Monday, November 26, 2018


The Hollies songwriting team of Allan Clarke, Graham Nash and Tony Hicks (also known as "L. Ransford" on early release credits) began in earnest writing the odd LP and E.P. track and even an A-side once or twice  early in the career but it was not until 1966 that other artists began covering their material more frequently.  With a wealth of covers of their material it was difficult to pick just 10 so here goes..... Enjoy!

1. THE EVERLY BROTHERS-"Hard Hard Year" US LP track "Two Yanks In England" Warner Brothers WS 1646 1966
The Everly's reached out to the Hollies in 1966 for assistance in recording an LP that ultimately would feature 8 Hollies compositions among it's 12 tracks. All of them are stellar interpretations but this version is my fave of the lot with Phil and Don's beautiful vocals pierced by a screaming guitar solo.

2. WHAT FOR?-"So Lonely" US Rampage RR-1701 1966
Hollies covers in the US in the 60's are pretty far and few between so this one is definitely a curiosity. This December '66 version of "So Lonely" turns the somber, down trodden mood of the original into an upbeat/uptempo beat number that's actually enjoyable.

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3. THE LEE KINGS-"Coming From The Ground" Sweden RCA FAS 796 1967
Sweden's Lee Kings had a host of decent 45's (and an LP) behind them before going to England (like The Tages would later do) to cut a record.  "Coming From The Ground" was written and produced by Clarke and Nash (and their distinct backing vocals are clearly audible on the chorus).  It's an incredible track with a gritty solo, brilliant harmonies and above all was never recorded by the Hollies themselves.

4. MARY McCARTHY-"You Know He Did" UK CBS 2832 1967
A big thumbs up to Rob Bailey and N.U.T's gang for unearthing this powerful reading of one of the Hollie's earliest original compositions (which first saw light as a B-side in '65) and placing it on the first (and best in my opinion "Le Beat Bespoke" CD compilation). This version was a B-side of her debut 45 backed by a cool brass n' guitars mesh and a chirpy girl group sound with great harmonies!

5. THE TWILIGHTS-"What's Wrong With The Way I Live" Australia Columbia DO-4764 1967
Australia's Twilights included future Little River Band vocalist Glenn Shorrock and Tina Turner songwriter Terry Britten ("What's Love Got To Do With It" and "We Don't Need Another Hero").  But in the 60's they were tandem vocalists in a shit hot r&b/beat/mod group who took this note for note cover of a "For Certain Because" LP track into the Aussie charts in 1967. It's been stated that the Hollies wrote it for them but in an interview by an acquaintance with Graham Nash in the 90's Graham stated he'd never heard of The Twilights!

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6. NICKY JAMES-"Would You Believe" UK Philips BF 1635 1968
Nicky James was a Brummie associate of the Moody Blues who made a slew of beat and pop psych 45's in the 60's on various labels before singing to the Moodie's Threshold label in the 70's. This cut from the Hollie's LP "Butterfly" was an over the top affair with horns and strings owning more to Gene Pitney than pop psychedelia but still worth a listen.

7. THE YOUNG IDEA-"Peculiar Situation" UK Columbia DB 8132 1967
U.K. pop duo The Young Idea were akin to fellow British acts Twice As Much or Paul and Barry Ryan.  Their stab at this track from the Hollie's "For Certain Because" album did little to deviate from the original save adding strings (care of Arthur Greenslade) and female backing vocals to this ode to the joys of a platonic relationship.

8. PAUL & BARRY RYAN-"Fifi The Flea" UK LP track "Two Of A Kind" Decca LK 4878 1967
Twin brothers Paul & Barry had a go at Graham Nash's poignant ballad "Fifi The Flea" on their incredible debut album "Two Of A Kind" (that saw it sit among covers of tracks by The Yardbirds and The Pretty Things). It works thanks to the addition of somber harpsichord (that sounds both regal and baroque) in place of the original's bare bones acoustic guitar.

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9. DANA GILLESPIE-"Pay You Back With Interest" UK Pye 7N 17280 1967
Buxom U.K. female belter Dana Gillispie tackled this track from "For Certain Because" (and a single in the US for The Hollies!) as her third and final single for the Pye label. It works thanks to its slow burner build up and her phrasing. Compare with other U.K. versions by Paul & Barry Ryan (who did a hefty number of Hollies covers) and The Corsairs.

10. THE SEARCHERS-"Have You Ever Loved Somebody" UK Pye 7N 17170 1966
Along with Paul & Barry Ryan and The Everly's Liverpool's Searchers had a crack at this before The Hollie's version was to surface on the legendary dip into psychedelia "Evolution". Though not as raw as the Hollie's take it's still half decent, thanks in no small part to their vocals and the rough little guitar lick throughout and some kick ass drumming by Chris Curtis recent replacement, the Keith Moon influenced John Blunt.

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