The Hollies were one of the best British groups around in the sixties. This anthology attempts to cater for the whole world by including songs that were hits in a variety of different countries. Clearly a lot of research went into the track selection, though a third CD would have been required to do the job comprehensively. Stewball (a huge hit for Peter Paul and Mary elsewhere) was a huge Swedish hit for the Hollies but is not included here. Two minor American hits (Another night, Do the best you can) are also missing, as are minor hits from some other countries.
Despite those omissions, this is an undeniably strong compilation. Of course, their biggest successes were in their home country, where their long list of big hits includes I'm alive, Sorry Suzanne, On a carousel, Look through any window, The air that I breathe, Carrie Anne, He ain't heavy he's my brother, Bus stop, Jennifer Eccles, Just one look and Yes I will. Of these, Just one look is a cover of a song that had been a huge American hit for Doris Troy.
The big UK hits are not the only ones worth hearing. If I needed someone and King Midas in reverse were, by their standards, modest hits but still wonderful. The generally less successful seventies are also well represented, not only by The air that I breathe (first recorded a year earlier by Phil Everly – yes, really), but by Long cool woman in a black dress, Gasoline alley bird and Boulder to Birmingham (a cover of an Emmylou Harris song). A new recording completes the set.
This is as good a collection of Hollies music as you are ever likely to find. If you enjoy British sixties pop music, you will find much to enjoy here.
on 23 November 2007
THIS 2 CD ALBUM IS QUITE SIMPLY JAM PACKED WITH BRILLIANT SONGS. OK SURE THERE ARE A COUPLE OF TRACKS THAT I SKIP THROUGH BUT THERE ARE ON NEARLY EVERY CD I OWN. WHEN YOU LISTEN TO IT YOU WILL BE SUPRISED HOW MANY TIMES YOU SAY " OH I LOVE THIS SONG BUT I DIDNT KNOW IT WAS THE HOLLIES WHO SUNG IT". I AM ONLY 29 AND A BIG HOLLIES FAN BUT YOU WOULD BE SUPRISED HOW MANY PEOPLE MY AGE HAVE BORROWED THIS CD AND NOT WANTED TO GIVE IT BACK. THERE ARE A LOT OF HOLLIES BEST OF AND GREATEST HITS PACKAGES OUT THERE BUT THIS IS WITHOUT DOUBT THE BEST AND MOST COMPREHENSIVE. HOWEVER THIS ALBUM DEALS WITH MAINLY SINGLES AND B SIDES. DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR WORK YOUR WAY THROUGH THE ALBUMS TO DISCOVER MORE GEMS OR SIMPLY TREAT YOURSELF TO THE LONG ROAD HOME 4OTH ANNIVERSARY BOXSET WHICH HI-LIGHTS THE BEST ALBUM TRACKS. GO ON DISCOVER OR RE-DISCOVER THE MAGIC OF THE BAND STILL PERFORMING THEIR WAY THROUGH A HEAVY TOUR SCHEDULE 43 YEARS ON, THERE IS DEFINATELY SOME MAGIC THERE.
on 26 March 2004
Having seen the Hollies play in Belfast in February 2004 and having had previous "Greatest Hits" on both vinyl and cassette, I can honestly say this is one of the best albums I have ever bought. I know there are some tracks not included but this is compensated by the songs on the double CD. These Cds contain all the hits. If you like the Hollies buy this - I will have it worn out it's been played so much.
What I always loved about the Hollies - and what first hit you between the ears - were the vocals of Allan Clarke. He sounded thrilled to be singing, as if the physical act of doing so excited him, from gut to throat.
Another hallmark of the Hollies sound was the crisp, inventive drumming of Bobby Elliott. Several of their many hits begin with one of his distinctive drum riffs, either a beat or two (Yes I Will, Just One Look) or something more (We`re Through, Listen To Me) and then the fun starts!
Then there`s Tony Hicks, arguably rivalled only by George Harrison as an endlessly resourceful and melodic pop guitarist. Like the Beatle, his guitar fills can be like crafted mini-songs in themselves. Listen to We`re Through, for example.
The other quality that set the Hollies apart in their 60s/70s heyday was their unmistakeable trio harmony singing, instinctive and close but refreshingly abandoned and often abrasive too, first with Graham Nash taking the high vocal, to be replaced by smoother-voiced Terry Sylvester when Nash left for pastures new and different harmonies...
And then there were the songs.
For me back then, each new single (they weren`t really so much of an `album band`) was as much of an event as a new Beatles 45. I`ll never forget being on tenterhooks when I`m Alive climbed slowly but surely to No 2 in the charts - in the days when the charts seemed to matter - and then, yes! It made the top spot: their first Number 1. To this fourteen year-old it was as if the whole country was celebrating.
(It`s only rock`n`roll? Don`t you believe it!)
The Hollies had more hits than almost any other group of their era, many of them reaching the Top Ten. All are here in this comprehensive two-disc compilation, very sensibly programmed so that it isn`t boringly chronological.
We begin, appropriately enough, with I`m Alive. Among the following forty-six tracks are such classic Hollies gems as the urgent Here I Go Again, the unusual King Midas In Reverse, jaunty but lyrically downbeat Look Through Any Window, the Everlys cover and by now a Hollies standard The Air That I Breathe, early hits Stay and Searchin` (the latter the first one I bought), the brilliantly dramatic I`m Down, the superb I Can`t Let Go (a No 2, though a No 1 in some charts), the joyous Stop Stop Stop, the magnificent I Can`t Tell The Bottom From The Top, the poppy Bus Stop, the wonderful Listen To Me and Hey Willy, the Doris Troy hit Just One Look, Chip "Wild Thing" Taylor`s excellent Son Of A Rotten Gambler, the sweet The Woman I Love, and the immortal Yes I Will, possibly my favourite ever Hollies song.
Also here are terrific versions of Springsteen`s beautiful Sandy and the equally compelling Boulder To Birmingham by Emmylou Harris, both of which are well suited to their sound. We get a few choice LP tracks, along with two good later singles, the very enjoyable Daddy Don`t Mind and the ambitious Soldier`s Song, plus Clarke`s `reply` to their previous hit Long Cool Woman, the even better Curly Billy. It`s a corker.
I never much liked On A Carousel, or their pointless cover of the Beatles` If I Needed Someone (a Harrison song - he didn`t like their version either, I recall).
Clarke left the group for two years in the early seventies, and the results were none too pretty, and when he finally retired the now-late Carl Wayne (of the Move) took over, though that didn`t seem to lead to much of worth either. Like Little Feat or the original Fleetwood Mac they were a band whose sound was inextricably linked to their first and best singer, in this case the thrillingly-voiced and irreplaceable Allan Clarke.
These songs - well, most of them - are dear to me. The Hollies were one of the greatest pop groups of their age, and this is the perfect introduction to them.
I`ll be true to you
Yes I will
Every dream that you have
The 'Hollies' were without question one of the quality outfits of the sixties into
the early seventies.
The Group actually released sixty seven singles along with countless albums
which is an indication of just how significant the group were.
There first release in 1963, (Ain't That) Just Like Me' crept into the U.K Top 30
at number 25' the song that really launched their chart career again released in
63' was 'Stay' which was indeed their first Top Ten Hit, reaching number '8' it
was certainly the song that caught my attention back then.
There 'Chart' career lasted around eleven years in all, they achieved Twenty Six
Top Thirty Entries during the eleven year spell, sixteen of those numbers were
Top - Ten entries, surprisingly only two of their tracks actually topped the chart,
those being - 'I'm Alive' (1965) and 'He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother' (1969)
Their final Chart Hit during that eleven year spell was 'The Air That I Breath' (1974)
which peaked at number '2' ( deserved better in my opinion)
The group also had many Hits world-wide including several 'Billboard 100' entries
six of which reached the U.S Top Ten.
Among some of the other great memories on offer on this splendid 2-Disc Set......
On Disc One......'Here I Go Again'.......'Look Through Any Window'.......'Carrie Anne'
'Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress'.......'Sop Stop Stop'......and.......'I Can't Tell
the Bottom from The Top'.......just a few of their many well known numbers on-board
Dis One.....On Disc Two......'Bus Stop'.......'Jennifer Eccles'.......'The Day That Curly
Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee' ( Must qualify for one of the longest song titles ?
'Just One Look'......'Yes I Will'.......and.......'How Do I Survive'.......just a few of the many
well remembered tracks on Disc Two.
'The Hollies' recorded many all-time favourites, their harmonies among some of the best
around during that time.
They are, for me, and I'm sure to many fondly remembered, this 2-CD collection houses
many of their best remembered releases......a great collector's item.
on 15 April 2010
When our three youngest children were small, we purchased a tape of Hollies Greatest Hits which we played over and over again in the car whilst we were on holiday. By the time we returned two weeks later, the children knew all the songs off by heart, even though the group were from a different era. The tape wore out years ago, so it was a delight to discover this double CD album with 46 tracks that include all of their hits. There are one or two numbers I haven't heard and a couple that I do not like, but having said that I would recommend this to any young person wanting to discover some more quality stuff of the sixties, other than the Beatles and Stones. Incredible value.
With 47 tracks, this is a genuine 'Greatest Hits' album, and if you want one sprig of Hollies in your collection, this is the one to pick.
The insert notes incorporate the excellent idea of pictures of every lineup (a dozen) over the years, with names to let you know who's who. In every picture, from 1963 to 2003, Tony Hicks looks just the same! There are also track listings that tell you at least as much as you want to know (Jennifer Eccles reached number 2 in Malaysia).
The group is still going, albeit with no original members apart from the ageless Hicks, although Bobby Elliot is almost original. Actually, the lineup has changed less frequently than most perennial groups but for me, Alan Clarke was the essential member, and in his brief absence in the 70s and since his retirement, they are The Hollies in name only. Clarke's singing is their trademark. Graham Nash got more attention, because of his later association with Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young). But Nash was never a great singer, in either group.
The Hollies are light and frothy and poppy, but musically good nonetheless. They are very derivative. They are an amalgam of The Everly Brothers and the early Beatles. It is no surprise to see that many of these tracks were recorded at Abbey Road, including a George Harrison song, If I Needed Someone. Their lack of seriousness is most plainly heard in their kitsch, big-band swing version of Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind, which has to be heard to be believed. But they are great fun and very listenable. And let's not forget that He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother is one of the very greatest popular songs ever. That particular song absolutely has to be in your collection.
on 8 August 2014
The sound quality of this double CD is excellent and offers a good overall selection of the Hollies early and later hits, many written by themselves. It shows that this band could rock with the best of them or move you to tears - their diversity is truly amazing. Some of the later songs I have found particularly refreshing as I lived and worked abroad for many years and lost touch with the music scene. Personally, although I enjoyed their earlier pop songs, I much prefer the post-Nash years when Terry Sylvester joined the band. His superb, close harmony is second to none, plus as an accomplished musician he took on the role of rhythm guitar - a great complement to Tony Hicks’ amazing guitar skills. Worthy of particular mention on CD 1 are Magic Woman Touch, Sandy, I’m Down and Gasoline Alley Bred (a great up-tempo piece).
CD2 contains the beautiful From Boulder to Birmingham which, for me, is the definitive version. There are those who will disagree in favour of EmmyLou Harris (who co-wrote the song), but the Hollies tight harmony, particularly in the closing bars of the song between Terry Sylvester and Tony Hicks, is absolute perfection. A performance of this song is featured on the Dutch Collection DVD – worth buying for this alone! Other lovely ballads of note are Lonely Hobo Lullaby and rock-ballad Write On, and the slow rock Son of a Rotten Gambler. In total contrast, we have the rockin’ numbers The Day That Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee, Hey Willy (featuring some fantastic guitar work by Tony) and Star. Sadly, the brilliant Daddy Don’t Mind is somewhat subdued on this CD – catch the raunchy live version on the Dutch Collection DVD or on YouTube – it’s an amazing ‘powerhouse’ performance!
Less memorable (for me) are How Do I Survive, Searchin’ and the awful Jennifer Eccles.
Whilst they had some of their greatest hits in early 1970s, the Hollies developed and matured and were not afraid to diversify from their original happy pop sound. This period saw some of their best work. Unfortunately, this was not appreciated by the public, the media or their promoters as it should have been, certainly not in the UK and USA – to their shame!
In conclusion, a useful anthology of the songs, composers and recording dates is included. This bargain-priced CD is a must for Hollies fans, old and new, and given the fast delivery and quality packaging, you really can’t go wrong.
on 30 May 2011
The Hollies were always a classy, professional act with beautiful three-part harmonies. This double CD offers exceptional value with all the hits that you could possibly want at a sensationally modest price. The songs cover their entire career. Perhaps I would have preferred them in chronological order - but I am being fussy.
The sound is excellent, and this package provides a good all round introduction to one of the longest running bands in the business. Buy it!
on 2 June 2010
Bought on a whim and was very impressed with the content and quality. Would definitely recommend it for any fans of The Hollies or maybe someone who has not heard them before.