Friday, 13 November 2009

The Hollies: The Nash Years, 1963 - 1968

With the media's continued obsession with The Beatles & (to a lesser extent) Elvis Presley & The Rolling Stones, people tend to overlook other artists from the 50s & 60's. I love those acts too (hence my blog posts on them), but my main purpose of starting this blog was to profile other equally great acts that are all too often ignored. I've already posted lenthy articles on Jerry Lee Lewis, Cliff Richard & The Dave Clark Five, & another of my very favourites are The Hollies.

My own interest in The Hollies started at a very young age. I was born in 1963, & when I was a toddler my parents had a reel-to-reel tape recorder on which they'd tape songs from the radio. The Hollies' 'We're Through' was amongst these, & I can still recall thinking how cool the song was even at that age. Gradually over the years I got to know all of their big hits, thanks both to radio & a "hits" collection which I managed to persuade my mum to give me in the late 70s.

In the early 80s I saw a copy of their 1967 'Evolution' album at a record fair, & as it was cheap (& I liked the cover) I decided to buy it. When I got home I couldn't believe it; why wasn't this album as well-known & highly-praised as The Beatles' 'Revolver' or The Rolling Stones' 'Aftermath'?! Soon afterwards I bought their 1966 album 'For Certain Because', followed over the next year or two by the reissues of all their Graham Nash-era 60s albums, being constantly surprised & thrilled along the way.

I've divided this feature into four sections: The U.K. Singles; The U.K. Albums; Other Recordings; & The Hollies on Film & Video.

Part One - The U.K. Singles:

Please note that none of the U.K. singles from this period originally came in picture sleeves, but to make things more interesting I've used overseas sleeves (for singles, EPs, etc) to illustrate each release (& my apologies for the poor quality of some of these!). I've given singles (both sides) as well as albums my usual marks out of 5.

(Aint That) Just Like Me / Hey What's Wrong With Me
(Parlophone R5030, May 1963) # 25

Their first single (& one of only two to feature original drummer Don Rathbone), (Ain't That) Just Like Me is an enthusiastic cover of a song originally recorded by The Coasters & also covered by The Searchers. The uptempo B side is particularly notable for the speedy guitar picking by Tony Hicks & the strong bass playing by Eric Haydock. A very good debut. 4 / 4

Searchin' / Whole World Over (Parlophone R5052, August 1963) # 12

For their second single they chose another (superior) song by The Coasters, though good as it is, it can't compare to the great original. The gentler B side is notable for some fine harmonica from Allan. 4 / 4

Alternate versions: Searchin' was recorded at two sessions prior to the single take, but these weren't deemed sufficiently good enough for release at the time. An alternate version was inadvertently released on 1988 budget CD 'The Hollies' (the first CD I ever owned) though I don't know whether or not this is from any of the earlier sessions.

Stay / Now's The Time (Parlophone R5077, November 1963) # 8

Now with Bobby Elliott on drums (though the B side is from an earlier session & features Don Rathbone), this is a speeded up version of the Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs classic. Again I prefer the more laid-back original (the fast tempo doesn't really suit this song) though this was strong enough to earn the band their first top 10 U.K. hit. The B side was written by Allan Clarke & Graham Nash & was the first band composition to be released, & was also mimed to in a movie called 'It's All Over Town' (this must've been filmed before the single's release as it features Don on drums, one of only two known surviving clips to feature him). 4 / 4

Just One Look / Keep Off Of That Friend Of Mine (Parlophone R5104, February 1964) # 2

Originally recorded (& co-written) by American R&B singer Doris Troy, this was the record that propelled The Hollies into the big league, up there with the most successful other beat groups. The faster B side was (unusually) written by Tony Hicks & Bobby Elliott. 5 / 4

Here I Go Again / Baby That's All (Parlophone R5137, May 1964) # 4

With a similar style & tempo to the previous single, the A side is another memorable & commercial song with great three-part harmonies, as is the gentler B side. This time both songs were written by outside writers. 5 / 4

We're Through / Come On Back (Parlophone R5178, September 1964) # 7

A change of style this time, with a bluesy acoustic guitar riff & a superb moody vocal sung mostly without harmonies by Allan. The B side has a melody that would be recycled to better effect as Stop! Stop! Stop! a couple of years later. Both songs were written by Clarke-Hicks-Nash under the pseudonym "L. Ransford" as it was easier to fit on record labels! It wouldn't be until late 1966 that they actually started listing Clarke-Hicks-Nash as composers. 5 / 4

Alternate versions: A week before recording the single take, the band cut a more restrained "unplugged bossa nova" version of We're Through. Equally as good as the single though perhaps not as commercial, this was finally issued on the 1997 'The Hollies At Abbey Road, 1963-1966' CD. They also cut a French language version of the song in 1966 but this remains unreleased.

Yes I Will / Nobody (Parlophone R5232, January 1965) # 9

Because We're Through was (albeit slightly) less successful than the previous two singles they reverted back to outside writers again for all A sides until late 1966 (with self composed material on B sides), though as it happens Yes I Will was even less successful. A nice enough song, but it just doesn't have the same immediate impact as most of their other '60's singles & perhaps wasn't the best choice for an A side. The tougher B side is a "L. Ransford" composition. Incidentally those pre-fab four The Monkees recorded Yes I Will as "I'll Be True To You" for their first album in 1966. 4 / 4

Alternate versions: A quite different earlier version of Yes I Will was accidentally released in 1968 on the stereo (only) 'The Hollies' Greatest' LP.

I'm Alive / You Know He Did (Parlophone R5287, May 1965) # 1

A far better song than the previous single & with excellent tremolo guitar from Tony, this was The Hollies' only U.K. number one apart from the 1988 re-issue of He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, knocking Elvis Presley's 'Crying In The Chapel' from the top spot. You Know He Did is another group compostion & is reminiscent of The Kingsmen's 'Louie Louie'. 5 / 4

Alternate versions: A French language version of You Know He Did was cut in early 1966, but this remains unreleased.

Look Through Any Window / So Lonely (Parlophone R5322, August 1965) # 4

Co-written by professional songwriter (& future 10cc man) Graham Gouldman & with a memorable jangling guitar riff, this was another well-deserved big hit. The self-composed flip side is at least equally good, far too good to be hidden away on a B side! 5 / 5

Alternate versions: A French language version of Look Through Any Window was recorded in 1966 & (unlike their other French recordings) this was released on the 'Rarities' album in 1988. A less polished demo version of So Lonely was released on 'The Long Road Home' box-set in 2003.

If I Needed Someone / I've Got A Way Of My Own (Parlophone R5392, December 1965) # 20

By late 1965 pretty much all the first wave of Liverpool & Manchester groups (with one obvious exception) were struggling chartwise, & with this release The Hollies must've thought that their chart career was over too! Their producer Ron Richards apparantly played them a demo of George Harrison's If I Needed Someone & they were assured that The Beatles weren't going to release it. Unfortunately 'Rubber Soul' (containing this song) was released on the same day as The Hollies' single, & with George publicly very critical, it effectively killed it. That said, it's not a bad recording, & they probably did the best they could with what in all honesty isn't a great song (imagine what they could've done with 'Taxman' in 1966 or even 'Don't Bother Me' in 1963!). Far superior is I've Got A Way Of My Own with it's Dylan-ish harmonica & really soaring harmonies. 4 / 5

I Can't Let Go / Running Through The Night
(Parlophone R5409, February 1966) # 2

The final single to feature original bassist Eric Haydock, this superb Chip Taylor song (almost) restored the group back to the top of the charts, with everyone involved no doubt breathing a huge sigh of relief! It was even publicly praised by a Beatle this time with Paul McCartney comparing Graham's high harmony to a trumpet (at least I think it was praise!). The B side can best be described as uptempo country, with some of their best ever harmonies. 5 / 4

Bus Stop / Don't Run And Hide (Parlophone R5469, June 1966) # 5

Also recorded by Herman's Hermits, this is another fine Graham Gouldman song, & became The Hollies' first top ten U.S. hit as well as a smash hit in many other countries around the world. The B side is by "L. Ransford", though after this all group compositions would be credited under their real names. 5 / 4

This was the first single to feature new bassist (& pianist) Bernie Calvert, though John Paul Jones played on the B side.

After The Fox / The Fox-Trot (Not by The Hollies) (U. Artists UP1152, September 1966) Did NOT Chart

From the movie of the same name, this Burt Bacharach & Hal David composition features The Hollies with Peter Sellers. Whilst entertaining enough, I can't imagine the group were too concerned when it failed to chart. 3

Jack Bruce played bass on this single.

Stop! Stop! Stop! / It's You (Parlophone R5508, October 1966) # 2

Apparantly inspired by a real-life incident involving Tony, this very commercial number with electric banjo accompaniment was another deserved big hit, & has remained a concert favourite ever since. The B side is just as good, & both songs are Clarke-Hicks-Nash compositions (as would be all U.K. Hollies singles for the next 18 months or so) & both are featured on 'For Certain Because'. 5 / 5

Alternate versions: A version of Stop! Stop! Stop! with a longer instrumental break was released on 'The Long Road Home' box-set in 2003.

On A Carousel / All The World Is Love (Parlophone R5562, February 1967) # 4

Graham Nash had sung lead vocals on several album tracks prior to this, but On A Carousel featured his first solo lead vocal on an A side, albeit just for the opening bars. The B side is their first psychedelic pop song (though there'd be many more over the coming year), & new boy Bernie really makes his presence felt on this one with his imaginative bass lines. Incidentally all of The Hollies' singles are readily available in stereo mixes (many mixed in stereo for the first time during the '90s), but the stereo All The World Is Love seems to be harder to locate than all the others & is apparantly only available on a scarce German release. 5 / 5

Carrie-Anne / Signs That Will Never Change (Parlophone R5602, May 1967) # 3

Their most adventurous single to date, yet Carrie-Anne with it's steel drums (& Allan, Graham & Tony all taking turns singing verses) still remains intantly commercial & memorable. Although there's no record of an earlier recording by The Hollies, Signs That Will Never Change was recorded several months earlier (along with seven other Hollies compositions) by The Everly Brothers for their 'Two Yanks In England' album. 5 / 4

King Midas In Reverse / Everything Is Sunshine (Parlophone R5637, September 1967) # 18

Their first relative failure in quite some time, it was clearly an error of judgment releasing this as an A side despite it's obvious quality (a bit like The Beatles releasing A Day In The Life as an A side). There were certainly more instantly commercial songs on Butterfly that they could've used instead, such as Dear Eloise, released as a single in many other countries. Everything Is Sunshine is a rather twee Graham Nash song, typical of his compositions at the time. 5 / 4

Jennifer Eccles / Open Up Your Eyes (Parlophone R5680, March 1968) # 7

After the relative failure of the previous single the band played it safe & went for a simple & overtly commercial bubblegum pop sound. It's not that bad really, & they weren't the only act to simplify things during this period (The Beatles did the same with Lady Madonna), but Graham Nash was appalled, & no doubt this was a contributory factor to him deciding to leave the group later in the year. Again (as with Carrie-Anne) all three singers take turns singing lead vocals on the superior B side which combines The Hollies' twin obsessions of schoolgirls & banjos! 4 / 5

Listen To Me / Do The Best You Can (Parlophone R5733, September 1968) # 11

Their first A side to be written by outside composers (with the exception of After The Fox) in three years, this lacked the sense of adventure of their best recordings. As with their previous single the B side is better, & was indeed an A side in it's own right in many territories (which is probably why the foreign sleeve above for Listen To Me features an alternative B side!). 4 / 5

Part Two - The U.K. Albums:

Stay With The Hollies (Parlophone PMC 1220 / PCS 3054, January 1964) # 2

Talking 'Bout You / Mr Moonlight / You Better Move On / Lucille / Baby Don't Cry / Memphis /Stay / Rockin' Robin / Whatcha Gonna Do 'Bout It / Do You Love Me / It's Only Make-Believe / What Kind Of Girl Are You / Little Lover / Candy Man

The Hollies' first album is pretty typical of the era: stage favourites very quickly recorded (largely over two sessions) & based around a hit single. While it compares unfavourably to The Beatles' first album Please Please Me, it's certainly no worse than early albums by Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers & Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas. The biggest problem is that many of the songs are over-familier, with several being covered in greater style by others such as Arthur Alexander's You Better Move On (The Rolling Stones), Dr Feelgood & The Interns' Mr Moonlight (The Beatles), The Contours' Do You Love Me (The Dave Clark Five & Brian Poole & The Tremeloes) & Chuck Berry's Memphis (everyone!). Having said that there are some very fine performances, including Bobby Day's Rockin' Robin (later revived by Michael Jackson), The Everly Brothers' What Kind Of Girl Are You, Roy Orbison's Candy Man (also covered by Brian Poole & The Tremeloes) & the only group original on the album Little Lover (actually a lefover from the earlier sessions with Don Rathbone on drums). Apart from "hits" compilations, this was the biggest hit album of the group's career. 3 out of 5

Alternate versions: An earlier alternate version of Talking 'Bout You was supposedly recorded several months earlier & released on their second EP 'Just One Look', but as far as I can tell the only difference is that Graham's rather shrill harmony vocal is mixed louder.

In The Hollies Style (Parlophone PMC 1235, November 1964) Did NOT Chart

Nitty Gritty - Something's Got A Hold On Me (Medley) / Don't You Know / To You My Love / It's In Her Kiss / Time For Love / What Kind Of Boy / Too Much Monkey Business / I Thought Of You Last Night / Please Don't Feel Too Bad / Come On Home / You'll Be Mine / Set Me Free

With no less than seven "L. Ransford" songs this is a tremendous leap forward since last time, & while none of the originals are quite up to the standard of their singles they're certainly all more than acceptable, particularly Time For Love, Please Don't Feel So Bad, You'll Be Mine & the frantic rhythm 'n' blues of Set Me Free. Of the covers, the powerful medley of Shirley Ellis' Nitty Gritty / Etta James' Something's Got A Hold On Me & Betty Everett's It's In Her Kiss (later revived by Cher under it's original title The Shoop Shoop Song [It's In His Kiss]) are obvious highlights, though the worse track on the album is I Thought Of You Last Night with it's painfully out of tune acoustic guitar(s). Mysteriously this album apparantly failed to chart! 4 out of 5

The Hollies (Parlophone PMC 1261, September 1965) # 8

Very Last Day / You Must Believe Me / Put Yourself In My Place / Down The Line / That's My Desire / Too Many People / Lawdy Miss Clawdy / When I Come Home To You / Fortune Teller /So Lonely / I've Been Wrong / Mickey's Monkey

Despite having less group compositions than the previous album (only 5 this time), every one of them is a big leap forward & far superior to what most of the fast-fading Merseybeat groups were churning out. In particular Put Yourself In My Place, Too Many People & So Lonely are as good as anything anyone else was releasing at the time (& that includes The Beatles!). The stand out covers include Peter, Paul & Mary's Very Last Day (The Hollies' version was a giant hit in Sweden & other countries), The Impressions' You Must Believe Me (also covered by The Spencer Davis Group), & The Miracles' Mickey's Monkey with some great drumming by Bobby. I nearly gave this album 5 out of 5, though a couple of unneccesary (but still competent) covers such as Lloyd Price's Lawdy Miss Clawdy & Jerry Lee Lewis' Down The Line slightly let things down. 4 out of 5

Alternate versions: Fortune Teller was first recorded with Don Rathbone on drums in 1963, but this remains unreleased, as does a version of You Must Believe Me that was cut a few months prior to the released take. See also Look Through Any Window / So Lonely single!

Would You Believe (Parlophone PMC 7008 / PCS 7008, June 1966) # 16

I Take What I Want / Hard, Hard Year / That's How Strong My Love Is / Sweet Little Sixteen / Oriental Sadness / I Am A Rock / Take Your Time / Don't You Even Care / Fifi The Flea / Stewball / I've Got A Way Of My Own / I Can't Let Go

There were only 4 group compositions this time, but Hard, Hard Year (with a distorted guitar solo that's been compared to The Jesus & Mary Chain!), Oriental Sadness, Fifi The Flea & I've Got A Way Of My Own are all absolutely top notch. Some of the stand-out covers this time include Sam & Dave's I Take What I Want, Simon & Garfunkel's I Am A Rock, Buddy Holly's Take Your Time & Peter, Paul & Mary's Stewball. Even Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Sixteen is an inspired performance (check out the guitar & drumming during the solo!). Their first truly great (as opposed to very good) album. 5 out of 5

Alternate versions: A French language version of Stewball was also recorded but remains unreleased, while Take Your Time was re-recorded in far inferior style for the 1980 'Buddy Holly' album.

For Certain Because (Parlophone PMC 7011 / PCS 7011, October 1966) # 23

What's Wrong With The Way I Live / Pay You Back With Interest / Tell Me To My Face / Clown / Suspicious Look In Your Eyes / It's You / High Classed / Peculiar Situation / What Went Wrong / Crusader / Don't Even Think About Changing / Stop! Stop! Stop!

Comprised entirely of Clarke-Hicks-Nash songs, this album is every match for Rubber Soul (much as I think that The Beatles are over-praised there's no doubting that they were usually at least 6 months ahead of everyone else!). Notable songs include Pay You Back With Interest (with it's reverberating piano), Tell Me To My Face (also a small hit for Keith & later revived by Dan Fogelberg), the sad (in the old sense of the word) Clown, the mature lyrics of Peculiar Situation, the smash hit Stop! Stop! Stop! & the orchestrated High Classed. If I've any criticism it's that there's no real rockers this time, but otherwise this is almost flawless throughout. 5 out of 5

Alternate versions: See Stop! Stop! Stop! / It's You single!

Evolution (Parlophone PMC 7022 / PCS 7022, June 1967) # 13

Then The Heartaches Begin / Stop Right There / Water On The Brain / Lullaby To Tim / Have You Ever Loved Somebody / You Need Love / Rain On The Window / Heading For A Fall / Ye Olde Toffee Shoppe / When Your Light's Turned On / Leave Me / The Games We Play

Generally much tougher than the previous album but at the same time even further away from the beat music of 1963-1964, this is very much The Hollies' Revolver. Undoubtedly my favourite album by The Hollies & one of my favourite albums by anybody, it's difficult to choose just a few highlights but here goes; Then The Heartaches Begin (with stinging guitar licks from Tony), Water On The Brain (is that a tabla?), Have You Ever Loved Somebody (a small hit for both The Searchers & Paul & Barry Ryan), Heading For A Fall (with instrumentation that includes both harpsichord & sitar), the quasi-Elizabethan Ye Olde Toffee Shoppe & the instantly commercial The Games We Play (which would've made a great single). The one track that many people don't like is Lullaby For Tim with it's strange "wobbly" vocal sound from Graham but even that somehow fits perfectly on this great, great album. Incidentally Bobby was seriously ill during most of the sessions for this album so most of the songs feature drumming by Mitch Mitchell, Clem Cattini & Dougie Wright. 5 out of 5

Alternate versions: The group recorded Have You Ever Loved Somebody at no less than three previous sessions during 1966, but all of these versions remain unreleased.

Butterfly (Parlophone PMC 7039 / PCS 7039, October 1967) Did NOT Chart

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

If the previous two albums were The Hollies' equivalents of The Beatles' Rubber Soul & Revolver then this is very much their...Magical Mystery Tour! Such is the occasional hit-and-miss nature of the material. There are some wonderful tracks though, particularly Dear Eloise (a hit single in several countries), Try It (a successful combination of trademark soaring Hollies harmonies with way-out psychedelic effects), Step Inside (probably the most commercial song on the album) & Butterfly (a beautiful orchestrated ballad with typically daft 1967 summer of love lyrics). The problem with a couple of the other songs is that they're over-reliant on droning riffs & weird effects (with even weirder lyrics). Fine for The Pink Floyd, but songs like Maker & Elevated Observations aren't really suited to The Hollies (& the less said about Tony's Pegasus the better). The public tended to agree too, with both the album & King Midas In Reverse selling relatively poorly. 4 out of 5

Alternate versions: An early version of Charlie And Fred was attempted during the 'Evolution' sessions but remains unreleased. Allan Clarke re-recorded an epic version of Would You Believe for his 1973 solo album 'Headroom', released under the title 'Would You Believe (Revisited)'.

Part Three - Other Recordings (Released & Unreleased):

In addition to the many alternate versions mentioned above, a number of recordings from this period weren't originally issued in the U.K. on singles or albums. Below is an attempt to list all these, though I have not mentioned the many mono & stereo mixes that are sometimes very different from each other (perhaps someone else can let me know the more significant of these?).


The early sessions featuring Don Rathbone included an additional two songs that aren't mentioned elsewhere in this blog post: a fine rockin' version of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (which I personally prefer to both of their first two A-sides) was first released on 85 budget compilation 'The Hollies', while the less impressive uptempo waltz I Understand was released on the '30th Anniversary Collection' in 1993.

In addition to Stay, Bobby Elliott's debut session with the group produced an excellent version of The Coasters' Poison Ivy, & I suspect that the only reason they decided not to release it at the time is because they'd already recorded & released two songs by The Coasters as A sides. Whatever, it was first released in 1978 on the Australian only 'The Hollies' LP, & an alternate take was released on 'The Hollies At Abbey Road, 1963-1966' in 1997.

The late 1963 sessions for 'Stay With The Hollies' produced just one outtake in Cry Me A River, but this remains unreleased.


During 1964-1966 The Hollies released seven EPs in the U.K., & the first of these (simply titled 'The Hollies') featured two exclusive & excellent beat songs in When I'm Not There & What Kind Of Love.

The summer sessions for 'In The Hollies Style' also produced Party Line & It's Raining Teardrops, both of which remain unreleased.

The first session for 'The Hollies' in November included Larry Williams' R&B standard She Said Yeah which was released for the first time on 'The Long Road Home' box-set in 2003, & Cry Now which remains in the can.


The superb bluesy Honey And Wine was released for the first time on the groups sixth EP 'I'm Alive', though an earlier recording remains unreleased.

During April the group cut a three-song demo session in New York's Bell Studios (their first recordings outside of EMI's Abbey Road studios). The tapes are lost but fortunately Bobby kept acetates, & from these they were released on 'The Long Road Home' box-set in 2003. Listen Here To Me & Bring Back Your Love To Me are both excellent & would've made superb album tracks at the time (the 3rd song from the session was an early attempt at So Lonely & is mentioned elsewhere).

Bobby Day's Little Bitty Pretty One (also recorded by The Dave Clark Five) is a fine outtake from the session that produced Look Through Any Window, & was first released on the 1985 'The Hollies' compilation. They really should've released two albums instead of just one in 1965 (as they did in 1964, 1966, 1967 & 1969), such was the wealth of great material they were recording at the time.

She Gives Me Everything I Want was recorded at the same September session as Stewball & features both Allen & Graham taking turns on lead vocals, an experiment that works surprisingly well. This was first released on the '30th Anniversary Collection' in 1993.

In late September they cut another three song demo session in New York, this time at the Roulette Records studio. Now That You're Gone & Stay Away remain unreleased, but I Can't Get Nowhere With You is absolutely superb, possibly my favourite Hollies outtake! Why this very commercial sounding song wasn't released is beyond me (it would certainly have made a far better A side than If I Needed Someone). Again this was first released on the '30th Anniversary Collection' in 1993.

Finally from 1965 is the haunting You In My Arms featuring a typically great moody vocal from Allan on the verses & a contrasting upbeat vocal from Graham on the middle-eight (or perhaps the 'release' rather than middle-eight is a better description). Recorded at the same session as I've Got A Way Of My Own, yet again this was released on 1993's '30th Anniversary Collection'.


As with most U.K. groups of the 60s (The Beatles & The Rolling Stones included), The Hollies' albums were often recompiled & renamed for the U.S. market. The 1966 'Beat Group' album was one of these, & included one song not released in the U.K. at the time, an unusual uptempo arrangement (based on Herb Albert's version) of A Taste Of Honey. From the same session is an early version of Like Every Time Before. This remains unreleased, but they gave the song to The Everly Brothers in late 1966, & also re-recorded (& released) the song themselves in 1968.


In early 1967 The Hollies appeared at the prestigious San Remo Song Festival, & Non Prego Per Me / Devi Aver Fiducia In Me was the Italian-only single for the event.

Sadly for a group who had such a good reputation as a 'live' band (comfirmed by surviving footage), only four concert recordings from this era have been officially released, & three of them come from an early 1967 Swedish radio broadcast: The Four Tops' Reach Out I'll Be There, Too Much Monkey Business & Stop! Stop! Stop! were all released on 'The Long Road Home' box-set in 2003. I've an audio with several more songs (including a version of Sam & Dave's You Don't Know Like I Know), & while the mix could be better this is still a fascinating glimpse of their live prowess at the time.

Two early outtakes from the 'Evolution' sessions are Green Eyes & You Know Me Babe but these remain unreleased. The very next day Bobby was too ill to make the session (Mitch Mitchell from The Jimi Hendrix Experience played on it instead), so perhaps these were aborted as Bobby was feeling under the weather?

An 'Evolution' outtake that was eventually released is Graham Gouldman's Schoolgirl. Remarkably this wasn't finished at the time, so Tony Hicks overdubbed a lead guitar part on it for the 1998 release 'The Hollies At Abbey Road, 1967-1970'.

We're Alive & Kill Me Quick were featured on the soundtrack for an obscure Italian movie called 'Fai in Fretta ad Uccidermi... Ho Freddo!', & released as a single in that country. Fine though they are, they sound like typical 1965 Hollies songs, quite different to the other more experimental songs they were recording at the time.

The only 'Butterfly' outtake is Ashes To Ashes but this remains unreleased.


The Hollies sadly released no album of new material in 1968, but several fascinating songs were recorded for an aborted project. One song that was released at the time is the beautiful Wings. This was first released in late 1969 on the various artists charity LP 'No One's Gonna Change Our World' (most famous for the first release of The Beatles' Across The Universe). Wings was re-recorded with Terry Sylvester in 1970, but that version remains unreleased. Relax & Tomorrow When It Comes continue the psychedelic pop sound of the 'Butterfly' album, with the former having a phasing effect on Graham's lead vocal. Both remained unreleased until the 1988 'Rarities' collection.

You Were A Pretty Little Girl remains unreleased, as does Marrakesh Express, one of the key songs that Graham took with him to the U.S.A. when he formed Crosby, Stills & Nash a few months later, though apparantly this is little more than a rough backing track with no vocals & is deemed unworthy of release.

In May of 1968 EMI finally taped The Hollies live in concert, at the Lewisham Odeon in London. The results weren't released at the time, & only The Times They Are A-Changin' has been released since, on the 1988 'Rarities' album. The song was re-recorded in the studio (without Graham) a few months later, but that version can't compare with the brilliance of the 'live' cut, & it's a travesty that the full concert is still in the can.

Like Every Time Before is a song The Hollies previously recorded in 1966. That version remains unreleased, but the 1968 cut was released as the German B side to Do The Best You Can.

Another Hollies song that Graham recorded with Crosby, Stills & Nash is the superb Man With No Expression, a song that looks forward to the more 'mature' style that both bands would pursue a little later on. This was first released on the '30th Anniversary Collection' in 1993. CS&N's version (with the alternate title Horses Through A Rainstorm) was recorded in 1969 but also remained unreleased for many years, finally being issued on a 1991 box-set. Fine though this is, it pales in comparison to The Hollies' recording.

Survival Of The Fittest was re-recorded in 1970 & released on the 'Confessions Of The Mind' album, but the 1968 Nash version remains unreleased.

The persistent myth over the years is that Graham left The Hollies because he didn't want to record Bob Dylan songs. The truth is a little more complicated than that though, & certainly he had no problem with recording Blowin' In The Wind, nor performing this & other Dylan songs both on TV & in concert at the time. The song was overdubbed with Terry Sylvester's harmony vocal for the 1969 'Hollies Sing Dylan' album, but the original Nash version was released as a single in some European countries while he was still with the band in 1968.

The band recorded & released (in the U.S.A. only) a version of A Taste Of Honey in 1966; the 1968 re-recording has an identical arrangement except this time it is accompanied by a large orchestra. It remained in the can until the 2003 'The Long Road Home' box-set.

Click here for my The Hollies DVD list!

When I bought 'For Certain Because' in the early '80s, I also came home with their 1975 'Another Night' album: this put me off from further investigating any post-Nash material for many years, as I was so disappointed with it. It's grown on me slightly since & I've gone onto discover some very great later Hollies music (particularly during the 1969-1974 era), as well as some bad & lots of mediocre stuff. But all of this will be covered here in greater detail at a future date!


  1. Good stuff...nice to see all the outtake/unreleased info consolidated in one place. Looking forward to your '70s exegesis & '80s criticisms. [My sole nitpick: Wasn't "What Kind of Girl (Man) Are You" orig. by Ray Charles?]

  2. Thank you. I'm sure you're right regarding Ray Charles, but The Hollies almost certainly based their version on The Everly Brothers' version [likewise I've listed 'Down The Line' as being a Jerry Lee Lewis song as The Hollies clearly based their version on Jerry's 1958 B side to his top 10 hit 'Breathless' rather than the very different Roy Orbison original).

  3. Overall very accurate Peter - Well done !

    a few points...

    Apparently it was George Martin who suggested to Ron Richards The Hollies cut a version of "If I Needed Someone" assuring Ron The Beatles would not be using it as a single - hence the Hollies thought George HAD written it for them as it came from The Beatles own Producer !

    - Ron and Allan Clarke were all for it...but Graham Nash was dead against it...fearing it would make it seem the Hollies needed Beatles songs for hits....which temporarily it looked like...

    The negative comments re the cover & The Hollies by George caught just before going onstage in Glasgow ...and possibly thinking it was all "off the record" (which cost him further royalties...AND greater recognition as a songwriter) stopped the single selling...Harrison later told Hicks he NEVER made those remarks....(presumably embarressed by the whole thing !)....whatever it DID boost Harrison's status as a composer....

    George gave the journalist in question one of his "Glares" at his Marriage press conference just after saying: "I Wish you hadn't said that..."

    Some hate The Hollies "Rocked up" version...others prefer it !

    That controversial cover incident may well have been in Nash's mind later when Hicks suggested doing the "Dylan" album in late 1968....

    You state "Stop Stop Stop" was the first single to feature new Bassist Bernie Calvert - actually Bernie had played bass guitar on "Bus Stop" cut on 18 May 1966....

    so you may want to correct that bit.

    As to Graham Nash being "Appalled" by "Jennifer Eccles" (He Co-wrote it !) - I understand that after "King Midas" was a realative failure....Clarke & Nash decided to come up with a "Joke song"...hence all the "La La La" singalong aspect....taking jennifer from Allan's wife Jeni....and Eccles from Graham's First wife Rose - her maiden name - all as a "Give the Public what they want / expect The Hollies to be"....(Mickie Most's Dartboard pigeon hole) it shot up the Charts....Graham KNEW Most had a valid point (Bands like the Tremeloes, Marmalade, Dave Dee & co, Love Affair, ....later The Sweet, Mud, Pilot, etc would all find likewise)

    Hence Graham knew it was...for him...time to depart the "Pop scene"....nothing against his bandmates personally....he wanted to make more personalised music...

    Graham's "To think I gave up a white suit for this..." remark to CSNY audiences is seen by some people (who chose to think the worst of Nash) as being a BIG SLUR on The Hollies....however I believe he was really referring to his shedding of HIS OWN "Pop Star" image.....

    Cat Stevens also does likewise reflecting back with his song "Pop Star" in 1970.....

    ...and hence John Lennon's lyric: "I Don't Believe in...Beatles" in his song "God"

    A very good blog Peter !


  4. Thanks very much for all this Gee, all fascinating stuff! Re: Bus Stop, I was confusing this with the B side, & I've now corrected it.

  5. Re The Hollies Bass player situation in Late Spring 1966....Eric Haydock had begun to miss gigs for whatever reason ...they even played the Locarno, Stevenage on 11 May 1966 without any Bass guitarist while the gig at Streatham Locarno booked for 19 May 1966 was duly cancelled...

    We can only guess the "goings on" behind the scenes at that time.....but Eric never appeared for the London Palladium show on 15 May 1966 with Klaus Voorman standing in...Klaus had also played Bass for The Hollies UK Radio for BBC at Maida Vale on 13 May 1966

    Bernie "stood in" for the "Bus Stop" Recording on 18 May....and after going back to his factory job, then was called up to help them out on a short Scandinavian Tour

    - A promo video of them doing "I Can't Let Go" & "I've Got A Way of my Own" (on the waterfront) exists where Nash refers to: "Our Friend Bernie is standing in for a Sick Eric back in Manchester..."

    I understand the Hollies had in fact lined up Klaus Voorman as replacement bassist for Eric Haydock....hence the TV & Radio spots...however Manfred Mann made Klaus a better offer....thus they then turned to old "Dolphin Days" mate Bernie...who could also play keyboards...

    Some cynically believe Tony Hicks "Engineered" the arrival of his old Ex-Dolphin pals...first Bobby, then Bernie...into The Hollies..yet it seems Bernie was NOT in fact their first choice...and had Manfred not snapped up Klaus he would have become a full time Hollies member...

    Just behind Klaus & Bernie on The Hollies shortlist...was Bassist / Vocalist Mike Gregory of The Escorts....however as Bernie could also play keyboards (their music was getting more complex then) & was an old easy going friend, plus they didn't really need a further vocalist....Calvert duly got the nod.

    Mike Gregory later left The Escorts in early Replace his Ex-colleague & friend Terry Sylvester in The Swinging Blue Jeans...when Terry joined the Hollies !

    John Paul Jones...who nearly got The Shadows job in 1963 which went to John Rostill...was a Top Sessionman & Arranger at that time (Everlys, Alma Cogan, Cat Stevens, Herman, etc) ...hence he played Bass on "Don't Run and Hide" on 17 May 1966 purely to help the Hollies out...and later of course was rather famous in Led Zep !


  6. Thanks again Gee...& those promo videos are from 'Popside' (Swedish TV), mentioned on my list above!

  7. I enjoyed this! I love the Hollies during this time period.

    In The Hollies Style is my favorite album by these guys...the originals are superb and they are on par with what The Beatles or any other group was doing at the time.

    I get really bothered when I see the names of the unreleased tracks (they look so good!), but they weren't included in the box set! It's just frustrating. I wish EMI or somebody would put out a single disc with all the unreleased tracks and outtakes.

  8. Hi Peter,
    I'll have to check to see when the date is, but I'm pretty sure The Hollies were on The Red Skelton Show, too. I don't know anybody with copies of it, but I'm sure I saw it listed in one of my old TV Guides. I'm almost certain it was late 1965 or sometime in 1966.

  9. I'm sure they were Gary, but my list is ONLY of clips currently circulating amonsgt fans (both officially & unofficially!). They certainly did other TOTPs appearances to promote 'Stay' & 'King Midas In REverse' for example.

  10. Brilliant stuff. The Hollies '66-'67 stuff is highly underappreciated!

  11. Hi from Prague, Czech Republic

    great work Pete. Few more details:
    1) there are two versions of "Like Everytime Before" - "Rarities" version got different guitar work than version on the "Anniversary Collection", I'm not sure which one is the original German SP version

    2) I noticed also two differences between mono and stereo versions - "Little Lover" got different guitar intro and "Too Many People" got totally different end

    Sorry for my strange English ;-)

  12. Peter,

    noticed your 8 dvd set collection on elevated observatrions with great interest. I'm a great hollies fan and saw them here in australia in 71,73,76, 83 and 87. Ive got the BBC69 inconcert show on DVD, the nash years on dvd and the dutch collection on DVD. Would love to get the 8 dvds you have, would like to buy them from you. OR if not possible as you are looking for trades, could you put me in touch with someone that I can get them from.... regards Larry S.

  13. They're NOT for sale, but contact me privately & we'll see if we can arrange something : )

  14. Didn't Clarke, Nash and Hicks write Baby, That's All?

    1. A quick google says it was written by "Chester Mann" (or "Chester - Mann").

    2. This was another name used by Clarke Hicks & Nash as was Ransford. in the early days.

  15. Does anyone have a point of contact for Steve Christopher, who was the drummer with Eric Haydocks band - "Erics dog", please