Love it, hate it, or simply hang it on the wall to cover up a nasty stain, "I'm Not in Love" rates among the most influential and powerful songs of the 1970s. Composed by Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart, it is, at its heart, a sordid little exercise, an examination of love from the point of view of a victim who refuses to believe he's succumbed. But, though it sounds like a typical 10cc twist, it's the most universal one they ever created, drawing covers from across the musical spectrum, with even Tori Amos and the Pretenders weighing in.
As an edited single, and across the full length LP track, "I'm Not in Love" first earned admiration for its production techniques, with some 256 vocal dubs required to complete the lush harmonies behind Stewart's vocal. Add the whispered tones of studio receptionist Kathy Warren, for the surrealistically nightmarish admonition "big boys don't cry," and "I'm Not in Love" breached frontiers of creativity which even Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," later that same year, could only nudge.
An immediate U.K. chart-topper, and number two in America, "I'm Not in Love" naturally slipped into the band's live set, although the constantly temperamental backing tapes which it required insist that it rarely worked as well as it should have. It was performed at the show featured on the KBFH in Concert live album, but did not make the LP itself; flawed later versions appear on Live and Let Live and on the B-side of 1982's "24 Hours" 10" single. 1995 then saw acoustic and remixed versions created for a new 10cc single and album (Mirror Mirror).