In this new column we're highlighting an item of 10cc memorabilia. This can be badges, posters, a piece of clothing or any item other than an audio carrier. If you have something special in your collection you would like to write about: your stories are more than welcome.

I can't remember where I picked this up. It was probably a second hand bookstore in Amsterdam but wherever it was, I'm happy that I did. I didn't know anything like this existed and it was only the name "Hipgnosis" on the cover of the book that I recognised as a "10cc-related" word. I had just started collecting 10cc in the early 80s and was not only impressed by their music but also by the original covers that came with these original albums. And the covers in question were made by "Hipgnosis."

Usually 10cc is not mentioned enough in the books on music or in music documentaries on television. That's quite amazing considering the impact they've had on the music and other artists over the years. Reading old articles on 10cc, it seems that generally people did agree they were brilliant but these days it's a luxury when you find a record shop has given 10cc it's own tag and they're not placed under the general "T." I rather like the fact that their success was based on the quality of their music and their delightful sense of humour and not because they used tons of make-up that made them easy to spot on a dark country road.

So when I picked up this book, I was already happy to see a picture of the cover of "How Dare You." However, turning a few other pages I suddenly saw this whole section with lots of pictures of the diver and I couldn't believe they had chosen a 10cc album to describe how they would go about making a sleeve!

According to Hipgnosis front man Storm Thorgerson they worked on this assignment from December 1976 until April 1977. In the section "How a sleeve is done" they explain the different stages of this whole process on five pages and with 14 illustrations. When 10cc started, it was Johnathan King who commissioned them and at the time of "Deceptive Bends" Hipgnosis had already made three of 10cc's sleeves. Apparently, 10cc were quite happy with them because they again decided to ask Hignosis for "Deceptive Bends."

10cc had already come up with a title for the new album. "Deceptive Bends" was something they had seen on road signs near the studio in Dorking. When they briefed the people of Hipgnosis they had already composed the songs "Good Morning Judge" and "The Things We Do For Love." Another instruction Hipgnosis had to work with was that Eric and Graham had decided on their image being "romantic and positive."

With these instructions in mind, Hipgnosis came up with the idea of a diver. Bends in the road were regarded as too obvious. So was trying to deceive the viewer with things that were bent but looked straight. The idea is that the bends are deceiving the diver who starts fantasising. This is where the romantic and positive image of the new 10cc comes in: the visualisation of the diver rescuing the one he loves. I hadn't thought of it before but when I read this I suddenly realised it was a bit like what happens in "I'm Mandy, Fly Me" (which they probably knew as they had also made that particular sleeve). The book doesn't say that this earlier song influenced them though.

When they had a rough idea of what they wanted to do they took it back to the band. 10cc would either like the idea or dismiss it so for people of Hipgnosis this was a very important meeting. Fortunately, Eric and Graham liked the concept although Eric wanted to replace the jetty by a road. As we all know now he was persuaded by Hipgnosis not to have that changed.

Although there was pressure from the US to have Eric's and Graham's faces on the front cover, this idea was dismissed by Hipgnosis and the band themselves as they had just lost half the band. It would be inappropriate and that's how they the girl long enough during the lengthy photo sessions. They also took pictures of other girls with other dresses. The sky, the jetty and the divers in the background were added later. The jetty by the way was situated on the Thames in Hammersmith. On this day they also shot some 35 mm film just in case material would be need for a TV commercial. I guess thended up on the back cover. Now that the band agreed with the whole idea, the time came to actually visualise the whole picture. And as with a lot of great ideas, it was easier said than done. Apart from technicalities like the lighting, it proved physically difficult for the diver in the already heavy suit, to holdat is the footage that we can see on the video of Live And Let Live (1977).

After the many photos they took were developed, they started looking for the right one which was a very difficult process of elimination because there isn't such a thing as the perfect photograph. That is why so many photos are taken in the first place, to increase the chance of making one that is almost perfect... The next step was to put everything together. When they had composed the whole picture with the diver, the girl and the background, it was time to decide on the border. The right balance between these two components had to be found and that turned out to be a pen and ink line drawing. The colour would be a pale green.

Now everything had to be ready to go to the printer's and they had to make sure the instructions for the printer were clear. When they saw the first proof, they did not like the green border and so that was changed into a maroon one. Then when the process of printing had already begun, one of the printer's plates was damaged but they had to be satisfied with a poor result, as time was running out and the record had to be shipped. However, after 50,000 copies, they were given permission to have the plate concerned changed and it was then that the Hipgnosis team was finally satisfied with the result.


Apart from describing how the cover of Deceptive Bends was made, there are many more references to 10cc and their covers. There are also other interesting stories and photos on covers of other artists like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Wings, Alan Parsons, etc. From the 10cc point of view alone, this book is definitely worth buying. Unfortunately, this book is out of print but if you ever see it in a 2nd hand shop, don't walk away from it!


Storm Thorgerson

The Work of Hipgnosis - Walk Away René
Out of print. A Dragon's World Limited Imprint. First edition 1978, second edition 1979.
ISBN Hardback 0-905895-09-6
ISBN Limpback 0-905895-08-8

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