Hotlegs: Neanderthal Man (1970)

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(Warning, from vinyl so has enjoyable surface noise)
Hotlegs: Neanderthal Man (1970)

It's not unusual for studio experiments to end up on records, less common that they become the record itself -- as was the case with this single.

To backtrack a bit. The successful British songwriter Graham Gouldman who had penned hits for Herman's Hermits (No Milk Today), the Yardbirds (For Your Love, Heart Full of Soul, Evil Hearted You) and others hit a dry spell in the late Sixties. So took himself off to the States to join the Kasenetz-Katz team who had started the Buddah label and were purveyors of bubblegum pop.

It wasn't a happy experience for Gouldman (interviewed here) but at least he had an out: back in Britain he was still a partner in a Strawberry Studios with singer/guitarist Eric Stewart. In Gouldman's absence Stewart had hooked up with singer/multi-instrumentalist Lol Creme and drummer Kevin Godley. All of them were songwriters and loved the idea of working in a studio rather than being on the road.

At that time studios were the place to be (this was post-Sgt Pepper/Pink Floyd era) and one day when Stewart, Godley and Creme were testing the studio's drum sound they came up with a clunking beat which seemed too good to lose. With the addition of equally primitive words it became Neanderthal Man.

And an improbable hit.

Needless to say an album was required, so Hotlegs suddenly came into being and the album Thinks: School Stinks appeared, which is clearly similar studio experiments shoe-horned into songs . . . and none of them sounding anything like Neanderthal Man. 

Hotlegs of course didn't last outside the studio and are considered a one-hit wonder. But not quite.10cc

When Gouldman returned from the States he joined up with Godley, Creme and Stewart to become . . .  10CC (right) who began a string of successful,  studio created singles like Art for Art's Sake and I'm Not in Love (off their terrific Original Soundtrack album in '75).

At which time the School Stinks album was repackaged as You Didn't Like It Because You Didn't Think Of It (the song on the flipside of Neanderthal Man) and came with the tag "reissue of the original 10CC album" -- even though only three-quarters of the band were on it.

Out of small things (like dumb four-minute singles), big things grow.

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with a back-story check From the Vaults.

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