THE HOLLIES are an English pop/rock group, best known for their
pioneering and distinctive three-part vocal harmony style. The Hollies
became one of the leading British groups of the 1960s (231 weeks on
the UK singles charts during the 1960s; the 9th highest of any artist
of the decade) and into the mid 1970s. It was formed by Allan Clarke
Graham Nash in 1962 as a Merseybeat type music group in Manchester
, although some of the band members came from towns north of there.
Graham Nash left the group in 1968 to form the supergroup Crosby,
Stills with these two singles added, were issued in both Canada by
Capitol Records and the US by
Imperial Records , with the title
changed to Here I Go Again. Like their
Parlophone labelmates the
Beatles, the Hollies' albums released in North America would remain
very different from their UK counterparts.
By this time,
The Hollies were writing and performing a substantial
amount of original material, written by the group's songwriting team
of Clarke, Nash, and Hicks, and producer Richards finally permitted
the group to release its first self-penned hit "We're Through" (Sep.
1964, UK No.7) (credited to a pseudonym, "L. Ransford"; the name of
Graham Nash's grandfather, as were all their early compositions). This
was followed by two more cover versions, "Yes I Will" (Jan. 1965, UK
No.9); and finally the
Clint Ballard, Jr. -penned "I\'m Alive " (May
1965, the band's first UK No.1, US No.103, Canada No.11). Their second
In The Hollies Style (1964), did not chart (in the BBC top ten
album chart, although it did chart in the New Musical Express album
chart, making the top ten) and none of its tracks were released in the
US, although a version was released in Canada with the addition of the
The Hollies broke through in North America with an original
song that they requested from Manchester's
Graham Gouldman . "Look
Through Any Window" (Sept. 1965, UK No.4) broke the Hollies into the
US Top 40 (No.32, Jan. 1966) and into the Canadian top 10 (No. 3, Jan.
1966), both for the first time. However, their follow-up single, an
original recording of George Harrison's "
If I Needed Someone " (Dec.
1965), was undercut when the Beatles decided to release their own
Rubber Soul ; it only reached No.20 in the UK, and was not
released in North America. Their third album, simply called Hollies ,
hit No. 8 in the UK in 1965, but failed to chart in the US under the
name Hear! Here!, despite its inclusion of "Look Through Any Window"
and "I'm Alive".
The Hollies then returned to the UK Top 10 with "I Can\'t Let Go "
(Feb. 1966, UK No.2, US No.42). Their fourth album, Would You Believe?
, which included the hit, made it to No. 16 in 1966. Released in the
US as Beat Group!, it also failed to crack the US top 100.
At this point, a dispute between
The Hollies and their management
broke out over what bass guitarist
Eric Haydock contended were
excessive fees being charged to the group by management. As a result,
Haydock decided to take a leave of absence from the group. While he
was gone, the group brought in
The Beatles ' good friend Klaus Voorman
to play on a few gigs and recorded two singles with fill-ins on bass:
Burt Bacharach -
Hal David song "After the Fox" (Sep. 1966), which
Peter Sellers on vocals,
Jack Bruce on electric bass and Burt
Bacharach himself on keyboards, and was the theme song from the
Sellers film of the same name (which failed to chart), and "Bus Stop "
(UK No.5, US No.5, June 1966), another Gouldman song, which featured
Bernie Calvert , a former bandmate of Hicks and Elliott in the
Dolphins, on bass. Calvert also played a tour of
Yugoslavia with the
band in May 1966.
"Bus Stop" gave
The Hollies their first US top ten single. As a
result, a US/Canadian Bus Stop album made of the single mixed with
unreleased songs from earlier in the band's career climbed to No. 75,
the group's first US album to enter the Top 100. Although Haydock
ultimately proved to be correct about the fee dispute, he was sacked
in early July 1966 in favour of Calvert after "Bus Stop" became a huge
At the time of Haydock's departure, Clarke, Nash and Hicks
participated (along with session guitarist
Jimmy Page , bass guitarist
John Paul Jones and pianist
Elton John ) in the recording of The
Everly Brothers ' 1966 album '
Two Yanks in England ', which consisted
largely of covers of "L. Ransford" compositions. After the Everly
Brothers album, the Hollies stopped publishing original songs under a
pseudonym, and from this point until Nash's last single with the
Hollies in 1968, all of their single A-sides were original
compositions, except the final Nash era single 'Listen To Me' (1968)
which was written by
Tony Hazzard .
In October 1966, the group's fifth album,
For Certain Because (UK
No.23, 1966), became their first album consisting entirely of original
compositions by Clarke, Nash and Hicks. Released in the US as Stop!
Stop! Stop! it reached No.91 there and spawned a US release-only
single, "Pay You Back with Interest", which was a modest hit, peaking
at No.28. Another track, "Tell Me to My Face", was a moderate hit by
Mercury artist Keith , and would also be covered a decade later by Dan
Tim Weisberg on their Twin Sons of Different Mothers
The Hollies continued to release a steady stream of
international hit singles: "
Stop Stop Stop " (Oct. 1966, UK No.2, US
For Certain Because , known for its distinctive banjo
On a Carousel " (Feb. 1967; UK No.4, 1967, US No.11,
Australia No.14) ); "
Carrie Anne " (May 1967, UK No.3, US No.9,
Australia No.7 ).
In mid-February 1967,
Bobby Elliott collapsed on stage due to an
The Hollies were forced to continue their touring
commitments without him, using Tony Mansfield, Dougie Wright and Tony
Newman as a stand-ins for further live dates, and Wright, Mitch
Clem Cattini when they began recording for their next
album, Evolution , which was released on 1 June 1967, the same day as
the Beatles' Sgt Pepper\'s Lonely Hearts Club Band . It was also their
first album for their new US label Epic . It reached UK No.13 and US
No.43. The US version included the single "Carrie Anne". In addition,
The Searchers and Paul and Barry Ryan each had a minor UK Chart hit
covering the Evolution song "Have You Ever Loved Somebody" in 1967.
Also in 1967,
The Hollies participated in the Festival di San Remo
with song Non prego per me, written by Italian songwriter Lucio
Battisti and by Italian lyricist Mogol .
However, Nash's attempt to expand the band's range with a more
ambitious composition, "
King Midas in Reverse ", only reached No.18 in
the UK charts.
The Hollies then released the ambitious, psychedelic
album Butterfly , retitled for the US market as King Midas in
Reverse/Dear Eloise, but it failed to chart. In response, Clarke and
Nash wrote an almost "bubblegum" song "
Jennifer Eccles " (named after
their wives) (Mar. 1968, UK No.7, US No.40, Australia No.13 ), which
was a hit.
The Hollies donated a Clarke-Nash song, "Wings", to No
One\'s Gonna Change Our World , a charity album in aid of the World
Wildlife Fund , in 1969.
TERRY SYLVESTER REPLACES GRAHAM NASH
In addition to his Hollies work, in 1967
Graham Nash co-wrote John
Walker's first solo hit "Annabella" – and later in 1968, Nash sang
on the Scaffold 's UK Chart topper, "Lily the Pink " (which referenced
"Jennifer Eccles"). The failure of "King Midas in Reverse" had
increased tension within the band, with Clarke and Hicks wanting to
record more "pop" material than Nash did. Matters reached a head when
the band rejected Nash's "
Marrakesh Express " and then decided to
record an album made up entirely of
Bob Dylan covers. Nash did take
part in one Dylan cover, "Blowin\' in the Wind ", but made no secret
of his disdain for the idea and repeatedly clashed with producer Ron
In August 1968 the Hollies recorded "Listen to Me" (written by Tony
Hazzard) (Sept. 1968, UK No.11), which featured
Nicky Hopkins on
piano. That proved to be Nash's last recording session with the
Hollies, and he officially left the group after a performance in a
charity concert at the
London Palladium on December 8, 1968 to move to
Los Angeles, where he tentatively planned to become primarily a
songwriter. Nash told Disc magazine, "I can't take touring any more. I
just want to sit at home and write songs. I don't really care what the
rest of the group think." After relocating to Los Angeles, he joined
Buffalo Springfield guitarist
Stephen Stills and ex-Byrds
singer & guitarist
David Crosby to form one of the first supergroups ,
Crosby, Stills "
Hippy Hippy Shake ", "
Good Golly Miss Molly ", and
"You\'re No Good ", from 1966–1968. Sylvester also substituted for
Nash as part of the group's songwriting team, with Clarke and Hicks.
As planned before Nash's departure, the group's next album was Hollies
Sing Dylan , which reached the No.3 position on the UK chart while the
US version, Words And Music by Bob Dylan, was ignored. The next album
Hollies Sing Hollies did not chart in the UK but did well in Canada
and in the USA charting at No. 32.
Nash's departure saw
The Hollies again turn to outside writers for
their single A-sides, but the group's British chart fortunes rallied
during 1969 and 1970, and they scored four consecutive UK Top 20 hits
(including two consecutive Top 5 placings) in this period, beginning
with the Geoff Stephens/Tony Macaulay song, "
Sorry Suzanne " (Feb.
1969), which reached No.3 in the UK. The follow-up was the emotional
ballad "He Ain\'t Heavy, He\'s My Brother " written by Bobby Scott and
Bob Russell , which featured the piano playing of
Elton John , and
which reached No.3 in the UK in October 1969, No.7 in the US in March
1970. The US version of
Hollies Sing Hollies added this song and was
retitled He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, reaching No.32 on the US
The Hollies' next single, "I Can't Tell the Bottom from the Top",
again featured the young
Elton John on piano and reached UK No. 7 in
May 1970, charting in twelve countries. The UK hits continued with
"Gasoline Alley Bred" (Oct. 1970, UK No. 14, Australia No. 20 ), while
the Tony Hicks' song, "Too Young to Be Married" – merely an album
track in the UK and the US – became a No. 1 single in Australia, New
Zealand and Malaysia, also reaching No. 9 in Singapore. Allan Clarke's
hard edged rocker, "Hey Willy", made No. 22 in the UK in 1971, and
charted in eight other countries.
Graham Nash before him, frontman Allan Clarke by 1971 was
growing frustrated, and he too began clashing with producer Ron
Richards over material; after seeing Nash's success since departing,
he was eager to leave the group and cut a solo album. After the 1971
album Distant Light , which concluded the band's EMI/Parlophone
contract in the UK (and reached No.21 on the American Billboard
chart), Clarke departed from the Hollies in December, a move which
surprised both the band's fans and the public in general.
The Hollies signed with
Polydor for the UK/Europe in 1972, although
their US contract with Epic still had three more albums to run.
Mikael Rickfors , formerly of the group Bamboo (who had
supported the Hollies in Sweden in 1967), was quickly recruited by the
rest of the band and sang lead on the group's first
"The Baby" (UK No. 26, March 1972). When Mikael first auditioned for
them, he tried to sing in Allan Clarke's range and the results were
terrible. The rest of the group decided it might be better to record
songs with him, starting from scratch.
Terry Sylvester and Tony Hicks
blended with Mikael's baritone voice instead of him trying to imitate
Allan's tenor voice. There were rumours Mikael couldn't speak a word
of English and had to learn the words of "The Baby" phonetically .
The rumour about him not knowing English was false; however, he did
struggle understanding English words that he himself had not put
Meanwhile, in a counter-programming move,
Parlophone lifted a
Clarke-composed track from the previously-unsuccessful album Distant
Light that also featured Clarke on lead vocals and lead guitar, the
Creedence Clearwater Revival -inspired "Long Cool Woman in a Black
Parlophone released this as a rival single to "The Baby" in
February 1972, although it fared relatively poorly in the UK (No. 32).
In the US, Epic, which owned the rights to Distant Light but had not
released it, finally released the album in April 1972 and the single
in May 1972. Surprisingly, the song became a smash hit outside of
Europe, peaking at No. 2 in the US (the Hollies' highest-charting
single in the US ever) and No. 1 in Australia.
"Long Dark Road", another track from Distant Light with lead vocals
by Clarke, distinctive three-part harmonies, and a harmonica
throughout, was then also released as a US single, reaching No. 26. As
a result, Epic pressured Clarke and the Hollies to reform, despite the
fact that they had split over a year previously, placing Rickfors in
an awkward position.
Meanwhile, the Rickfors-led Hollies released their first album Romany
(which reached No. 84 in the US) in October 1972. A second
Rickfors-sung single, "Magic Woman Touch" (1972), failed to chart in
the UK, becoming the band's first official single to miss the UK
charts since 1963, although it did chart in seven other countries,
reaching the Top Ten in the Netherlands, New Zealand and Hong Kong. A
second Rickfors/Hollies album, Out on the Road (1973), was recorded
and issued in Germany. However, with the US success of Distant Light
and its singles, Clarke decided to rejoin the band the summer of 1973,
and Rickfors then left. Accordingly, no UK or US release was made of
Out on the Road, giving this "lost" Hollies album legendary status
among the band's fans – and high prices on the original German
After Clarke's return,
The Hollies returned to the UK Top 30 with
another swamp rock -style song penned by Clarke, "The Day That Curly
Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee" (UK No. 24, 1973). In 1974 they
scored what was to be their last major new US and UK hit single with
the Albert Hammond/Mike Hazlewood-composed love song, "The Air That I
Breathe " (previously recorded by Hammond and by
Phil Everly on his
1973 solo album, Star Spangled Springer), which reached No. 2 in the
UK and Australia and made the Top 10 in the US.
After the US failure of The Hollies' single "4th of July, Asbury Park
", written by
Bruce Springsteen , Epic gave up on the Hollies in the
US, combining their two 1976 albums into their last US release of the
decade, Clarke, Hicks, Sylvester, Calvert, Elliott (again including
the Springsteen song to give it one last chance at success).
The Hollies continued to have singles chart hits during the rest of
the seventies, but mostly in Europe and New Zealand. In 1976, for
example, the group released three singles in three different styles,
none of which charted in the UK or the US. "Star," an uptempo harmony
number reminiscent of their sixties hits, charted only in New Zealand
and Australia, the hard rock number "Daddy Don't Mind" charted only in
The Netherlands and Germany, and "Wiggle That Wotsit," an excursion
into disco territory, charted only in The Netherlands, Sweden, and New
Zealand. Especially popular outside of the US, always very
professional in their continuous concert engagements,
The Hollies had
album chart successes with compilation albums in 1977 and 1978, which
kept them going through the late 1970s.
1980S TO THE PRESENT
In 1980, the Hollies returned to the UK charts with the single
"Soldier's Song", written and produced by
Mike Batt , which was a
minor hit in 1980 reaching No.58 in the UK. They also released an
Buddy Holly covers named
Buddy Holly which didn't chart in
the UK or the US, but did chart in the Netherlands among other places.
In May 1981 Calvert and Sylvester left the group after musical
Bruce Welch , who was producing them at that time
(nothing from the Welch sessions was ever released during this time).
Sylvester also disagreed strongly with the band's sacking of their
long time manager Robin Britten. Alan Coates joined the band on rhythm
guitar and high harmony vocals shortly afterwards.
The Hollies went back in the studio on 6 June 1981 with
singer/writer/guitarist John Miles and session bassist Alan Jones to
record "Carrie" and "Driver". But neither one of these songs was
released at this time ("Carrie" eventually appeared as the b-side of
the re-released "He Ain't Heavy" in 1988).
In August 1981 the remaining Hollies released "Holliedaze" on EMI, a
medley edited together by
Tony Hicks from their hit records, which
returned them to the UK Top 30. At the request of the BBC, Nash and
Haydock briefly rejoined in September 1981 to promote the record on
Top of the Pops
Top of the Pops .
The Hollies issued their last
Polydor single "Take
My Love and Run" (written by keyboard player
Brian Chatton , who also
appeared with the Hollies while they promoted the single on TV) in
November 1981 but this failed to chart.
Graham Nash joined them for the recording of an Alan Tarney song
"Somethin' Ain't Right" in 10 September 1982 which led to a proper
reunion album What Goes Around... issued on WEA Records in July 1983.
Graham Nash continued appearing with the Hollies through early 1984
culminating in the Hollies last hit in the USA Top 40 with a remake of
The Supremes ' "
Stop in the Name of Love ", which reached No.29 in
1983. "Stop in the Name of Love" was taken from the album What Goes
Around... which was released in July 1983 and charted in the USA on
Billboard top 200 albums at No. 90. A live album featuring the
Clarke-Hicks-Elliott-Nash re-grouping, Reunion, was recorded at Kings
Island Amusement Park in Ohio, during a US tour that followed that
same year, finally being issued first in 1997 as Archive Alive, then
retitled Reunion (with two extra tracks) in 2004.
The Hollies continued to tour and perform through the 1980s, by this
time reaching classic rock status and drawing crowds around the world
to see them. In the mid 80s, the band began to lower the keys of their
songs when Allan began to lose range.
After its use in a TV beer commercial (for
Miller Lite lager) in the
summer of 1988, "He Ain't Heavy" was reissued in the UK and reached
No.1, thus establishing a new record for the length of time between
chart-topping singles for one artist of 23 years (the Hollies' only
previous UK No.1 having been 1965's I\'m Alive ). By this time bassist
Ray Stiles , formerly a member of 1970s chart-topping glam rock group
Mud , had joined the permanent line-up.
1988 also saw the release of compilation album All the Hits & More:
The Definitive Collection which charted in the UK.
In 1993 the Hollies had their 30th anniversary as a band. A
compilation album, The Air That I Breathe: The Very Best of The
Hollies, charted No. 15 in the UK. This album included a new single,
"The Woman I Love", which charted at No. 42 in the UK. Graham Nash
again reunited with the Hollies to record a new version of "Peggy Sue
Got Married" that featured prerecorded lead vocals by Buddy Holly,
taken from an 'alternate' version of the song given to Nash by Holly's
widow Maria Eleana Holly. This "
Buddy Holly '50 At Fifty' which
concluded with one new song; 'Skylarks' written by Bobby Elliott,
Peter Howarth and Steve Vickers
IN THE UNITED STATES
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The Hollies were one of the last of the major
British Invasion groups
to have significant chart success in the United States. Their first
single was not issued in the US and, although they had a minor US hit
in 1964 with "Just One Look ", it was not until "Look Through Any
Window" that the band reached the US Top 40. Many of their early
singles that had been major hits in the UK, including "Here I Go Again
", "I\'m Alive ", "
Yes I Will " and "We're Through", failed to even
reach the Top 100 in the US.
However, from 1966 until after they signed to Epic in 1967, the band
had their most concentrated success in the US, including four Top 10
songs ("Bus Stop ", "
Stop Stop Stop ", "
On a Carousel ", and "Carrie
Anne ". However, the move to Epic followed by Graham Nash's departure
ended this streak; after that, the Hollies had a few more huge hits:
"He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" (No. 7, 1969), "Long Cool Woman" (No.
2, 1972), and "The Air That I Breathe" (No. 6, 1974). They did,
however, have additional US chart hits with the non-UK singles "Pay
You Back With Interest" (No. 28 in 1966), "Dear Eloise" (No. 50 in
1967), "Long Dark Road" (No. 26 in 1972), and the "reunion" single
"Stop! In the Name of Love" (No. 29 in 1983).
ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME
In 2010, the Hollies were included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
. The band members inducted were Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony
Hicks, Eric Haydock, Bobby Elliott, Bernie Calvert, and Terry
It was announced that the band would be reuniting with Allan Clarke
Graham Nash for a live performance at the induction ceremony.
However, the current incarnation of the band (with HOF inductees Hicks
and Elliott) was unable to reschedule a performance in London to
The Hollies were represented at the RRHOF ceremony by Clarke,
Nash, Sylvester, Haydock and Calvert. Sixty years after first singing
together, Allan Clarke and
Graham Nash gave a reunion performance
consisting of "Bus Stop ", "Carrie Anne" (accompanied by Adam Levine
and Jesse Carmichael from
Maroon 5 ), and "Long Cool Woman "
Steve Van Zandt
Steve Van Zandt on guitar and Pat Monahan (from Train
), with a cameo appearance by Sylvester on vocals). The performance
marked the first time that Clarke had sung in 10 years.
List of The Hollies members
Tony Hicks – lead guitar, backing vocals (1963–present)
Bobby Elliott – drums (1963–present)
* Ray Stiles – bass (1986–1990, 1991–present)
* Ian Parker – keyboards (1991–present)
Peter Howarth – lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2004–present)
* Steve Lauri – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2004–present)
The Hollies discography
Stay with The Hollies (1964)
In The Hollies Style (1964)
* Hollies (1965)
* Would You Believe? (1966)
For Certain Because (1966)
* Evolution (1967)
* Butterfly (1967)
Hollies Sing Dylan (1969)
Hollies Sing Hollies (1969)
Confessions of the Mind (1970)
* Distant Light (1971)
* Romany (1972)
* Out on the Road (1973)
* Hollies (1974)
* Another Night (1975)
* Write On (1976)
* Russian Roulette (1976)
A Crazy Steal (1978)
* Five Three One-Double Seven o Four (1979)
Buddy Holly (1980)
* What Goes Around... (1983)
* Staying Power (2006)
* Then, Now, Always (2009)
The Hollies at
* ^ A B The band's lineup in the Hall of Fame includes only the
seven band members during 1964 through 1971. The most famous member
during this time was
Graham Nash , who went on to form the Crosby,
Stills, Nash and Young supergroup in the US. Letterman update, The
Boston Globe , 17 December 2009
* ^ A B C D E F G H Dawn Eden, 30th Anniversary essay, March 1993,
in 30th Anniversary Collection.
* ^ William Kerns (14 March 2009). "Holly\'s influence will not
fade away". Lubbockonline.com. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ 2009
Graham Nash Reflections :: Introduction to
autobiographical liner/CD booklet
* ^ "Go-Set national Top 40, 12 Apr. 1967". Poparchives.com.au. 12
April 1967. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ "Go-Set national chart, 9 Aug. 1967". Poparchives.com.au. 9
August 1967. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ "Gli Hollies di Graham Nash". altervista.org.
* ^ "Gli Hollies - Non Prego Per Me (Live 1967 Audio)". YouTube.
* ^ "Grande enciclopedia rock". google.it.
* ^ "\',Go-Set\', national Top 40, 8 May 1968". Poparchives.com.au.
8 May 1968. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ DISC magazine article reproduced in the Hollies tour book 2004
* ^ "Go-Set national chart, 20 Feb. 1970". Poparchives.com.au. 20
February 1971. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ A B C D
Circus Magazine , May 1973. – "Romany – The Hollies
Hop Over Disaster" by Janis Schacht .
* ^ "Go-Set National Top 40, 20 September 1972".
Poparchives.com.au. 30 September 1972. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ "\',Go-Set\', national Top 40, 1 June 1974".
Poparchives.com.au. 1 June 1974. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
* ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 38 – The Rubberization of Soul:
The great pop music renaissance. " (audio).
Pop Chronicles .
University of North Texas Libraries .
* ^ "Congratulations to the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Inductees!" Rockhall.com, 17 December 2009
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