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.
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.
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 made even 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.
“Dreadlock Holiday” is on Bloody Tourists, which can be bought here.
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