just thinking to myself why are we here as devoted Hollies fans, why did we choose the Hollies to follow as passionately as we do. in real terms the big hits run out with The air that I breathe in 1974, ok we had the number 1 in 1988 but that was due to the beer commercial not a new recording. From what I can see members here are very knowledgeable about all things Hollies. In many ways it would be easier to follow bands like the Stones, the Who, Beatles, hey no trouble picking up any video footage not like us. We all know what it’s like, mention the Hollies and we are asked “who” why are we here, is it’s Allan’s voice, with respect to Allan there are a lot of great voices in the music industry., is it the type of songs they sing, mostly harmonies, well if you want harmonies we have the Bee Gees, Simon and Garfunkel etc. The band has struggled to sell records, I think their biggest was the covers of Dylan songs., Maybe it’s the challenge of being a Hollies fan, they are no good at PR, had heaps of line up changes, almost very secretive with what ever they do. Is it a nostalgia thing, but most have been fans for a life time and have seen them way back in the mist of time. Im a Hollies fan thanks to seeing Don’t get sunburnt way back in 1971, I was taken back by Carrie Ann, loved the fact that the three front singers sang a verse each. Too young to be married was a number 1 and I was hooked. I’m the sort of person that is full on, throw myself into things, thus that’s why I’m here.
Great question. For me, i grew up in a very beatles orientated house in the 70s and 80s. As much as I love the Beatles, I felt the need to follow a different band, mainly because I didn't want to be the same as everyone at home.
My mum gave me a copy of Would you believe and i was hooked, the harmonies, guitar work, the challenge of finding out more about a band more enigmatic than the 'big 2'.
As I collected more and more of their lps, I realized that their music just felt like home to me. Very successful but weirdly underrated too. Their music was very therapeutic when I've gone through tough times.
Post by calvertbesseralseric on Jan 11, 2020 8:54:40 GMT
I guess it would've had to have started when we sang He Ain't Heavy in our school choir, which got me listening to a neglected greatest hits CD my parents had knocking around and has eventually led to this, as you say, rather unique obsession. I completely agree the Hollies "sound like home" - their vocals, instrumentation and songwriting are poppy without being particularly corny, their harmonies are unparalleled and their mostly modest public personas struck a chord with me.
I was already familiar with their hits, but it was hearing 'Evolution' that did it for me. I couldn't believe how this "unknown" album could be as good or better than 'Revolver', 'Aftermath' and 'The Who Sell Out'. Soon after I got 'For Certain Because' (nearly as good)followed by the rest of the Nash-era albums.
If I'm completely honest, few if any of The Hollies' post-Nash songs have been life-changing for me, but many of the recordings from the 1965-1968 era in particular still give me goose-bumps every time I hear them.
I kept hearing random records by them on the radio during the early 80's - yes, there was a time when radio actually played occasional 50's and 60's records - and found myself enjoying them, especially Look Through Any Window, Bus Stop and Carrie Anne. I made a mental note to look out for them in second hand shops and the first single I found and bought was Jennifer Eccles. I HATED it (still do) but flipped it over and was blown away by Open Up Your Eyes, especially the interweaving harmonies near the end. From then on, I got heavily into them. Always liked Allan's voice and those harmonies... and that drumming was in a class of its own! Essentially, good solid music, great songwriting. Like PeterC, 1965 to 1968 is the magic era for me - so much life, energy, joy and experimentation on a par alongside the Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Kinks.
I was massively into the Beatles and collecting their records. Everything they did was shrouded in legend. You could probably track the Beatles' 24hr whereabouts from 1963 through to 1971 because there's so much out there about them. With that, considerable weight is placed on their music, which to my generation was very much "you'll never get better than the Beatles". I was massively into the Small Faces at the time, though frustrated by their lack of recorded material, and just before that had got into the Kinks, but again, it was at a time when they weren't so popular and their albums were very difficult to find for a reasonable amount of money.
I was at school and bought a few records online, among them was 'Hollies Greatest' from 1968. I was only drawn to it if I'm honest, because it was on the same label as the Beatles. I dismissed it initially, focusing on whatever else it was that I bought, before playing the Hollies LP before bed. 'I Can't Let Go' just grabbed me. The whole LP just grabbed me. This music wasn't conceptual like the Beatles or "anti-establishment" like the Small Faces and Kinks, it was straight up real music with no pretence. And so meticulously played too. Part of the thrill for me is how good a band are musically, as we know, bands like the Kinks weren't the best, and certainly not the Rolling Stones. The Hollies had hit upon this unique chemistry between a virtuosic guitarist who not only could play anything, but understood what NOT to play, if the mood didn't fit the track, you've got a jazz-influenced drummer who to me brought to pop music what Ginger Baker bought to blues/rock (I know he hated Cream being called a rock group, but still...), Bobby bought flair and something other than just four bars of drumming and a quick fill like Ringo Starr does. Add into the mix the fast and furious scalic playing of Eric Haydock, then the thumping but cavernous sound of Bernie Calvert, and you've got one of the tightest most proficient instrumental groups of the era.
Then on top of that you've got Allan Clarke who has an incredibly impressive vocal range. The only one who comes close for the British Invasion era for such a controlled range and power is Paul Jones and perhaps Paul McCartney. And on top of that, there's Graham Nash, whom, unlike other high harmony singers in groups, genuinely had an alto voice, ie, he wasn't singing in a head voice falsetto. That power that he had, and later Terry Sylvester, was the key to making the Hollies harmonies so unified and strong.
For me, it was the ability to look at all the groups of the 1960s, decades after it happened, and explore them all together and learn for myself who really was the best of the bunch, and other than the Beatles of course, that is without a doubt the Hollies. No other 1960s group (Rolling Stones included) had such a varied career, offered so many different musical styles or gave us the sheer consistent quality that the Hollies gave us. My only regret for them is that they didn't have an insider PR shark like other groups did that would get them the legendary status that they really deserve.
The Hollies had hit upon this unique chemistry between a virtuosic guitarist who not only could play anything, but understood what NOT to play,
This is an interesting and crucial observation. I looked at those live clips posted last night in the 2020 American tour thread and the thing that stood out for me above everything else was Tony's guitar work as he stretched out giving everyone an example of just how superb he is. He's always had the chops and I've always rated him highly but you've put the finger on what it is that makes him special - he knew what NOT to play, simply getting on with serving the song as opposed to going off on long solos which would drag the song down. I've known many lead guitarists and by goodness, they sure have egos and want their big moments in the spotlight whereas Tony keeps it short, simple and interesting, happy to be a part of the whole - band and song - as opposed to dominating. I don't deny sometimes in some songs I wish he'd stretched out more but instead, he leaves us wanting more! That takes some courage and canniness!
For example - where's the solo on 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'? The song doesn't suit one, and it was Tony that found the song for them. I'll admit, he always leaves me wanting more from him on record. Seeing the Hollies in person for the first time was such a treat because he really let go with extended solos for 'The Baby', 'Stop! Stop! Stop!', 'Look Through Any Window' etc... and it was thrilling to see him play. He's just as happy giving you a lead riff as he is just quietly strumming along. He also mixes up the tone of his guitar an awful lot rather than switching guitars, which is something else I applaud him for. SO many guitarists will get through 10+ guitars per show because they "sound different", but Tony sticks with at most three (one of which being his electric sitar) and instead alters the tone, which to me keeps the sound fresher and more varied than just switching guitars.
I didn't really get into The Hollies until about 1967. Up to that point, I could be considered fairly normal in my tastes.
Mid '63 was when my love affair with pop music began. I was an 11-year-old Canadian kid who had suddenly discovered Top 50 radio. My early favourites were Lesley Gore, Dion, Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, and all those girl groups so prevalent at the time. And then in February 1964 The Beatles struck, and overnight everything changed: The British Invasion! Loved the Searcher's especially, with those high smooth harmonies, but like most other kids my age, enjoyed all the Merseybeat groups. Only song I recall hearing in '64 by The Hollies was 'Just One Look', and then only a couple of times before it disappeared. Can't recall hearing anything else on radio by the group until 'Look through Any Window'. But from then on they became Top 40 regulars for a couple of years. Evolution was my first album. Loved the tunes, the harmonies, and the switching of lead vocals between Clarke and Nash. I was hooked and began to buy everything by the group.
Nash's departure at the end of '68 was a blow, especially with the media's constant mantra that Nash WAS The Hollies, and the rest of the band were no more than journeymen musicians without him. But with the success of Sorry Suzanne, and upon hearing the Dylan LP with their, to my ear anyway, superior harmonies, I was more than happy with the 'new' lineup. I then went through a long period where I'd buy just about anything with 'Hollies' stamped upon it: records, magazine articles etc.
Saw the group live several times. Always very professional, with first-rate vocals and harmonies. Took a fair bit of stick through the years, from high school days through my 30's, whenever I publicly declared my allegiance to the group. They were never considered 'cool' or fashionable, except perhaps in '66-'67, by the 'in crowd'. Long Cool Woman' changed that a bit, 'but one song doth not make a career', and The Hollies always seemed to be fighting an uphill battle.
But why my fixation with The Hollies? I've often asked myself that. Why was I so invested in the group? I was very fond of several other acts, but none claimed my allegiance like The Hollies. And in the end I think it comes down primarily to the vocals. Allan Clarke was my idea of the perfect lead singer. And harmonies didn't get any better than Nash/Sylvester. Add Tony's lower fifth harmony and that three-way harmony was sheer perfection in my book. Yet I've also got to say I loved the type of songs they sang and wrote in general. Plus I liked their clean cut image. They weren't all drugged out and dishevelled in appearance, like so many of their comtemporaries. Furthermore, and this was a big thing for me, they kept their political views, if they had any, to themselves. And that was unusual back then. I've suppose when it comes to entertainers, I've always belonged to the 'Shut Up and Sing!' school of thought.
After 'Another Night' the group virtually disappeared from the charts. Their records were released erratically if at all over here. I had to search high and low for British imports to add to my collection. Also made many trips to Britain and scoured the 'record shops' for obscure 45s etc.
By the time I discovered this website, I had mellowed in my Hollies obsession and actually pursued many other diverse interests. You could say I was a recovering Hollies addict. But once here, what with all the diverse and inflammatory comments, I must confess I have now relapsed. I no longer 'collect', but rarely a day goes by that I can resist peaking at this site to see what the latest Hollies kerfuffle, dispute, or hard-held opinion is all about. Long may it continue!
I'll admit my Hollies journey actually started off pretty badly. I too was going through a massive Beatles phase, but worshipping and listening to almost nothing but them for an entire year as a close-minded 13 year old made me selfishly and stupidly disregard a whole lot of other music as little or no worth to me. My dad sometimes played some of the early Hollies hits around the house for his own enjoyment, particularly "I'm Alive" and "On A Carousel" , but I thought at the time they were absolute rubbish songs and that Graham's (although I didn't know his name) higher range was irritating!
Thankfully, the next year I started to open myself up to more music, particularly 60s and 70s bands and then one day I heard "The Air That I Breathe" on the radio. I was blown away at how beautiful this song sounded - the vocal harmonies, the orchestral parts, the lead guitar, just everything, as I still am. I looked up who this was and after finding out it was The Hollies, I thought "perhaps I should give them another chance." I started off listening to the hits and few full albums I could find on YouTube (this was shortly before everything was uploaded to their topic channel) as well as picking up anything Hollies I came across in second hand shops and boot sales. My one regret I've mentioned before was deciding not to buy a vinyl copy of Hollies Sing Dylan I came across during my work experience in a charity shop, but everything since then with their name on I've quickly picked up!
And here I am now, at 17 (probably one of, if not the youngest here!), still a big Beatles fan but happy to have taken the time to truly appreciate The Hollies and see the appeal and genius of those classic songs I previously disliked. I'm also glad to have dug deep into their album tracks and what bonus material there is out there, as well as discover more great musical offshoots from them such as Allan's solo career or CSNY. And last but not least, I'm also glad I found this board to be able to share my opinions and discuss this class band with you guys! 😁
Nice to see the younger generation getting into The Hollies! I always tend to assume everyone here is long in the tooth, but glad to be proved wrong. It says something about the timeless quality of much of The Hollies output.