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clowns, lullabies and butterflies

hedgehogs and mad hatters
you can all join in
for the benefit of mr. kite
Incredible String Band
the song has no ending
Eric Clapton
Fairport Convention
liege & lief
i can ride my bike around the room
Mabel Greer's Toyshop
signs and wonders
the 14 hour technicolour dream
John Peel
clowns, lullabies and butterflies
El Pea
Burnin' Red Ivanhoe
A Gift From A Flower To A Garden
Family: Music In A Doll's House

Three Albums By The Hollies


Formed in Manchester in 1962 by childhood friends Allan Clarke (b. 15 April 1942, Salford, Lancashire, England; vocals), and Graham Nash (b. 2 February 1942, Blackpool, Lancashire, England; vocals/guitar), and named after the late
 Buddy Holly. They had already been singing together locally for a number of years as a semi-professional duo under a number of names such as the Guytones, the Two Teens and Ricky And Dane. They enlarged the group by adding Eric Haydock (b. 3 February 1943, Burnley, Lancashire, England; bass) and Don Rathbone (drums), to become The Fourtones and then The Deltas.

Following the recruitment of local guitar hero Tony Hicks from the Dolphins (b. 16 December 1943, Nelson, Lancashire, England) they became the Hollies. Almost immediately they were signed to the same label as the Beatles, the prestigious Parlophone. Their first two singles were covers of the Coasters' '(Ain't That) Just Like Me' and 'Searchin''. Both made the UK charts and the group set about recording their first album. At the same time Rathbone left to become their road manager and was replaced by Bobby Elliott (b. 8 December 1942) from Shane Fenton (Alvin Stardust) And The Fentones. The group's excellent live performances throughout Britain had already seasoned them for what was to become one of the longest beat group success stories in popular music.

Their first two albums contained the bulk of their live act and both albums became long-time residents in the UK charts. Meanwhile, the band was enjoying a train of singles hits that continued from 1963-74, and their popularity almost rivalled that of the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Infectious, well-produced hits such as Doris Troy 's 'Just One Look', 'Here I Go Again' and the sublime 'Yes I Will' all contained their trademark soaring harmonies. The voices of Clarke, Hicks and Nash combined to make one of the most distinctive sounds to be heard in popular music.

As their career progressed the aforementioned trio developed into a strong songwriting team, and wrote most of their own b-sides (under the pseudonym 'L. Ransford'). On their superb third collection, Hollies in 1965, their talents blossomed with 'Too Many People', an early song about over-population. Their first UK number 1 came in 1965 with 'I'm Alive' and was followed within weeks by Graham Gouldman 's uplifting yet simple take 'Look Through Any Window'. By Christmas 1965 the group experienced their first lapse when their recording of George Harrison 's 'If I Needed Someone' just scraped the UK Top 20 and brought with it some bad press.

Both the Hollies and John Lennon took swipes at each other, venting frustration at the comparative failure of a Beatles song. Early in 1966, the group enjoyed their second number 1, 'I Can't Let Go', which topped the New Musical Express chart jointly with the Walker Brothers''The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore'. 'I Can't Let Go', co-written by Chip Taylor, had already appeared on the previous year's Hollies and was one of their finest recordings, combining soaring harmonies with some exceptionally strong, driving guitar work.

The enigmatic and troublesome Eric Haydock was sacked in April 1966 and was replaced by Hick's former colleague in the Dolphins, Bernie Calvert (b. 16 September 1942, Brierfield, Lancashire, England). The Hollies success continued unabated with Graham Gouldman's 'Bus Stop', the exotic 'Stop! Stop! Stop!' and the poppier 'On A Carousel', all UK Top 5 hits, and (at last) became major hits in the US charts. The Hollies were quick to join the 'flower power' bandwagon, as a more progressive feel had already pervaded their recent album, For Certain Because, but with Evolution, their beads and kaftans were everywhere. That same year (1967) the release of the excellent Butterfly showed signs of discontent.

Inexplicably, the album failed to make the charts in either the UK or the US. It marked two distinct types of songs from the previously united team of Nash/Clarke/Hicks. On one hand there was a Clarke-influenced song, 'Charley And Fred', and on the other an obvious Nash composition like 'Butterfly'. Nash took a more ambitious route. His style was perfectly highlighted with the exemplary 'King Midas In Reverse', an imaginative song complete with brass and strings. It was, by Hollies standards, a surprising failure (UK number 18). The following year during the proposals to make Hollies Sing Dylan, Nash announced his departure for Crosby, Stills And Nash. His replacement was Terry Sylvester of The Escorts.
- Encyclopedia of Popular Music.
Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 1998 


October 1966. Hear the entire album here


1. Stop Stop Stop
2. What's Wrong With The Way I Live
3. Pay You Back With Interest
4. Tell Me To My Face
5. Clown
6. Suspicious Look In Your Eyes
7. It's You 
8. Peculiar Situation
9. What Went Wrong
10. Crusader
11. Don't Even Think About Changing
12. High Classed

Evolution June 1967 Listen to the whole album here

1. Then The Heartaches Begin
2. Stop Right There
3. Water On The Brain
4. Lullaby To Tim
5. Have You Ever Loved Somebody
6. You Need Love
7. Rain On The Window
8. Heading For A Fall
9. Ye Olde Toffee Shop
10. When Your Light Turned On
11. Leave Me

12. The Games We Play

October 1967

1. Dear Eloise
. Away Away Away
. Maker
. Pegasus
. Would You Believe
. Wishyouawish
. Postcard
. Charlie And Fred
. Try It
. Elevated Observations?
. Step Inside
12. Butterfly

an essay by Andy Morten
on The Hollies in the late sixties

 layers of the onion is
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