|Current Members:||Tony Hicks |
|Past Members:||Graham Nash |
The Hollies are an English pop band from Manchester formed in the early 1960s. Known for their distinctive vocal harmony style (which influenced many other groups) they became one of the leading British bands of the era, and they enjoyed considerable popularity in many other countries (including Australia) although they did not achieve major US chart success until the early 1970s. Like The Rolling Stones and Steeleye Span, they are also notable as one of the few British pop bands of the Sixties that has never officially broken up and which continues to record and perform to the present.
Member Graham Nash told Public Radio International (Bob Edwards show--February 15, 2009) that the group decided just prior to a performance to call themselves the Hollies because of their admiration for Buddy Holly. The original lineup included Allan Clarke as lead vocalist, Graham Nash as guitarist and backup vocalist, Jeremy Levine on rhythm guitar, with Eric Haydock and Don Rathbone rounding out the group on bass and drums. Levine, due to a run-in with the law, was dismissed from the group shortly before they signed to Parlophone in 1963 as label-mates of The Beatles. The group released their first album in the United States in 1964 as part of the first wave of British Invasion releases. They are commonly associated with Manchester, as some of the original Hollies grew up in the city. Tony Hicks then Bobby Elliot who both played in a Nelson based band, the Dolphins, joined the band in quick succession in 1963. Bernie Calvert who replaced Haydock in 1966 was also a Dolphin member.
The Hollies had a squeaky-clean image, and were known for their bright vocal harmonies. Their EMI debut single Ain't That Just Like Me,released May 1 1963, hit #25 on the UK singles chart.Their second single, a coverof The Coasters, Searchin' hit number 12.They scored their first British top ten hit in early 1964 with a cover of Maurice Williams and The Zodiac's "Stay" which hit #8 in the UK Singles Chart, it was from the bands Parlophone debut album "Stay With The Hollies", released Jan. 1 1964, the album went to # 2 on the UK chart.A version of the album would show up in the U.S. as Here I Go Again, on The Hollies then U.S. label Imperial.They followed up with a cover of Doris Troy's "Just One Look". But as the 1960s moved forward, the cover versions receded; and, songs provided them by such writers as Graham Gouldman plus---more significantly---written by the group's in-house songwriting trio of Clarke, Hicks, and Nash, began providing the hits.
After The Beatles, The Hollies were the most successful British 'singles' bands of the 1960s, scoring twenty-two UK Top 40 placings between 1964 and 1970 . Their hits include "Here I Go Again" (#4, 1964);the bands first self penned hit "We're Through" (#7 1964); "Look Through Any Window" (#4, 1965, U.S. #32); "Yes I Will" (#9, 1965); their only British
The rhythm section included drummer Bobby Elliot and bass guitarist Eric Haydock. Bernie Calvert replaced Eric Haydock in 1966. Producer Ron Richards criticized Calvert's bass playing in the liner notes to Epic Records' 20 Song Anthology.
Some of their songs had folk rock elements (e.g., Would You Believe?), and psychedelic influences, Evolution and Butterfly). "If I Needed Someone" (No. 20, 1965), was a George Harrison composition, recorded by The Beatles on Rubber Soul. "King Midas in Reverse" (No. 18, 1967), a Clarke-Hicks-Nash song, was influenced by prevailing trends in psychedelia, with a strings, brass and flute arrangement.
Their albums during this period are like most British bands albums in that the U.S. releases are generally always altered. The Hollies second album "In The Hollies Style"(1964) did not chart and none of it's tracks were released in the U.S.The Hollies third album simply called "Hollies" hit number 8 in the UK in 1965. Their fourth "Would You Believe" made it to number 16in 1966. Released in the U.S. as Hear Here and Beat Group, they failed to crack the top 100. Meanwhile a U.S. Imperial "Bus Stop" album made of songs clipped from earlier albums climbed to #75. The bands first U.S.album to enter the top 100.
While all their albums had original compositions,these were usually listed under the pseudonym L.Ransford. The Hollies released their first album consisting entirely of self penned material in October 1966."For Certain because"(UK #23 1966)was the bands fifth album and the first to feature only compositions by Clarke Hicks Nash. Released in the U.S. as Stop! Stop! Stop! it reached U.S. # 91 and spawned a U.S. release only single "Pay You Back With Interest" which was a modest hit reaching U.S. #28. Another track "Tell Me To My Face" would be covered a decade later by Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg on their "Twin Son's Of Different Mothers" album .
Their next album "Evolution" was released on June 1 1967. It was also their first on their new U.S. label Epic. It reached UK #13 and U.S. #43. The U.S. version included the single "Carrie Anne".It was psychedelic and the sound experiments continued through their next album "Butterfly" released in the U.S. as Dear Eloise/King Midas In Reverse. Neither version charted. It would be the last album that featured Graham Nash, till the 1980's. A Parlophone collection of some of the bands earliest singles was released as "The Hollies Greatest" and went to #1 on the UK charts in 1968.An Imperial "HolliesGreatest Hits" was a # 11 hit in the U.S. a year earlier.
When Nash left in 1968 due to creative differences, in particular over the plan to record a full album of Dylan songs, he joined forces with former Buffalo Springfield guitarist Stephen Stills and ex-Byrds singer David Crosby to form one of the first supergroups, Crosby, Stills & Nash. He was replaced by guitarist-singer Terry Sylvester, formerly of the The Swinging Blue Jeans. This lineup had a hit in 1969 with "Sorry, Suzanne", which reached No. 3 in the UK. In time, too, Sylvester proved a capable substitution for Nash as part of the band's songwriting team.
Their first album in the wake of Nash's departure was "Hollies Sing Dylan" which soared to the number 3 position on the UK chart while the U.S. version "Words And Music By Bob Dylan" was ignored. The next album "Hollies Sing Hollies" didn't chart in the UK, but the U.S. version called "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" included the hit single by the same name and reached U.S. # 32.
The group hit No. 3 again in 1970 with the emotional civil rights themed ballad "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", which featured the piano playing of Elton John. The next single, "I Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top",also featured Elton John's piano playing and hit #7 inthe UK in 1970. The UK hits continued with "Gasoline Alley Bred"(UK #14 1970) and the hard edged rocker"Hey Willy"(UK #22 1971).Band member Allan Clarke briefly left the group in 1971 for a solo career. With the end of their EMI/Parlophone contract they signed with Polydor, and Swedish singer Mikael Rickfors sang on the song "The Baby"(UK #26 1972). Meanwhile EMI had taken a track from their album "Distant Light", which had Clarke on lead vocal and lead guitar, the Creedence Clearwater Revival-inspired song, "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress", as a rival single, reaching #2 in the US and #32 in the UK. Clarke rejoined in 1973 and they 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 #24 1973).
In 1974 they had a UK No. 2 hit and US Top Ten success with the love song "The Air That I Breathe"; it had previously been recorded by Phil Everly on one of his solo albums. It was their last UK hit for over a decade. Subsequent singles like "Son of a Rotten Gambler", "I'm Down", "Boulder to Birmingham", and "Sandy" failed to chart.
In 1980 The Hollies returned to the UK charts with the stirring single "Soldier's Song" which was a mild hit in 1980 reaching number 58 in the UK. They also released an album of Buddy Holly covers aptly named Buddy Holly.In 1981 Calvert and Sylvester left. And The Hollies recorded their own contribution, "Holliedaze", which returned them to the UK Top 30. Nash and Haydock briefly rejoined to promote the record on Top of the Pops. They continued to record and tour throughout the mid-1980s, last hitting the US Top 40 with a remake of The Supremes' "Stop in the Name of Love", which reached #29 in 1983, from the album What Goes Around. A live album featuring the Clarke-Hicks-Elliott-Nash regrouping, Reunion, followed that same year.
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 #1, thus establishing a new record for the length of time between chart-topping singles for one artist of 23 years. By this time bassist Ray Stiles, formerly a member of 1970s chart-topping glam rock group Mud, had joined the permanent lineup. A reissue early in 1989 of "The Air That I Breathe" only made #60. In 1993 another new single, "The Woman I Love", written by Nik Kershaw, reached #42 in the UK.
The Hollies still tour with two original members, Hicks and Elliott. After Clarke's retirement in 1999, he was replaced by Carl Wayne, former lead singer of The Move. Wayne only recorded one song with them, "How Do I Survive", the last (and only new) track on the 2003 Greatest Hits. After his death from cancer in August 2004, he was replaced by Peter Howarth. The Hollies' first new studio album since 1983, Staying Power was released in 2006.
The bridge was taken and retooled from the verse of The Hollies song "The Air That I Breathe" written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood in the 70s to form part of the Radiohead song "Creep". After taking issue, Hammond and Hazelwood now share a small portion of the songwriting credits and royalties.
1962 - 1963
1963 - 1966
1966 - 1968
1968 - 1971
1971 - 1973
1973 - 1974
1974 - 1981
1981 (Appeared on Top of the Pops in 9/81 to promote "Holliedaze")
1981 - 1982
1982 (on record)
1982 (on tour)
1983 (U.S. Summer Tour)
1983 - 1984
1984 - 1986
1986 - 1990
1990 - 1991
1991 - 2000
2000 - 2004
2004 - present