tightrope and even the b side hang glide…. so many great great tracks! Looking forward to the deluxe edition one fine day!!


I agree. Love that album

Mar Wolfgang

Great interview, thanks, but the McCartney saga does not add up. Hugh Padgham was the hottest producer around during that period, producing Genesis/Phil Collins/The Police. Surely he was never considered being ‘just’ an engineer for this project. While it will hardly ever occur, it would be interesting hearing McCartney’s point of view on this one.

CJ Feeney

I don’t know about his contributions to the Police, but Genesis were essentially the producers of their albums from Abacab onwards. The guy in the control room did little more than an engineer’ job. Maybe they had a “producer” to fulfill some expectation of the record label.

John Barleycorn

This was an unexpected treat, Paul. Excellent interview and very revealing.
I have the Eric Stewart Anthology and the production is indeed very good.

If you love this I urge you to seek out a two part podcast by The Strange Brew in which features a full interview with Eric and plays tracks from his entire career.

You may want to set up a link to it here, Paul?

adam shaw

That was very intresting . Love the Macca stuff .
I met him and Lol Creme at a Prince gig many moons ago , they were both very nice to talk to and signed the Prince tour program I had with me .
Nice guy .


Really interesting to read all that Paul. I’ve said it so often already, one of the things I love about SDE.com is that you find out stuff about artists you never were into. It opened my mind about many different artists and now they’re in my cd player all the time. Eric Stewart and 10cc is one example. Great songs.
And great interview. Interesting little anecdotes abbout him and Paul McCartney. I had no idea they were working together.


Great insightful interview as ever. Still working my through Eric’s Anthology, the 10cc box (which I am enjoying more than I thought I would) and the Godley and Creme box. They all sound superb as well. It’s been a good year to be a 10cc fan and this article is the icing on the cake.

Gary Hunter

What a fantastic read, well done Paul, one of your best interviews to date.


You know it’s funny, I wouldn’t say I’m a massive 10cc fan but really love their big hits like Dreadlock Holiday and I’m Not In Love. Regardless, I thought the interview was so informative and quite brilliant actually. Nice job Paul.


Ok, so it wouldn’t have been a problem if he’d said “Eric” then ? Sounds like things had already gone south if that made him react like that ;-) Must have been pretty odd to have Padgham as an “mere” engineer since he had just produced hugely successful albums for Genesis and The Police…


Very interesting interview thanks. I was especially interested in the McCartney comments and the whole P2P fiasco as that’s an album I really waited for ! Sad story really and one of McCartney’s darker sides, but if you’re a genius…

I’m not sure I totally get the meaning of “I said – via Hugh – ‘Can you go over that vocal again, Paul?’, he went over the talkback, and said ‘Paul, can you do that again, he doesn’t like it?’ I said ‘He? Hold on, what’s going on here?’” though. First why didn’t Eric tell Paul directly ? Didn’t have a mic handy ? And why would the “He” make Eric jump ? If anyone can clarify ? Thanks !

Antonio Ponzoni

This needs to be printed in the same format as the Flowers in the Dirt interviews. Would go well with any upcoming Press To Play box set.

Gary C

Brilliant stuff, sold a copy off the back of that Eric!

Kevin S

I enjoyed that.

Thanks Paul….and Eric.

Pauline Renshaw

And in the beginning, it became curiouser and curiouser..P.R.