Godley & Creme, 1985
"YOU MAKE me wanna cry," sings Kevin Godley. If you were looking for a sound, a single note, to sum up postwar Western pop music, the long, high, crying G-sharp at the end of the line would have to be a contender. It's the perfect minimalist pop song, with a great dumb bass line, a pentatonic melody (you can pick it out on a piano's black notes easily) and an insistent chugging rhythm feel, against which the singer sobs with the quintessential insincerity of a Johnny Ray, a Johnny Rotten, a Johnny Halliday... the timeless whine of boy loses girl.
Like many sensible ex-pop musicians, Godley & Creme moved gracefully into visual culture, re-inventing themselves as unusually sensitive and original video-makers for a variety of acts that included Visage (an ingenious low-budget "Fade to Grey"), Frankie Goes To Hollywood (a high- budget "Two Tribes") and Duran Duran (female mud-wrestling for "Girls on Film"- possibly that band's finest hour).
The success of the duo's videos probably lay in their firm grasp of song structure - second nature to 10cc, the group they steered (with Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman) until a two-way split in the mid-Seventies.
Kevin Godley and Lol Creme provided the more disruptive elements of that band, with such concepts as "The Second Sitting For The Last Supper" and "Life Is A Minestrone". Though their art-school, avant-garde sensibilities (dense vocal clusters!) were an essential part of 10cc's sublime hit, "I'm Not In Love", the pop act had a bigger profile (charting with the catchy, but eternally uncool "Dreadlock Holiday") after Godley & Creme left.
The association with Frankie/ZTT auteur producer Trevor Horn led to "", a late-flowering bloom of G&C's pop career. The knowing, 16-track simplicity of "Wedding Bells" (which shares some melodic contours with "") has been given a ZTT makeover, with gorgeous flanged guitar and great washes of synthesiser pads (Debussy was an inspiration a decade before Horn's Art of Noise made it explicit in the title of their album).
They cheerfully use all the obvious rhymes for "cry" - "you cheat and you lie"; "you don't even know how to say goodbye". And of course (it being 1985), it had a perfect promotional video, one so memorably wedded to the song that if you have seen it once, you can sing the tune, and vice-versa.
Conceptually coherent enough to be a Turner prize-winner, Godley & Creme's big idea was to shoot a sequence of monochrome variegated faces - beautiful, plain, male, female, black, white, young and old - all shown morphing from one to another as they lip-synched the wailing, pleading lead vocal - an animated version of Munch's great advertisement for recreational misery, The Scream.Reuse content