“Bus Stop” was written by UK songwriter and future 10cc member Graham Gouldman, who also penned major hits for The Yardbirds (“For Your Love”) and Herman’s Hermits (“No Milk Today”), as well as The Hollies’ first venture into the U.S. top 40 with “Look Through Any Window”.
In a 1976 interview Gouldman said the idea for the song had come while he was riding home from work on a bus. The opening lines were written by his father, playwright Hyme Gouldman. Graham Gouldman continued with the rest of the song in his bedroom, apart from the middle-eight, which he finished while riding to work – a men’s outfitters – on the bus the next day.
Thirty years later he elaborated on the song’s beginnings: “‘Bus Stop’, I had the title and I came home one day and he said ‘I’ve started something on that Bus Stop idea you had, and I’m going to play it for you. He’d written Bus stop, wet day, she’s there, I say please share my umbrella and it’s like when you get a really great part of a lyric or, I also had this nice riff as well, and when you have such a great start to a song it’s kind of like the rest is easy. It’s like finding your way onto a road and when you get onto the right route, you just follow it.
“My late father was a writer. He was great to have around. I would write something and always show him the lyric and he would fix it for me. You know, he’d say ‘There’s a better word than this’ – he was kind of like a walking thesaurus as well and quite often, sometimes, he came up with titles for songs as well. ‘No Milk Today’ is one of his titles, and also the 10cc song ‘Art for Art’s Sake’.”