He was the deep voice on “Rubber Bullets,” and part of the choir on “I’m Not In Love.” He sang of “An Englishman In New York,” lamented the “Snack Attack” and he soared skyward on “Cry.”
Between the early 1970s and the late 1980s, Kevin Godley possessed one of the most recognizable voices in rock, while he was also one half of the team that produced some of the most captivating videos of the MTV era, from Duran’s “Girls on Film” to the Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” and onto Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s initial visual assault.
He conceived and directed the 1990 One World One Voice project (and looks forward to its reissue later this year), and he has been quietly active ever since, but never — for long — in musical terms. One of the world’s great singers, one of its greatest ever songwriters… he just found other things to do.
Until, sometime around 2016/2017, when he had a rather peculiar idea.
It was 10 years since he and fellow ex-10cc-er Graham Gouldman struck out as GG/06, a short-lived but extraordinarily thoughtful duo who cut half a dozen songs for their website and then parted again. A couple of years since Hog Fever, an audiobook that just happened to have a handful of songs in the midst of it. And talking to Goldmine in 2016, he acknowledged “I’d love to write and record a (solo) album, but it’s an outmoded format. I think Kanye West has the right idea. Keep improving the recordings; keep updating them, changing them. Confound the audience as well as thrilling them.
“That said, I’d love to make more music for its own sake.”
So he did.
Muscle Memory, the album in question, started life as a PledgeMusic project. Godley put it out there that he wanted to hear from fellow songwriters, musicians, studio craftsmen, anyone who would be willing to put together a piece of music and send it to him, just to see what happened.
Maybe he’d be inspired to write lyrics. Maybe, record a vocal. And then… well, this is where PledgeMusic came into it. In exchange for a glorious array of goodies and novelties, anyone who’d want to hear such a creation come to fruition was invited to make their donation, and when Godley had enough songs, they’d be released.
Muscle Memory is Godley’s first solo LP ever. It’s his first new physical product since GG/06 (a couple of their tracks made it onto a 10cc box set); and it’s the first record released under his name alone since a cut on a 1969 Marmalade label sampler. How could anyone resist?
People flocked, recording commenced… and then PledgeMusic went down and a lot of hopes and dreams crashed with it.
We’ll get back to that shortly. In the meantime…
KEVIN GODLEY: I got a lot of music sent to me, 286 tracks altogether. Obviously all instrumental, and I had no idea what to expect. One interesting thing is, I made a point of not even looking at who’d sent me tracks, because I didn’t want to think “Oh wow, Elvis has sent me something, Dead or not, I’m definitely going to work with him.”
I wanted the music to generate my responses, but once I started coming up with the goods, I looked because I was interested in who was inspiring me and why. I then demoed each song, did rough mixes and sent them to the people I was working with as I didn’t want to make too many creative decisions prior to getting feedback. Thankfully their reactions were all positive, which upped my confidence and told me I must’ve been doing something right.
GOLDMINE: It must have been a strange way of working for you — after all, your entire career has been as one half (at least!) of a writing team… GodleyCreme, Godley-Gouldman…
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