Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman from 10cc produced soundtrack albums in 1980 with the help of some of the 10cc band members: Gouldman recorded the soundtrack to the animated film Animalympics, while Stewart produced the soundtrack to the film Girls. The band signed with Warner Bros. Records, producing a new 10cc offering entitled Look Hear?, featuring the single "One Two Five". All three albums featured musicians from 10cc's Bloody Tourists line-up, and all were released between February and April 1980. Only Look Hear? appeared on charts in the UK or US.
Gouldman and Stewart subsequently jettisoned most of the band before returning to the Mercury label to record Ten Out of 10 (1981). The band was, at least according to the album credits, now officially a duo augmented by session musicians, including Fenn and Burgess on a couple of tracks. The UK release of the album (and its associated singles "Les Nouveaux Riches" and "Don't Turn Me Away") failed to chart.
In a bid to inject an American flavor to the album and bolster its commercial appeal, Warner Bros. invited singer-songwriter Andrew Gold to contribute to a revised North American version of the LP. Gold wound up co-writing and playing on three new tracks which appeared on the North American release of Ten Out of 10. This ultimately led to an offer from Gouldman and Stewart to officially join 10cc; an offer Gold declined because of other commitments. Gouldman later admitted greater involvement by Gold might have lifted the band's early 1980s output from its mediocrity:
We should either have tried to change direction, which we didn't, or got someone else in the band, which we almost did. The albums weren't really bad, there was always the integrity, and the production values, but in retrospect, I find them rather dour, rather lackluster.
Despite the revisions to the album made for the North American market, Ten Out of 10 did not chart in US, nor did any singles pulled from the LP. However, the single "Don't Turn Me Away" was a surprise minor hit in Canada, reaching No. 38. Ironically, this track was one that appeared on the original "less commercial" UK version of the LP, and was not one of the tracks that had been specially added to the North American release.
The band embarked on their 10th anniversary tour in early 1982, with Fenn, Burgess and Tosh joining Stewart and Gouldman, along with new keyboardist Vic Emerson. They released "The Power of Love", co-written with Andrew Gold, as a single, which did not chart. "Run Away", released as a single in June 1982, reached No.50 in the UK; "We've Heard it all Before" (October 1982) did not chart. All three of these singles were tracks from the revised North American version of Ten Out of 10, and had not previously been issued in the UK.