The Most Unforgettable Hits From The Hollies
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The Hollies were one of the greatest pop-rock acts of the ’60s. They went from doing covers to finding their own sound and style. They eventually became known for their three-part vocal harmonies influenced in part by The Everly Brothers. They also evolved as musicians and while they started off by recording songs from outside songwriters, it wasn’t long before they were writing their own.
Founded by Allan Clarke and Graham Nash, they had a series of hits that helped secure their spot as rock ‘n roll icons. Here are five of their timeless tracks:
5. Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)
Although it achieved moderate success in the UK, it was a huge hit in the US. It peaked at #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and sold 2 million copies worldwide. Interestingly, this one’s different from other Hollies songs because of the lack of three-part harmonies. The riff alone is iconic and overall an unforgettable tune but at the time of its release, fans were a bit surprised because it didn’t sound like The Hollies.
4. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
A worldwide hit for the band, they actually had Elton John play piano on this piece. It charted in the US, UK, and several other countries. The song was also offered to Joe Cocker first. According to Hollies guitarist Tony Hicks:
“It had something about it. There were frowns when I took it to the band but we speeded it up and added an orchestra. The only things left recognizable were the lyrics. There’d been this old film called Boys Town about a children’s home in America, and the statue outside showed a child being carried aloft and the motto He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Bob Russell had been dying of cancer while writing. We never got, or asked for, royalties. Elton John – who was still called Reg – played piano on it and got paid 12 pounds. It was a worldwide hit twice.”
3. Bus Stop
It’s their first top ten hit in the US. Written by Graham Gouldman who also penned songs for The Yardbirds, he said:
“You have to be working to make something happen. Occasionally you can wait for some magic, like McCartney waking up with Yesterday already written in his mind, which does happen – it’s like a gift from your own subconscious. Or sometimes, it’s like a tap’s turned on. When I’d written most of ‘Bus Stop,’ I was actually on a bus thinking about how the middle eight should go. And this whole, ‘Every morning I would see her waiting at the stop / Sometimes she’d shop…’ that all came to me in one gush, and I couldn’t wait to get home to try it. When that sort of thing happens, it’s really amazing. But that’s rare. Mostly, you have to do the slog.”
2. Look Through Any Window
From the drumming to the riff and of course the soaring harmonies, this song defined The Hollies. It captured their sound and style.
1. The Air That I Breathe
Originally recorded by Albert Hammond in 1972, The Hollies did their cover two years later and it peaked at #6 in the US and #2 in the UK. It was their last big hit.