RECORDING I’m Not In Love was a complicated process for 10cc.

It spanned weeks with session singers, painstakingly building mass choral-style vocals, with production trickery creating the soothing harmonies. It divided the band and was about to be scrapped when, legend has it, Eric Stewart heard a window cleaner at the studio whistling it and realised it was a decent tune. The band went back to it and roped in their secretary, recording her voice as she said the famous line: “Big boys don’t cry”.

The result was a track over six minutes long, which they didn’t think had a cat in hell’s chance of getting played on the radio. It went on to be a global hit.

Would such an unusual song, from such an inventive process, make today's charts? “We wouldn’t get past the record company’s door now with I’m Not in Love,” says Graham Gouldman. “It’s easier for bands now, they have all digital technology - everyone has a studio in their house - without the financial restrictions of recording. There’s never been more freedom to make records, but it’s so formulaic. It’d be nice to hear something inventive.

“When we started, we’d inherited the Beatles’ mantle; we were allowed to be experimental. It didn’t matter what you looked like back then, either. There isn’t the same investment in bands now.”

Starting life in Stockport in 1972, 10cc was comprised of multi-instrumentalist musicians/songwriters/producers Graham, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley, and Lol Creme. With hits including Rubber Bullets, I’m Mandy Fly Me and Dreadlock Holiday, and selling over 15 million albums in the UK, they were one of the most inventive, influential bands in pop history.

Graham continues to lead a touring version of 10cc.“We sing exclusively 10cc songs; with so much material to draw on, there’s no need for anything else,” he says. “These are the songs people want to hear - the hits, album tracks and songs that are special to them.”

Graham started in school skiffle bands and discovered live music at Manchester University. "The world's greatest bands were coming through Manchester - in one week I saw the Stones and the Beatles. They were a huge influence," he says.

He has written songs for acts including the Yardbirds (For Your Love, among other hits), the Hollies, Herman's Hermits, Paul Carrack and Kirsty MacColl. He also produced The Crowd's charity single for the Bradford City fire appeal.

"No songwriter knows what will be a great song, but it's one that touches you, moves you, transports you to a time and place," he says. "I enjoy the art of songwriting, being in another zone. It's an outlet. We made albums because we wanted people to have an experience listening to them. There's a lot of cherry-picking now, but a good album is more than a bunch of singles. Listening to it should be like reading a book."

* 10CC are at Victoria Theatre, Halifax, on Friday, November 2. Call (01422) 351158.