Formed Manchester 1963 from nucleus ofband called The Deltas. Original line-up of Clarke, Hicks, Graham Nash (gtr), Eric Haydock (bs), and Don Rathbone (drms), though latter left later that same year to be replaced by Bobby Elliott.
In this form became Britain’s most consistently successful chart act with sole exception of Beatles; had sequence of twenty-one Top 20 hits.
Chose each single with especial care, had in Clarke a strong and distinctive yocalist, and in Nash an inimitable harmony vocalist. Took their material from U.S. R & B catalogue, and initially offered bastardized versions of The Coasters’ (Ain’t That) Just Like Me and Searchin’, Maurice Williams And The Zodiacs’ Stay, and Doris Troy’s Just One Look. Hits like Here I Go Again, Yes I Will, Bus Stop (written by Graham Gouldman, later of IOCC), and I’m Alive – their only No. I – kept them at the top through the mid-sixties.
In 1966 Haydock left to be replaced by Calvert and the band moved uneasily into Summer Of Love; though faultless with simple pop material, they wanted to be successful as albums artists, or even to make their singles less lightweight.
Thus their albums of this period (4), (5), and (6) were more self-consciously ambitious, and certainly creditable, but they failed to establish The Hollies as a serious band, and similarly their ‘worthy’ single King Midas In Reverse was relative failure, both commercially and critically.
Nash took this particularly hard, and left group in 1968-partly because of King Midas disappointment, partly because he was upset at Hollies’ plans to record album of Dylan songs, (7), and partly because he wanted to record more substantial material. He joined forces with Crosby and Stills and became a superstar and a millionaire, though whether he recorded weightier material is a matter of opinion.
Nash’s replacement was Sylvester, ex-Swinging Blue Jeans, and band resumed wooing the singles market, though to their credit tried always to introduce fresh ideas.
By 1971 band was at low ebb and Clarke left to pursue solo career, and Swedish singer Michael Rickfors was drafted in; Clarke returned to fold when single he had cut with band, Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress, gave them U.S. No. 1 – though ironically became first miss in Britain. With Clarke back as vocalist, band signed new contract with Polydor, and first single, The Air That I Breathe, became million-seller. Band remains one of most professional outfits in business.
(1) Stay With The Hollies (Parlophone 1964)
(2) In The Hollies Style (Parlophone 1965)
(3) Would You Believe? (Parlophone 1966)
(4) For Certain Because (Parlophone 1966)
(5) Evolution (Parlophone 1967)
(6) Butterfly (Parlophone 1967)
(7) Hollies Sing Dylan (Parlophone 1968)
(8) Hollies Sing Hollies (Parlophone 1969)
(9) Confessions Of The Mind (Parlophone 1970)
(10) Distant Light (Parlophone 1971)
(11) Romany (polydor 1972)
(12) The Hollies (Polydor 1974)