The Hollies


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1962)

- Allan Clarke -- vocals

- Vick Farrell -- guitar

- Eric Haydock -- bass

- Graham Nash -- vocals, guitar

- Don Rathbone -- drums

 

  line up 2 (1962-63)

- Allan Clarke -- vocals

- Eric Haydock -- bass

- Graham Nash -- vocals, guitar

- Don Rathbone -- drums

 

  line up 3 (1963-66)

- Allan Clarke -- vocals

- Bobby Elliott -- drums (replaced Ron Rathbone)

- Eric Haydock -- bass

- Tony Hicks -- guitar, banjo, mandolin (replaced Vick Farell)

- Graham Nash -- vocals, rhythm guitar

 

  line up 4 (1966-68)

- Bernie Calvert -- bass (replaced Eric Haydock)

- Allan Clarke -- vocals

- Bobby Elliott -- drums 

- Tony Hicks -- guitar, banjo, mandolin

- Graham Nash -- vocals, rhythm guitar

 

  line up 5 (1969-71)

- Bernie Calvert -- bass 

- Allan Clarke -- vocals

- Bobby Elliott -- drums 

- Tony Hicks -- guitar, banjo, mandolin 

- Terry Sylvester -- vocals, rhythm guitar (replaced Graham Nash)

 

  line up 6 (1971-73)

- Bernie Calvert -- bass 

- Bobby Elliott -- drums 

- Tony Hicks -- guitar, banjo, mandolin 

- Mikeael Rickfors -- vocals (replaced Allan Clarke)

- Terry Sylvester -- vocals, rhythm guitar

 

  line up 7 (1973-81)

- Bernie Calvert -- bass 

- Allan Clarke -- vocals 

- Bobby Elliott -- drums 

- Tony Hicks -- guitar, banjo, mandolin 

- Terry Sylvester -- vocals, rhythm guitar

 

 

  line up 9 (1983)

- Allan Clarke -- vocals

- Alan Coates -- guitar

- Bobby Elliott -- drums 

- Denis Haines -- bass 

- Tony Hicks -- guitar, banjo, mandolin

- Graham Nash -- vocals, guitar

 

 

 

 

 

- Big Picture (Bobby Elliott)

- The Bread and Bear Band  (Bernie Calvert)

- Allan Clarke (solo efforts)

- Crosby and Nash (Graham Nash)

- Crosby, Stills and Nash (Graham Nash)

- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Graham Nash)

- Haydrock's Rockhorse  (Eric hadock)

- Graham Nash (solo efforts)

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Write On

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 2442-141
Year:
 1976

Country/State: Manchester, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: minor ring and edge war to cover; UK pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 289

Price: $15.00

 

Best time to play: Sunny Sunday afternoon when nobody's around to hear you enjoying this guilty pleasure

 

And just when virtually everyone including their record label had seemingly given up on The Hollies, they reappeared with a late inning gem in the form of 1976's "Write On".   Apparently having settled some of their internal issues, the group seemed reinvigorated, with Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Terry Sylvester teaming up to write most of the ten tracks.  The results gave the band a surprisingly spirited mix of top-40 pop and classic Hollies ballads.  Mind you this was music as a product, but given how catchy tunes like 'Star', ' Narida', and 'Crocodile Woman (She Bites)' were, it was quality product that should have returned the band to the sales charts.  For goodness sakes, there were even a couple of  ballads that were worthwhile - the title track and 'xxx' managed to avoid their usual sappy excesses.  Highlights ?   'Crocodile Woman (She Bites)' may have been the best rock song they ever recorded - yes it's even better than 'Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress'.   Tying for second place were the highly commercial  'Star' and 'Narida'.   Unfortunately their efforts came in the face of growing public interest in punk, new wave, and dance music.  

 

- One of their most pop oriented tracks in years, 'Star' had everything nite On' was pretty impressive.  Clarke seemed to a knack for country-rockers and this one had a wonderful melody that was perfect for the patented Clarke-Hicks-Sylvester harmony vocals that made The Hollies so special.  Even though the 'special effects' are distracting,  YouTube has an interesting  television performance of the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bzie21IW3Q    rating: **** stars

- Unfortunately 'Sweet Country Calling' pushed the band too far in the corny country direction ...   why do British band's seemingly feel the need to delve into American country ?   Clarke sounded uncomfortable on the track and the rest of the band sounded like they were just going through the motions.   Forgettable.   rating: ** stars

- Other than their patented sweet harmonies and some weird synthesizer effects (sounding like an Indian snake charmer), 'Love Is the Thing' never really kicked into gear.   rating: *** stars

- Initially 'I Won't Move Over' didn't do much for me.  A pouty ballad, the track picked up speed and a bit of energy as it went along.  It got better with a couple of spins and Hick's wah-wah guitar was a nice touch.  Not great, but one of the better ballads on the album.  rating: *** stars

- Yeah, 'Narida' was way too cutesy for their own good (putting them dangerously close to ABBA-styled top-40 dance material, though maybe that was the goal), but with the goofy lyrics, second grader rhyming scheme, golden chorus (na-na-na-na-na-rida), Bernie Calvert's pounding bass, and Tony Hicks guitar solos what wasn't their to love here ?   Should have been a massive international hit for the group.   rating: **** stars

- A mid-tempo rocker that seemingly reflected a bit of Bruce Springsteen influences in the lyrical department, 'Stranger' was actually an enjoyable effort by the band to reflect a tougher, more contemporary sound.  rating: **** stars

- For a band not particularly known for their rockers, The Hollies could occasionally surprise you and 'Crocodile Woman (She Bites)' stood as a perfect example.   Kicked along by Pete Wingfield's barrelhouse piano and Clarke's growling vocal, this was a rollicking '50s-tinged number that was easily as good as 'Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress'.  Perhaps the best rocker they ever recorded ?  rating: **** stars

- 'My Island' was an easy-going, this-side-of-cocktail-jazz radio friendly pop song that really didn't have a great deal going for it outside of Pete Wingfield's cheesy ARP synthesizer lines.  The song became a staple in their live show and appears on the subsequent "Hollies Live Hits" collection.  YouTube has the band lip syncing the tune for some forgotten TV show at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmGXdEWQ-CA  rating: *** stars

- The lone non-original, 'There's Always Tomorrow' was a classic Hollies big--ballad.  Unfortunately, even though it was given the full Hollies treatment (strumming acoustic guitars, waves of harmony vocals, and a catchy chorus),  this one wasn't all that good.  Someone online described it as "another home alone on a Saturday night song ..."   which struck me as the perfect description for the track.   rating: *** stars

 

The album was tapped for a couple of singles. American audiences saw:

- 1975's 'Write On' b/w 'Crocodile Woman (She Bites)' (Epic catalog number 8-50204)

 

 In the UK the single was: 

- 1976's 'Star' b/w 'Love Is The Thing' (Polydor catalog number 2058 719)

 

In wasn't a classic Hollies LP, but song-for-song it was impressive and quite enjoyable.  Unfortunately Polydor made no attempt to sell the album in the States.

 

"Write On" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Star   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) - 3:39

2.) Write On   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) - 4:50

3.) Sweet Country Calling   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) - 3:06

4.) Love Is the Thing   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks)- 3:45

5.) I Won't Move Over   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks)

 

(side 2)
1.) Narida   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) - 3:57

2.) Stranger   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) - 3:29

3.) Crocodile Woman (She Bites)   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) - 3:35

4.) My Island   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) - 4:22

5.) There's Always Goodbye   (Randy Richards) - 4:15

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Hollies Live Hits

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 2383 428
Year:
 1976

Country/State:  Manchester, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: English pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 286

Price: $15.00

 

Best time to play: relaxing Saturday evening when you don't feel like doin' much more than hangin' around the house

 

Drawn from international dates the band played in support of the 1975 "Another Night" album  "Hollies Live Hits" was a surprisingly engaging concert set.  (I've read elsewhere that most of the tracks were recorded in Australia and New Zealand; a fact seeming reinforced by Clarke's reference to Christchurch in 'Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress').   Pulling together 15 tracks, the album offered up a career-spanning mixture of hits, lesser known numbers, and a handful of "new" (for 1975)  tracks drawn from  then-recent albums.  Live albums are frequently nothing more than an easy way to pad an act's bottom line and while there may have been a bit of that here, the overall results were surprisingly engaging and enjoyable.  Clarke remained one of rock's most overlooked singers - his instantly recognizable voice was a major treat throughout these songs and when Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Terry Sylvester blended their voices, it was frequently almost magical. The rest of the band were equally impressive - particularly bassist Bernie Calvert.   While it was nice to have so many of the hits in one place, personally I liked the album's lesser well know offerings including their cover of the old Doris Troy hit 'Just One Look', the overlooked single 'Another Night', and Hicks' sweet 'Too Young To Be Married'.  Apparently under the impression the band had lost their audience to punk and new wave acts,, Epic Records elected not to release the album in the States.   

 

At least on the opener 'I Can't Let Go' the audience applause sounded like it was added in post-production, but that was a minor quibble given how bright the performance sounded.  How could you not surrender to the jangle guitars and those patented harmonies (Terry Sylvester sounding amazingly like Graham Nash).  rating: **** stars

- Their Hollies-fied cover of the old Doris Troy hit 'Just One Look' was pleasant. Perhaps not one of the album highlights, but still lots of fun.   Seriously, these guys could probably have read a newspaper aloud and make it sound good.   rating: *** stars

- Clarke's risque song introduction was corny and while there wasn't anything wrong with the live version of  'I Can't Tell the Bottom from the Top', the song didn't exactly shake it's Elton John-styled pop flavor.  Okay, okay the chorus was decent.   rating: *** stars

- The original studio version is such a classic pop song I guess I didn't expect a lot from a liver version of  'Bus Stop''.  I was wrong - the live version was every bit as good as the studio version (perhaps even better with the brief reggae nod) and  with Bernie Calvert turning in a killer bass line throughout the song.   Fantastic performance.   rating: ***** stars

- Judging by the before song patter, most of these tracks were recorded during the band's 1975 "Another Night" tour ...  hence the inclusion of this one.   And here's the funny thing - 'Another Night' was great.  Completely overlooked when released, it's a classic Hollies tune with Pete Wingfield turning in some wonderfully cheesy synthesizers ....  I'm a sucker for this stuff.   rating: **** stars

- It's kind of funny to think about it, but if you're my age, then there's a good chance that many folks first exposure to Bruce Springsteen came though The Hollies cover of '4th of July, Ashbury Park (Sandy)'.  As much as I love the Springsteen original, you have to give these guys credit for doing a more than credible version - wonder how much of the urban Jersey narrative they understood ...   rating: **** stars

- 'Star' simply wasn't much of a song until the chorus and Wingfield's synthesizers kicked in.  At that point it became a major treat.  rating: *** stars

- Pulled from the earlier "Write On" collection,  'My Island' was the first real disappointment.  A breezy and rather anonymous pop track - imagine The Hollies recording a cocktail jazz album and this one would have been in the running for inclusion.   Forgettable.   rating: ** stars

- The audience loved it, but it took me awhile to warm up to the ballad 'I'm Down' - chiefly the three part Clark-Hicks-Sylvester harmonies.   rating: *** stars

- About all I can say is I was surprise at how close to the studio original the live version of 'Stop, Stop, Stop' was.   Quite impressive performance and Tony Hicks' banjo was a kick.   rating: **** stars

- One of my favorite Hollies performances, 'Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress' was one of the tracks that sounded even better in a live setting.  The perfect track to play for folks who didn't think The Hollies could rock out.    rating: **** stars

- Except for Tony Hicks blowing the vocals, 'Carrie-Anne' was nice enough ...  easy to see why Clarke handled most of the lead vocals.   rating: *** stars

- Yeah, 'The Air That I Breathe'  was one of their biggest hits so I guess they had to include it ...  can't say I ever liked the original and while the live take accurately replicated the studio version, it didn't do all that much for me.   rating: *** stars

- Penned by Tony Hicks, 'Too Young To Be Married' stripped away the pop band persona showing the group's true strengths ...  few bands could sing harmonies like these guys.   Charming with a beautiful flamenco-styled acoustic guitar solo.   rating: **** stars

- Another 'must play' hit, 'He Ain't Heavy - He's My Brotther' is one of those tunes I've heard so often I've simply become numb to it's appeal.   Nice enough live version, but it basically mimicked the studio original.  rating: **** stars

 

Finally, kudos to the band for avoiding the dreaded excesses associated with your standard double album mega-package. Sure you could argue with some of the song selections, but all said and done, 15 tracks provided a near perfect overview of the band's career. If nothing else, the album also reminded you of what a great band The Hollies were.

"Hollies Live Hits" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I Can't Let Go   (Gorgini - Taylor) - 

2.) Just One Look   (Carroll - Payne) - 

3.) I Can't Tell the Bottom from the Top   (Fletcher - Flett) - 

4.) Bus Stop   (Graham Gouldman) - 

5.) Another Night   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) -

6.) 4th of July, Ashbury Park (Sandy)  (Bruce Springsteen) - 

7.) Star   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) -

8.) My Island    (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks) -

 

(side 2)
1.) I'm Down   (Terry Sylvester - Allan Clarke - Terry Hicks) -

2.) Stop, Stop, Stop   (Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks - Graham Nash) -

3.) Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress   (Roger Cook - Roger Greenaway - Allan Clarke) - 

4.) Carrie-Anne   (Allan Clarke - Tony Hicks - Graham Nash) -

5.) The Air That I Breathe   (Albert Hammond - Lee Hazlewood) -  

6.) Too Young To Be Married   (Tony Hicks) - 

7.) He Ain't Heavy - He's My Brotther   (Russell - Scott) - 

 

 

 

 


Genre: pop

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Five Three One - Double Seven O Four

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 2383 428
Year:
 1979

Country/State: Manchester, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: lots of light scratches, but plays fine; original inner sleeve; UK pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 287

Price: $15.00

 

Best time to play: never

 

1979's 'Five Three One - Double Seven O Four' has always struck me as an odd project.  Reuniting the band with former producer Ron Richards, the set was apparently recorded amidst growing internal strife.  In fact, before the start of a brief German tour, Clarke quit, leaving Sylvester and company to finish the tour on their own.  They also continued the recording sessions without Clarke (supposedly approach former Procol Harum singer/keyboardist Gary Brooker about joining).  Ultimately Clarke rejoined the recording sessions, but the result was a Hollies album with a single original tune (Clarke's 'Satellite Three').  The collection was also exceedingly ballad heavy.  In fact seven of the ten songs were ballads.  Mind you, under Allan Clarke The Hollies were among the best ballad singers in popular music, but cramming so many of them into one album didn't do the band, or listeners any favors.  Their selection of material was also subject to criticism - two Murray Head ballads ?   And what was with the country-tinged 'Stormy Waters' or the extremely strange Bowie-esque 'Satellite Three' ?   Bottom line is that here The Hollies managed to come up with a first - an album that was actually dull.

 

- I've got to admit Murray Head's 'Say It Ain't So Joe' has never been a song that's done much for me (the song's pleading edge has always irked me), and The Hollies' cover didn't change that view.  Their heavily orchestrated version stuck pretty close to the original arrangement, adding in some patented Hollies harmonies, but in the end it was for naught.  rating: *** stars

- I'll readily admit 'Maybe It's Dawn' was quite pretty, but it was also bland and heartless; sounding like product more than art.  Heavily orchestrated, and with the exception of the choruses where the patented Clarke-Hicks-Sylvester harmonies kicked in, it really didn't sound a great deal like a Hollies effort.  rating: *** stars

- Thankfully 'Song of the Sun' provided a bit of musical diversity in the form of a slightly slinky blues-tinged number.  That's not to say the song was good, 'cause it wasn't.  To my ears it sounded very much like a demo that hadn't been fully completed, but at least it wasn't another ballad.  Best thing here was Sylvester's fuzz guitar solo.  rating: *** stars

- Featuring Terry Sylvester on lead vocals, 'Harlequin' was an interesting collaboration with members of Procol Harum.  Penned by Procol singer/keyboardist Gary Brooker, it was another ballad, but at least this one had a decent melody and was noteworthy for Brooker's uncredited backing vocals (at the end of the tune).  Procol drummer B.J. Wilson was also credited with playing on the song.  rating: **** stars

- I'm guessing nobody bothered to tell the band that stringing so many ballads together wasn't the smartest decision they could make.  No matter how good it had been, by the time you hit 'When I'm Young' the chances were you'd hit ballad meltdown.   Another tune that was pretty enough, but ...  rating: *** stars

- Just because it was an up-tempo pop song, 'Something To Live For' stood as one of the album highlights (and a nice change of pace).   It was also tapped as an instantly obscure single.  rating: **** stars

- With 'Stormy Waters' The Hollies managed to do something they'd seldom accomplished before - namely recording a song totally without merit.  A plodding, completely forgettable tinged ballad, this one was simply a snore fest.   rating: * star

- Another tune with Terry Sylvester on lead vocals, 'Boys In the Band' was a breezy, vaguely Carribbean-tinged number.  Nice, but not particularly memorable.  rating: *** stars

- Geez, what was with the goody 'Satellite Three' ?  Clarke deciding to trot out his best David Bowie impression ?  Beats me.  Yeah, of course the first part was a ballad ...   but it was a strange ballad.  The song picked up a but of speed towards the end, but it didn't make much difference.   Wonder what the rest of the band thought about this one.   rating: ** stars

- Surrounded by heavy orchestration,  'It's Never One of Us' was simply dull and forgettable.  rating: ** stars

 

As mentioned, the album spun off one single:

 

  

 

- 1979's 'Something To Live For' b/w 'Dragging My Heels' (Polydor catalog number 2059 108) 

 

"Five Three One - Double Seven O Four" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Say It Ain't So Joe   (Murray Head) - 

2.) Maybe It's Dawn   (Tony Hymas - Brown) - 

3.) Song of the Sun   (Tony Hymas - Brown) - 

4.) Harlequin   (Gary Brooker) -

5.) When I'm Yours   (Murray Head)

 

(side 2)
1.) Something To Live For   (Tony Hymas - Brown) - 

2.) Stormy Waters  (White)

3.) Boys In the Band   (Pete Brown)

4.) Satellite Three   (Allan Clarke - Gary Benson) - 

5.) It's Never One of Us   (David Pomnerez)

 

 

 

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