I'm Not In Love
by 10cc

Album: The Original Soundtrack (1975)
Charted: 1 2
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This song incorporated the backing of a large wordless choir, which in reality was the group's voices. It was painstakingly built up from chord loops and multi tracks: some 256 vocal dubs were required to complete the lush harmonies behind Eric Stewart's vocal.
  • The idea for the song came from Eric Stewart saying to his wife that if he kept saying "I Love You" over and over, it wouldn't mean anything even though he did love her. He recalled to The Guardian:

    "I met this gorgeous girl called Gloria at Halifax town hall. I was 18. She was 16. Three years later, we got married. A few years after that, Gloria told me: 'You don't say 'I love you' much anymore.' I told her that, if I said it all the time, it would sound glib. But I started wondering how I could say it without using those actual words. So 'I'm not in love' became a rhetorical conversation with myself – and then a song.

    I wrote the lyrics in a couple of days. The line, 'I keep your picture up on the wall, it hides a nasty stain' was about the crack in my bedroom wall at my parents' house in Manchester. I'd put a photograph of Gloria over it. When I took the song to the band, they said: 'I'm not in love'? What the f--k is that? You can't say that!' But Graham Gouldman, our bass-player and chord-master, agreed to work on it with me. We both liked The Girl From Ipanema, so we gave it a similar bossa nova style. Then Kevin Godley, our drummer, said it was crap.

    We were about to scrap it and wipe the tape but, as I walked around the studio, I heard the secretary singing it and the window-cleaner whistling it. I knew we had a tune: we just hadn't captured it properly. Kevin suggested doing it again, but with banks of voices. I thought that meant hiring a choir, but Lol Creme, our keyboard player, said we could do it using tape loops."
  • The guy in this song sounds like he's trying to convince himself he's not in love anymore, but he's not fooling us. That conflict stems from the title and helped make the song so poignant.

    In a Songfacts interview with Graham Gouldman, he explained: "I had the opening chords to it and it grew from there. Eric and I had always avoided a love song, but I was always convinced we could do a great one, and once again Eric came up with the title of that song, and it was the perfect title of an anti-love song. But of course, is it an anti-love song? Is it I'm not in love, or is it I am in love?"
  • The whispered vocals of "Be quiet, big boys don't cry" came from the secretary of Strawberry Studios (the studio the band operated), Kathy Redfern. They were looking for a certain sound when Redfern entered the studio to quietly tell Eric Stewart he had a phone call. When they heard her voice, they knew it was right for the song.
  • The four members of 10cc had been on the British music scene for a while when they formed. Vocalist/guitarist Graham Gouldman was a former member of the Mockingbirds and had written hits for Jeff Beck, the Yardbirds, the Hollies and Herman's Hermits. Singer/guitarist Eric Stewart was a former member of Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, and vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Lol Creme and Kevin Godley were both highly regarded studio musicians.

    Stewart, Creme and Godley grouped in 1970 as a session band known as Hotlegs; they had a surprise hit with "Neanderthal Man" that came about when dallying with equipment. With Gouldman on board, they signed to pop mogul Jonathan King's UK label in 1972 and recorded 11 UK Top 10 hits, including two other #1s: "Rubber Bullets
    " in 1973 and "Dreadlock Holiday" in 1978. Creme and Godley left the band by the time "Dreadlock Holiday" was recorded to concentrate on video production as well as developing the Gizmo, a guitar modification device they invented. They had one other US Top Ten hit in 1977, "The Things We Do For Love," which reached #5.
  • According to Kevin Godley, they originally recorded this song as a "lounge-lizard, bossa-nova thing," which clearly didn't work. When they revisited it, they came up with a new approach. "It was possibly out of desperation of not knowing what to do that we tried all the washy voices," Godley said in a Songfacts interview. "Forget instruments, forget guitars, forget drums. Just voices, like a heavenly choir, like a tsunami of voices."

    Godley says they spent days singing notes into a microphone, which they then turned into tape loops. These loops were loaded onto 16 different tape machines and rolled simultaneously. In the control room, each band member had four faders to bring each loop in and out of the mix on the fly, which they overdubbed onto the basic track they had built with electric piano, guitar and a Moog synthesizer set to simulate a bass drum. Said Godley: "We used Eric's original guide vocal in the end because it just worked, and from that point onwards, everything we added or took away or changed from that point worked. There were no head-scratching moments, no arguing, no disagreements, no problems. It was like we were in a magic bubble and everything fell into place. Then we mixed it, and it was six-and-a-half minutes long - something crazy - and we realized we had done something special. We didn't know it was a hit record or anything, but we knew it was special."
  • In 1990, the duo Will To Power released a cover version that went to #7 US. Two years earlier, Will To Power had a #1 US hit with a medley of two cover songs: Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird."

    Other popular covers include a 1976 version by Richie Havens that made #102 in the US, and a 1993 version by The Pretenders recorded for the movie Indecent Proposal - this one was produced by Trevor Horn.
  • Movies that have used this song include:
    The Stud (1978)
    The Virgin Suicides (1999)
    Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (1999)
    Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
    He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

    Among the TV series to use it are:
    EastEnders
    That '70s Show
    The Office
    Veronica Mars
    Medium
    Big Love
  • This song opens the 2014 movie Guardians of the Galaxy, where Chris Pratt's character is listening to it on a Walkman. The song is part of a mixtape his dying mother gave him called Awesome Mix Vol. 1, which plays a huge part in the film and also forms the soundtrack, reviving many hits from the '70s. "I'm Not In Love" and other selections ("Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" and "Hooked On A Feeling" among them) are incongruent choices for a superhero action movie, but they proved very effective, as the soundtrack went to #1 in America.
  • Director Bruce Gowers made a video for this song showing the band performing it in the studio. A few years later, Godley & Creme made many elaborate concept videos for the likes of The Police, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and George Harrison. In 2019, Godley shot a new video for "I'm Not In Love" that was used as a concert visual in Graham Gouldman's touring version of 10cc.
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Comments: 53

  • Riky from ChicagoI always thought this was about a girl who broke up with a guy and the guy was fighting to say I'm not in love and the girl was saying don't cry don't cry, but then again it was 8th grade and I thought about when I got dumped o it hurt... still does a little and I'm 55 married with 4 kids hahah
  • Bruce from San Jose, Calif.I remember as a kid my older sisters often saying "Be Quiet. Big Boys Don’t Cry!" from this song...
  • Isobel from AustraliaThis song is about a girl who loves a boy, intensely. But the boy is too afraid of admitting he loves her because of commitment. How I interpret it is that they’ve had a previous relationship and haven’t seen each other in an extended period of time. Come back to each other and fall back in love. They never really got over each other. The boy doesn’t want to tell her he loves her because he’s difficult and can’t express his emotions. Everything in the song indicates he’s in love. He calls her up, he keeps her picture upon his wall, he likes to see her. When he says, (it’s because) he can’t explain why. He’s desperately in love, and when he says “don’t tell your friends about the two of us” it leads me to believe it’s a secret love affair.
  • Titan from Adelaide, South AustraliaOne of the best songs of the 70s. 10cc or 10 cubic centimetres is the average volume of male ejaculate!!! Dirty fact but true.
  • Lee from Ridgecrest, CaThe keyboards are hypnotic along with the angels harmonizing in the backround. Awesome.
  • Richard Lopez from East Los AngelesLove is $200.00 not including the room.
  • Maari from Bloomfield, MiI heard this recently on a high school radio broadcast of all things. Ironic perhaps, since the lyrics I heard were compellingly immature, and yet the musical arrangement seems obsessively precise! As well as the lyrics over and over..."I'm Not In Love". Anyway, I've never heard it before (other than in He's Not That Into You) on the radio. As to the lyrics: he's not in love. He doesn't know what it means to be in love, so he callously calls it a phase, makes excuses about using an old picture to cover 'up an old stain' on the wall...He's jus not capable of love, but he's obviously obsessed with the person, and cries about it, or represses the pain "big boys don't cry". So, he's being honest about it, but it's not because he's actually in love with the person at all. He is not able to love her, and is only capable of shallow infatuation or mild obsession. The song exists to express his worst moments of realization of this, and then it's back to his 'silly phase' excuse for being emotionally vacant.
  • Angie from DetroitBruce-California, I used to think that this song was really mean, but after yours and the other comments, I understand now that he DID love her and wouldn't admit it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 20th 1976, a video of 10CC's "I'm Not In Love" was aired on the syndicated TV program 'Don Kirshner's Rock Concert'...
    Just under nine months earlier on May 11th, 1975 the song entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #84; ten weeks later on July 20th it would peak at #2* {for 3 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 17 weeks...
    On the same 'Rock Concert' show their video of "Art for Art's Sake" was also shown, it reached #83 later on 1975...
    * The three weeks that "I'm Not In Love" was at #2, there were three different records occupying the #1 spot; started with"The Hustle" by Van McCoy, then "One of These Nights" by the Eagles, and finally "Jive Talkin'" by the Bee Gees.
  • Bruce from CaliformiaI always thought he really was in love and didn't want to admit it.
  • Lucy from EnglandThese, I think, are the words of a man who has a dismissive avoidant attachment in respect to romantic relationships.
  • Kristin from Salt Lake City, UtLuis from Miami, "Who ever engineered this track deserves a Grammy." 10cc produced all their albums themselves, and it was guitarist/vocalist (multi-instrumentalist, really) Eric Stewart who engineered this and all of the band's songs/albums.
  • Thomas from Mannum, AustraliaSpot on, Cindy! To me, the song's about SELF-DELUSION, and it's a song sung all in the mind. He's not actually telling some poor unfortunate girlfriend that he's not in love with her!
  • Cindy from Trenton, MiI have always interpreted this song as a major case of DENIAL. He is clearly IN LOVE, but is trying to convince himself (and the girl) that he is NOT in love. Great song!
  • Douglas from Nowra, Australiacool someone else in nowra likes good music
  • Steve from Whittier, CaHow long did that song take??:) Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" half a year later of course took MANY MONTHS to do properly. All of this ironically started in part with the quite ANTI-rock Columbia records guru Mitch Miller [isn't it ironic, as Alanis Morrisette sang back in 1995.]

    Oh, btw the original recording was used in the 1999 film "Deuce Bigalo: American Gigalo" produced by Adam Sandler [the first for his then new Happy Madison company] and starring his longtime buddy Rob Scheidner and the cute and lovely blonde actress Arija Bareikis [still much underused, but making an encore in the flop sequel].
  • Steve from Whittier, CaYeah, I thought that "Be Quiet" were the first two words spoken in that first bridge, but never thought of "..Big Boys don't cry"..read on an oldies nerwsgroup rec.music.rock-pop-r+b.1970s [if I recall correctly] that dirty words were spoken..and owing to Kathy Redfern, the party innocent or guilty of whispering those famous words.
  • Pat from Miami, FlIt's my understanding that pre-10cc, the guys performed on Justin Hayward's solo release "Blue Guitar."
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaAdmitedly, I'm a sucker for those lush, overly produced songs, but this one stands out as one of the greatest. "Atmospheric" would be my favorite adjective for this song.
  • Tony C from London, United Kingdommy absolute number one fav, and has been since about 1985 when i heard it for the first time as an adalt, when it came out i was only just 11 so didnt grasp it, love the lyrics, and to kathy redfern who sang the words "big boys dont cry" thanks to this site i just found out who you are wish there was a photo of you from back then you sound so pritty, and ive loved you eversince. and to melena in mexico yea "he did love her", and gary in baltamore yea pitty there wernt more songs like this also, and to those that have to put bad things on this site if you do not have anything constructive to say just right dont like this song, like zeeterman drivaled on and on i suggest you write a song get it into the top ten when it reaches no1 like this song did in the uk then you can say i hate this song or any other so put up or shut up, brilliant song this 5 stars. and to all the other constructive comments long hot summer salad days of your youth fast cars and pritty girls in red dresses, with blue skys awasomme .
  • Andy Bayley from Stoke On Trent, United Kingdomthis song is and always will be the greatest love song ever written, i have loved the song since it came out, i think it says all there is to say about love and breaking up in a relationship.
    he keeps the picture line is a excuse not to get rid of the picture, he calls her up ,but is saying dont (do) read into it.
    im not (am) in love ......
  • Craig from Nottingham, United KingdomThis song just brings back great memories of a new( at the time ) love, and it had just made number one when I went away for a week, in a summer that seemed to have endless sunshine and blue skies..... and it was used on a "test transmission" tape on a soon to be launched radio station, that I would go on to work for.
    Timeless!
  • Sam from Hipsville, CaEspecially love the bass line during the "be quiet, big boys don't cry" part.
  • Chris from Carbondale, IlBrings me back to the care free summer days at the pool. The synthesizers and chorus blend well and that simple, 70's style guitar is classic.
  • Gerry from Derry N'ireland, United KingdomNow that was a song.
    Pity we don't hear songs like that writin today:-(
  • Stephanie from New Baltimore, MiOne of my all time favorites!!! Must listen to the Tori Amos remake. I absolutely hate remakes but she did an amazing job!
  • Malena from Monterrey, Mexicohe loved her
  • Music Mama from New York, NyI've always taken this as a song of denial and obsession. In a way, it's rather funny, because you don't believe a word of the spoken/sung lyrics: The "truth" in this song is in the whispered parts and the background vocals.

    And, maybe it's just me, but I've also thought this could be a song of "the love that dare not speak its name." The non-credible "narrator" was doing everything he could not to come out of the closet, and the whisperer could be the secret crush. And the backups could be echoing the inner agony of denying one's self in such a way. "Been there, done that."
  • Ken from Louisville, KyPaul McCartney loved this song, so much so that he asked Eric Stewart to be a backing singer and occasional songwriting partner with him in the early 1980's (after Wings disbanded).
  • Michael from San Diego, Ca"I like to see you, but then again, that doesn't mean you mean that much to me! So if I call you don't make a fuss, don't tell your friends about the two of us!" - That's telling her!
  • Zeeterman from Chronopolis, InThis is my all-time most hated song.
    I find the song very nauseating.
    It's a real downer and very negative.
    When I first heard this song as a kid back in the 70's, I thought that those background chorus vocals reminded me of the sound of a toilet continuosly running. It still does!
    This song was just used repeatedly in an episode of the TV show Medium (Jan 21, '08).
    Oh man, I think I have 10ccs of vomit coming up now.
  • Josh from Magnolia, ArYou know I really like this song, but I was once told by a friend of mine that the music sounds very erotic. I always though it was kind of melancholy with just a hint of depression, myself, but that's just me.
  • Kenny from Clydebank, ScotlandIt's an accomplished track, but it's not my favourite 10cc. I usually skip it finding it slightly depressing. 'Donna', 'Cry', 'Under your Thumb' and 'Life is a Minestrone' are my favs from this very good band.
  • Terry from Chicago, IlIt takes me back to swimming and girls in the classic mid 70's summertime when the summers were long and the girls were pretty. A 70's staple along with "chevy van" by Sammy Johns.
  • Tracy from Boston, MaIt sounded great in my Mom's new Japanese sportscar full blast in quadro-sound. We were both so floored by it we had to pull over and just listen. One of the best memories of me and my mom - Thank You 10 cc and thanks to Mom for introducing me to music. I was 7.
  • Maxwell from Houston, TxThis song sounds a little like something Elton John or Paul McCartney could have done in the 70's.
  • Stratis from Brighton, EnglandAn introvert out of the blue tribute to the song is made at the climax of the film "The Abyss", as Mery Elizabeth Mastrantonio quotes to dying Ed Harris the "Big Boys don't cry" line, soon followed by the word 10cc (used for injection in the film).
  • Michelle from Wilmington, DeLovely song....so calming!
  • Luis from Miami, FlThis is one of my all time favorite songs, it's simply geneous the way they mixed and engineered the various sounds especially the choir voices; all incorporated with the synthesizer and other instruments, they did an incredible job. Who ever engineered this track deserves a grammy. The lyrics are brilliant as well stating how he's not in love when obviosly he is but his pride keeps him in denial. A transic masterpiece this song is, I love it!
  • Rich from Philadelphia, PaMy sister and I were on a plain to France in the late nineties and we were playing around with our video camera, putting the microphone of the camera up to the earphones the plane gave us. This song came on and we have a really funny video of us lip synching to it on a full airplane. When we were done I found out that my sister was saying "Be poised and quiet" instead of "Big Boys Don't Cry" For almost thirty years she thought that that is what the lyrics said. We had a big laugh over it. I love this song it brings me back to my early teens!
  • Steve from Torrance, CaIf you could boil down the entire decade of the 1970s into one song, this would be the one. It perfectly captures the essence of long summer days under immense skies, whilst also taking into account the shadowy undercurrents of myth and wonder that lie beneath the facade of modern society. Which of course has nothing to do with what the song is really about: a man telling a woman she's no big deal while his words reveal he's actually madly in love with her. In other words, he's lying through his teeth, trying to convince himself he's not in love.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiai measured it..... hmmm, i'm proud of my boys
  • Rick from Atlanta, GaGraham Gouldman of 10CC wrote (at least) "Heart Full of Soul" and "For Your Love" for the Yardbirds and "Look Through Any Window" and "Bus Stop" for the Hollies.
  • Dale from Memphis, TnI just signed up today on this site, and I typed this song as my all-time favorite. Believe it or not, a few minutes later while I was listening to an online 70's music channel, guess what song came on? Pretty weird. It wasn't the long version (which is fantastic in headphones), but it'll do. I thought initially that the female was whispering "Quiet, requesting quiet..." It was the best of alot of great "soft rock" tunes of 1975, helping to create the FM radio format. There are hints of this song near the end of the 1985 hit by Godley & Creme ("Cry").
  • Carissa from Seattle, WaThis song was used in the Virgin Suicides also.
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnThe Snopes urban legends site debunks the story about the name 10cc as a reference to ejaculation. Apparently the name came to one of the band members in a dream (and no, it wasn't a "wet dream"). Besides, the average male ejaculation is only about 3cc.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnI have heard this song many times since it first came out and now I finally found out the mystery female voice who said "Be quiet. Big boys don't cry..." It was the very soothing part of the song.
  • Donovan from Sacramento, CaThis song was also covered by the trance-house group Olive from the late 1990's.
  • Steve from Hamilton, CanadaDoug, that rumour was certainly in circulation in the music press when the band was current. But I remember it being rubbished with the comment "try measuring it yourself some time!".
  • Doug from Winchester, VaI've heard that the name "10CC" was based on the the statistics that most men ejaculate on average around 10 CC's of semen during orgasm. Not confirmed, just hear-say.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrWill To Power covered this song in 1990. Were the whispers done in a British Accent? It sure sounded that way!
  • Tamar Elizabeth from Murrieta, CaI love this song. 10cc was brilliant.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiai thought the whispers were actually done by lead vocalist Eric Stewart...
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