Stephanie Mackentyre meets acclaimed singer, songwriter and 10CC co-founder Graham Gouldman
Graham Gouldman’s songs provide the soundtrack to so many teenage memories. From his first song-writing hit ‘For Your Love’ recorded by The Yardbirds in 1965, through memorable tunes and lyrics for The Hollies and Herman’s Hermits in the ’60s, a decade of hits with 10cc in the ’70s and early ’80s, with other acclaimed song-writing partnerships. He’s still contributing to those teenage soundtracks – co-writing with McFly on their Number One album Wonderland.
He comes to the Suffolk coast next month performing with the band he co-formed alongside former member Kevin Godley. 10CC come to the Spa Pavilion theatre in Felixstowe on Friday 4th November. It’s testament to the success of the new owners of the theatre that they are able to attract these big name bands. Graham’s real love of music has kept him on the stage and touring around the world for over 40 years.
At the tender age of eight, his ambition was to be a drummer. After a few tentative lessons he realised that wielding a pair of drumsticks was not quite what it was cracked up to be. When he turned 11, a cousin returned from Spain with a cheap acoustic guitar. “As soon as I held it, I was gone. My parents knew from a very early age that I was I wasn’t very academic at school but I was good at being musical.” His creativity stems from the paternal side of his family with his father who was a poet and playwright and his paternal grandmother who also was very musical. His first band was the Whirlwinds, where he found himself playing lead guitar. The Mockingbirds were formed after Graham tired of the Whirlwinds. Working by day in a Gentlemen’s outfitters and writing songs and playing by night didn’t pan out, and Graham was soon fired from his day job. It was a blessing in disguise. He’d already caught the attention of Harvey Lisberg, the energetic manager of one of the biggest acts to break out of Manchester, Herman’s Hermits. Harvey offered Graham a small retainer to sit in his office and write songs all day. It was a dream come true for the young songwriter.
Of all the songs he’s penned over the years, not only 10CC, but for other famous bands I wondered which one is his favourite?
“That’s a tough one, as they are all your babies. I think for me it would be Bus Stop for the Hollies. When I worked at the outfitters’ shop, and I used to go on a bus every day to work. However, there wasn’t somebody waiting at the bus stop; it just gave me the idea.”
Performing one night with the Mockingbirds as the warm-up act for BBC’s Top of the Pops was his first taste of success.Buy Now