After The Mockingbirds disbanded Kevin Godley joined Lol Creme.
YELLOW BELLOW ROOM BOOM
Their first single together was as ‘Yellow Bellow Room Boom‘ with A-side “Seeing Things Green” and B-side “Easy Life” on CBS. Other band members were Stan Dulson a.k.a. Stan
‘Red’ Hoffman (The Measles), Stuart Sirrett (who had worked with Wayne Fontana) and Jeff Walters.
FRABJOY AND RUNCIBLE SPOON
By ’69 they were a duo, ‘Frabjoy and Runcible Spoon‘ and I was their manager. This name was a whimsical nod to Simon and Garfunkel.
“I’m Beside Myself” was released as a single by Giorgio Gomelsky‘s Marmalade Records in September 1969 with B-side “Animal Song“.
Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart guested on the recordings, so it was the first time all four members of 10cc played together on vinyl.
GODLEY AND CREME
I was conflicted when 10cc split in ’76, so I continued to manage Eric and Graham (as 10cc), with my other interests in Kev and Lol intact.
In late 1977, Godley and Creme released a triple LP, ‘Consequences‘. The project was conceived to showcase their Gizmotron invention, but things got out of control and it took about 18 months to record, with input from other stars such as Peter Cook and Sarah Vaughan.
This was followed by a string of albums continuing into the late ’80s:
- ‘L‘ (1978)
- ‘Freeze Frame‘ (1979)
- ‘Ismism‘ (1981) – called ‘Snack Attack‘ in U.S.A. (same as title song)
- ‘Birds of Prey‘ (1983)
- ‘The History Mix Volume 1‘ (1985)
- ‘Goodbye Blue Sky‘ (1988)
Most of their music was ‘experimental’ although they did flirt with the hit parade and on a few occassions got into the top ten with:
- “An Englishman in New York” (1979) – Netherlands No. 7 in Feb;
- “Under Your Thumb” (1981) – U.K. No. 3 in September; and
- “Wedding Bells” (1981) – U.K. No. 7 in November.
They directed their own music videos for these singles, leading up to “Cry” (1985), now included in The 30 All-TIME Best Music Videos. who recognised Godley and Creme’s contribution to music video:
"The entire medium of music video owes Kevin Godley and Lol Creme an enormous debt. Established musicians in their own right — they formed a double act after splitting from the band 10cc — they were also behind some of the greatest videos of all time. If this list had stretched to, say, 50 clips, we’d surely be writing about their genius for their work with the Police (“Every Breath You Take”), Duran Duran (“Girls on Film”), Herbie Hancock (“Rockit”) and Frankie Goes to Hollywood (“Two Tribes”). But their most significant achievement might have been the self-directed video for their own track “Cry.” Certainly the most simple premise on this list, it was a pioneering example of morphing, the technique behind (in this case) blending two faces. (Fast-forward a few years and director John Landis would go the same route, albeit in color, at the end of Michael Jackson’s “Black or White.”) And while some of the actors aren’t exactly being subtle — hamming it up doesn’t even begin to come close to describe what they’re doing — beauty lies in the staggeringly seamless approach."
“Cry” reached No. 16 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1985 and the brilliant video they directed was a big part of the single’s success.
MTV (a.k.a. ‘Music Television’) was well-received when it launched on 1st August 1981 and Godley & Creme were strangely positioned at both sides of the lens as pioneers in a new format, the music video.
The landscape changed ‘overnight’; now it was de rigueur that a good song wasn’t enough, it must be synchronized with a good video.
Godley & Creme had proved their competence in this new medium and soon they were in demand to direct videos for other artistes too.
In October ’22, Godley & Creme’s video for “Every Breath You Take” by The Police surpassed the one billion plays high tide on YouTube:
They set a high-water mark in racy videos with “Girls on Film” (1981) by Duran Duran introducing naked girls to get airplay and eyeballs:
Some other memorable videos directed by Godley and Creme are:
- The Police: “Don’t Stand So Close To Me“
- Frankie Goes To Hollywood: “Power of Love“
- George Harrison: “When We Was Fab“
- Sting: “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free“
- Duran, Duran: “View To A Kill“
- Patti LaBelle: “Oh, People“
- Wang Chung: “Everybody Have Fun Tonight“
- Peter Gabriel: “Biko” & “Don’t Give Up” (featuring Kate Bush).
I think it was back in 1983 when David Bowie first criticized MTV for featuring very few black artists. Godley and Creme thought laterally to secure Herbie Hancock‘s “Rockit” lots of airtime by producing one of the first award-winning music videos to use automatons as actors.
By Hancock being kept out of the video the race factor is taken out. He appears only as an image on a televison, later smashed up (in protest) on the pavement at the front door of the house!
The video won five accolodes at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, two more than Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” which won only 3 awards.
1984 was the year Godley & Creme were commissioned to direct Frankie Goes To Hollywood‘s single Two Tribes to much acclaim. The video depicted a wrestling match between then-US President Ronald Reagan and Konstantin Chernenko, then Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in front of group members and an assembly of representatives from the world’s nations.
Who would have known Two Tribes would be so relevant in 2023?
But in 1989 Godley & Creme split up and went their separate ways:
Lol Creme moved to Los Angeles continuing to direct commercials and music videos, one of which was (Simply) The Best by Tina Turner.
Another example is If I Only Knew by Tom Jones, featuring a cameo appearance of Lol’s son, Lalo Creme (ex. Arkana).
In 1992 Lol directed his film, “The Lunatic“, a comedy set in Jamaica about a good-natured madman (Paul Campbell) who talks to trees and finds love with an oversexed German tourist (Julie T. Wallace).
In 2006, he co-founded The Producers with producer Trevor Horn.
Kevin Godley also continued directing commercials and music videos and developed new media concepts (e.g. “ZOO TV“) for U2
. . . and others such as Girls and Boys by Blur
He also conceived and started “One World One Voice” a chain-tape video and album featuring various artists from all around the world, which evolved still further with Youdio (p.k.a. WholeWorldBand).
SOAL (STORY OF A LIFE) NIGHT LIVE – The Musical Talk Show feat. Kevin Godley – 14th October 2021
For this episode Kevin Godley drops by the show and we take a ‘deep dive’ into his history. The chat is 3 segments:
1. Early years and Strawberry Studios (0:0:0 to 0:51:50),
2. A slide show looking at all the albums and cover art with candid comments from Kevin (0:51:51 to 1:44:08).
3. The last portion is a slide show highlighting a variety of iconic 80’s videos he and Lol Creme directed touching on the evolution of video making (1:44:09 to 2:37:58).