Friday, April 22, 2011

The Hollies

One of the more prominent bands in the early sixties British Invasion , The Hollies were originally lead vocalist Allan Clarke , guitarist-vocalist Graham Nash , Don Rathbone on drums , bassist Eric Haydock , and Vic Steele , also on guitar and vocals. The group's name arose from their admiration for Buddy Holly , according to Graham Nash. Their first U.S release The band's first U.S. single release was "Look Through Any Window" in 1964.

The Hollies became known for their distinctive bright vocal harmonies . By the time the group broke in the States , Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott had replaced Vic Steele and Don Rathbone on guitar and drums , respectively. They relied heavily on cover songs in the beginning , eventually moving towards made-to-order original tunes by writers such as future 10cc member Graham Gouldman. Soon thereafter, the in-house songwriting trio of Clarke ,Nash and Hicks took over the compositional chores.

Feeling limited by the group's pop identity , and wanting to write songs of a more personal and reflective nature , Graham Nash departed the group in 1968 and soon after relocated to San Francisco where he joined ex-Byrds David Crosby and ex-Bullalo Springfield Steven Stills to form one of the earliest "super groups",Crosby,Stills and Nash . Like John Lennon and George Harrison , he grew tired of the band's songs being drowned out by screaming audiences. He also took issue with the Hollies plan to record an album entirely of Bob Dylan songs.

Nash was replaced by former Swinging Blue Jeans guitarist-vocalist Terry Sylvester . During all this, Tony Hicks emerged as the main musical force of the band , and to this day remains one of the more underrated guitarists to come from the British Invasion , easily on a par with George Harrison and Brian Jones. His lead vocals were also featured heavily in the group's songs.

The band's single "Carrie Ann" is one of their best known songs,released in 1967 and reaching #9 in the U.S. pop charts. Actress Carrie Ann Moss disclosed that she was named after the song , having been born when the song was on the charts. Their most identified and perhaps signature tune is "He Ain't Heavy,He's My Brother",featuring a young Elton John on piano and written ironically, by Bob Dylan. This release went to #3 in the U.S. in 1969 . The Creedence Clearwater Revival-inspired "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" remains their most successful release , going to #2 in the U.S. pop charts.
The Hollies were Inducted into the RockAnd Roll Hall Of Fame March 15, 2010 . The band still tours with almost-original members Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott.

1 comment:

  1. I must address a glaring omission in the fact that Bernie Calvert replaced Bassist Eric Haydock in 1966. Calvert was originally a pianist and took up the bass at the suggestion of Tony Hicks. He played both instruments for the band until 1981.