‘Dreadlock Holiday‘: How 10cc Bowled Out The Competition

On September 23, 1978, the Mercury single replaced the Commodores’ ‘Three Times A Lady’ at No.1 in the UK.

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10cc ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ artwork - Courtesy: UMG
10cc ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ artwork - Courtesy: UMG

Graham Gouldman was once in conversation with a gentleman from Jamaica, and, remembering one of that country’s great sporting specialities, said to him “You must like cricket.” “I don’t like cricket,” he replied. “I love it.” So one of the most memorable lyrics in any 1970s chart-topper was born.

The song in question, of course, was “Dreadlock Holiday,” written by Gouldman with Eric Stewart, who by now was his sole partner in 10cc after the departure of Lol Creme and Kevin Godley. On September 23, 1978, the Mercury single replaced the Commodores’ “Three Times A Lady” to spend a week at the UK chart summit and become 10cc’s third No.1 there after “Rubber Bullets” in 1973 and “I’m Not In Love” two years later.

Dreadlock Holiday

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The Caribbean-flavoured “Dreadlock Holiday” was also inspired in part by a holiday in Barbados taken by Stewart, his friend Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, and their families. There, while they were on a parasailing raft, another Jamaican native showed great interest in a silver chain worn by Hayward. The star told him it was a present from his mother, and when Eric got home, he described the incident to Graham. It became another key image in the song.

Listen to uDiscover Music’s 10cc Best Of playlist.

Released in the US on Polydor, the single ran out of steam at No.44. But its impact on audiences there was put in more context when it was featured in the major 2010 motion picture The Social Network, in which it was heard being mixed by a college DJ. Sadly, 10cc haven’t figured in the Top 40 of the UK chart again, apart from a modest No.29 peak for a re-recording of “I’m Not In Love” in 1995. But “Dreadlock Holiday” remains a highlight in one of the most distinguished British pop catalogs.

Buy or stream “Dreadlock Holiday” on Bloody Tourists.

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