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|Single by 10cc|
|from the album 10cc|
|Genre||Pop rock, rock and roll, comedy rock|
|Writer(s)||Kevin Godley, Lol Creme and Graham Gouldman|
|Producer(s)||Kevin Godley, Lol Creme and Graham Gouldman|
|10cc singles chronology|
Written and sung by Kevin Godley, Lol Creme and Graham Gouldman and produced by 10cc, "Rubber Bullets" was the band's first number one single in the UK Singles Chart, spending one week at the top in June 1973. However it fared relatively poorly in the United States where it peaked at only No. 73. A tongue in cheek homage to the film "Jailhouse Rock" with a Beach Boys influence, the song attracted some controversy at the time because of the British Army's use of rubber bullets to quell rioting in Northern Ireland.
Recording and impact
The song features a double-speed guitar solo, created using a technique also used the same year by Mike Oldfield for his Tubular Bells album. In a BBC Radio Wales interview, guitarist Eric Stewart explained:
|“||That's a double track solo on that. It's, it's very, very high, of course, going through a Marshall stack, then I slowed the tape to half speed – seven and a half [inches per second] – and recorded it, you know, going [plays singles picked notes slowly] and when you speed it back up you've got an octave up, but there's a screaming fuzz on the top of it, that's an octave higher than it was recorded. So it's a very unusual sound done in that way, just an experiment. Because 10cc, we love to experiment, we used to love to waste time. And having the beauty of having our own studio, we didn't have a clock in there so we weren't restricted.||”|
Stewart also recalled:
I was amazed, but pleased that the BBC never banned the track, although they limited its airplay, because they thought it was about the ongoing Northern Ireland conflicts. In fact, it was about an Attica State Prison riot like the ones in the old James Cagney films.— Eric Stewart
Graham Gouldman remembered:
Kevin and Lol had the chorus and part of the verse but then got stuck. We all loved the chorus and realized it was a hit in itself, so we wanted to persist with it. I chipped in the line 'we've all got balls and brains, but some's got balls and chains.' One of my finer couplets.— Graham Gouldman
In popular culture
"Rubber Bullets" was used as the theme song to the pilot episode of American animated TV series Superjail!, which aired in May 2007.
- Top of the Pops featured an anonymous cover of the song on their 31st volume.
- Vicky Rosti performed a Finnish version of the song called "Puupaukut" on her 1975 album Vicky.
- The Vindictives covered the song on their 1994 album Party Time for Assholes.
- The Men They Couldn't Hang featured a cover of the song on their 2011 album 5 Go Mad on the Other Side.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 287. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "I Write The Songs". The10ccfanclub.com. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
- Kutner, J. and Leigh, S. (2005), 1000 UK No. 1 Hits, Omnibus Press, ISBN 1-844-4928-34
- Dave Thompson. "Top of the Pops, Vol. 31 - Various Artists | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-08-06.
"Can the Can" by Suzi Quatro
|UK number one single
23 June 1973 for one week
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