Collectively, the members of 10cc have had pretty amazing careers in the music biz. Eric Stewart was in the Mindbenders, who had a huge hit in the mid-'60s with "Groovy Kind of Love," Graham Gouldman wrote "For Your Love" for the Yardbirds and "Bus Stop" for the Hollies, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were hugely influential video directors (the Police's "Wrapped Around Your Finger," Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" and their own "Cry"), and they all worked together creating some pretty good bubblegum records with legendary producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz at the quartet's Strawberry Studios. And of course, 10cc made some decent records too, right? All very impressive but their finest moment as a group might have been Hotlegs, and their creative peak might have been the throwaway bit of mindlessly thudding genius that is "Neanderthal Man".
Hotlegs - "Neanderthal Man"
The group (at this point Stewart, Godley and Creme) was experimenting in the studio with new equipment they had just installed and came up with a layered drum pattern, threw a silly chant ("I'm a Neanderthal man/you're a Neanderthal girl/let's make Neanderthal love") and some brilliantly rudimentary acoustic guitar, piano and synth over the top and called it a song. (Oh, and some wood flute too...can't forget that!)
Rumor has it that a passing bigwig heard the track, chomped on his cigar and proclaimed "It's a smash!" Since in those days bigwigs actually seemed to have a clue what people wanted to hear, the song indeed turned out to be a chart smash in the U.K. and a medium-sized hit in the U.S. The group followed it up with the album Thinks: School Stinks which includes "Neanderthal Man" but mainly nods in the direction of 10cc with well-crafted melodic pop. It was probably very confusing to record buyers, and after one more album, 1971's Songs (which was actually just Thinks: School Stinks without "Neanderthal Man"), the Hotlegs name was abandoned. Soon after, 10cc was born.
One Way reissued Thinks:School Stinks in the mid-90s and it inevitably went out of print; it's high time for another reissue.