The Things We Do For Love

Back when you used to be able to trust rock writers I read about this fabulous new band on Jonathan King’s label in England, 10cc.  They were 10cc because the normal male ejaculate was far shy of that.  At least that’s what the legend said.

The record didn’t come out in the U.S. for quite a while.  And after purchasing it and removing the shrinkwrap, I immediately dropped the needle on the hit, "Rubber Bullets".

You might think Top Forty wouldn’t play a track like this today…they wouldn’t play something like this in the SEVENTIES!  A Beach Boys-influenced lighthearted romp about a prison riot.

It was the humor that got me.  Along with these touching moments, like in "Fresh Air For My Mama".  10cc had every tool in the box and chose not to play by the rules, but to TWIST THEM!  I loved the debut, I became a huge fan, I bought the follow-up when it was released in the spring of ’74, "Sheet Music".

"The Wall Street Shuffle" was supposed to break the band through.  But it was too heavy and too intelligent to make it on hit radio, and by this time rock radio had turned into AOR, and the edgy, thought-provoking music of the sixties was gone and it was all Lynyrd Skynyrd all the time.  Still, I LOVED "Sheet Music".  Especially the epic "Somewhere In Hollywood", which I played incessantly as I drove cross-country to Tinseltown that fall.

Then the band had a hit.  Something I never really cottoned to from an album that didn’t have quite the magic of the previous discs.  "I’m Not In Love" wasn’t the 10cc I loved.  It was slicker.  I felt like the Nazi in "The Producers".  This wasn’t 10cc!  People were getting the wrong impression!

Maybe it was the hit that kept me from playing "The Original Soundtrack".  I did ultimately get into "Une Nuit A Paris", but I still wince when I hear "Life Is A Minestrone".

But I still bought the follow-up.  A band had to issue two shitty discs in a row for me to give up.

This was a return to form, stylistically at least.  "Art For Art’s Sake" was a sequel of sorts to "The Wall Street Shuffle".  And just as successful.  Which is probably why the band broke up.  Godley and Creme left to pursue their Gizmo and a three disc boxed set that NOBODY bought to the point where they gave up and became video directors.  But the pure-voiced Eric Stewart and "For Your Love" writer Graham Gouldman soldiered on, utilizing the old moniker.

I’d like to tell you "Deceptive Bends"’s opener is a classic, that I was convinced the band was as good with two as it was with four.  This would not be true.  Oh, I’ve come to like "Good Morning Judge", but it’s not classic.  But what came thereafter!

I mean I’m lying on my bed in my dark one room apartment on Carmelina, going through a stack of records I’d just purchased on Wilshire and I HEAR SOMETHING!

Now there is another classic track on "Deceptive Bends", the eleven minute plus epic "Feel The Benefit".  But really, the album is about one cut and one cut only.  That’s SO good it doesn’t matter WHAT else is on the record.

I had a girlfriend.  Not that she was sure she wanted to be involved.  She kept saying I was taking her away from her studies, she didn’t come to L.A. to get involved.

But that was the only reason I was here.  I’d stopped reading the law school books, love was the only thing I was interested in.  That and music.

So while she studied back in her apartment, I was being myself, the same person I’d been for years, the boy who lies on his bed and listens to records.

The intro alone sold me.  The ahhs had a Beatlesque quality, albeit more saccharine.  But then, the song changed abruptly into something so simplistic one could envision KINDERGARTNERS singing it.  In rounds.

And then there was a sing-songy chorus and it was clear, this was a JOKE!  An EXERCISE!  In making the sappiest, prettiest pop song.  It was HILARIOUS!

Too many broken hearts have fallen in the river
Too many lonely souls have drifted out to sea
You lay your bets and then you pay the price
The things we do for love, the things we do for love

Completely nondescript, completely generic, as if the words were written by some Hollywood hack, the seventies equivalent of Diane Warren.

Communication is the problem to the answer
You’ve got her number and your hand is on the phone
The weather’s turned and all the lines are down
The things we do for love, the things we do for love

This was before answering machines, never mind cell phones.  If you had a fight you had to stay home, to see if they called.  And we had a fight.  And I knew I was right.  I could have called, but that would be caving, that would be undercutting my point.  Oh, I ALMOST dialed.  Instead I went to my sister’s sunny apartment on Dorothy Street.

Like walking in the rain and the snow
When there’s nowhere to go
And you’re feelin’ like a part of you is dying
And you’re looking for the answer in her eyes

Can’t you just see the montage?  Of the kind they ultimately employed in the "Naked Gun" movies?  Wasn’t it Leslie Nielsen and Priscilla Presley in slo-mo to Herman’s Hermits’ "I’m Into Something Good"?

But then comes the wisdom.

You think you’re gonna break up
Then she says she wants to make up

You’ve got to hang it out there to make progress, you’ve got to stand your ground in order to have an impact.  That’s how it is prior to marriage…you have a fight and you think it’s the end, that you’re gonna BREAK UP!

And you’re not sure.  This point is a deal-breaker.  But you’re gonna sacrifice all that INTIMACY!  If you cave you’re a GONER!

Somehow, that day at my sister’s I maintained a light mood, as "The Things We Do For Love" poured out of the stereo at an opportune moment.  THIS track got airplay.

And not long after I got home, after the sun had set, the phone rang.  She’d been trying me all day.  She’d thought about what I had to say.  I was right.

The things we do for love.  To keep it together.  That’s the irony.  So many people think it’s the NICETIES that keep you together.  But it’s the fights, the BAD TIMES, that ultimately make you stick.  You get to truly know someone.  Their square parts start to round off, they finally fit your spaces.

The public perceived "The Things We Do For Love" as a pop hit.  A trifle.  But unlike with "I’m Not In Love", I was not turned off, I didn’t go around correcting/informing people.  We could ALL enjoy "The Things We Do For Love".  It worked on SO many levels.  Hell, I don’t want to deny ANYBODY the pure pleasure of music.

I liked the follow-up, "Bloody Tourists", even better.  Without hits ("Dreadlock Holiday" didn’t connect in a reggae ignorant U.S.), but magical album cuts like "Old Mister Time".

It was around this time I knew it was over.  When I drank so much at Tia Juana Tilly’s I passed out on the bathroom floor.  You get to the point where when communication fails, you self-medicate.  And when I went without her to see the band at the Santa Monica Civic.

I think she was protesting, knowing how much I loved "Bloody Tourists".

I got a second row seat, the band wasn’t that popular, the hoi polloi could score a decent seat.

They played all my favorites.  I remember being impressed with Rick Fenn’s guitarwork.  And when I rushed home to our apartment to share the experience she was feigning sleep.

Don’t try to control someone’s joy, revel in it.  The more you allow your partner to be himself/herself the more they’ll love you.  For it’s about acceptance.

I don’t play "The Things We Do For Love" that often.  But every time I do hear it I’m brought back to that time.  Of nascent love.  Of engaging, yet standing up for myself.

When "The Things We Do For Love" pours out of the stereo I’m my best self.

The Things We Do For Love

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