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DistantLight Post subject:
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Quote:
I think that perhaps even one or two self-penned or co-written tracks would help soften the blow for many long-term fans.


Right! It would have shown at least a bit of own creativity and input. If only one or two tracks were selfwritten my view would have changed a lot.
PostPosted:Wed Dec 28, 2005 11:15 am
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Dennis Post subject:
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I see your point. The "Romany" album has exactly two songs written by band members, and it helps convince the listener that there is some songwriting input there, despite the large majority of the tracks being penned by outside writers. A really fine collection of songs. Hopefully the new album (CD? I never know what to call them these days) will contain songs of the caliber of the ones on "Romany", or at least come close.
PostPosted:Wed Dec 28, 2005 20:16 pm
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peterchecksfield Post subject:
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Dennis wrote:
I see your point. The "Romany" album has exactly two songs written by band members, and it helps convince the listener that there is some songwriting input there, despite the large majority of the tracks being penned by outside writers. A really fine collection of songs. Hopefully the new album (CD? I never know what to call them these days) will contain songs of the caliber of the ones on "Romany", or at least come close.


I've just re-read the 1988 'Record Collector' 3-part feature on The Hollies, & there's some interesting comments on Allan's departure / the Rickfors years / Allan's return / Allan's (brief) departure again:

"...By the time 'Distant Light' reached the shops, the Hollies had a new lead vocalist. Allan Clarke recalls: "I saw how well Graham Nash was doing in the states, & thought, I'd like some of that. It wasn't that i felt trapped in the Hollies, but I wanted to try & create something different, that didn't sound like the group. So I approached the rest of the boys with the idea that I should do a solo album. Their reaction, quite rightly, was that if I wanted to make a solo album I should leave the group. I didn't want to leave; I had no idea if I would be successful. But I decided to take the chance, signed to RCA, & made the album 'My Real Name Is 'Arold', which was me stripping myself bare of the past. As it turned out, I think the album cover was better than the album! But I enjoyed doing it, as for the first time I was able to work with other musicians. Then straight after I left, 'Long Cool Woman' was issued as a single in the states, & became an enourmous hit. I rang Epic & asked them when they wanted me to go out on tour to promote the single. They turned me down, & it turned out that the Hollies had a U.S. tour on the strength of the hit. I was bitter about that, because I wanted to be on the road doing that song."

"There we were at No. 1 in the states - with a new lead singer," recalls Bobby Elliott. "It was so unfortunate." The new singer was Mikael Rickfors, from Sweden. "We'd worked with Rickfors in Sweden when he was with Bamboo", Bobby says, "And Tony thought he was good. But it didn't really work out for us. Mikael was a talented lad; he played great bass & lead guitar, & had a strong voice, but he wasn't a frontman in the way Allan was. And not surprisingly he had problems with his English pronunciation." Tony Hicks adds: "That was an interesting period for all of us, & I think we made some good records. The recording side with Mikael was good, though very laborious, because for a Swedish fella, singing in English is more difficult than you might expect." While agreeing that the Rickfors recordings had their moments, Bobby Elliott reckons "That was a bland period for the Hollies"....

...As Tony remembers it, it was Don Ellis (the head of Epic A&R) who suggested that they should ask Allan to rejoin. Allan remembers the background: "I thought there was some good stuff on both 'My Real Name' & my second album, 'Headroom'. But no-one really wanted to know. So i was in the wilderness. I left London & moved back up north, & when I was there, Tony met me for a drink & asked if I'd like to rejoin. I was in two minds, because I still wanted to do solo work. The agreement we made was that I could do what I liked outside the group; but actually, when I went back we had a couple of hits, so the Hollies ended up taking up most of my time." As Tony remembers, Allan rejoining "Was a great relief to all concerned". "It was good to have Clarky back", Bobby adds.

...While the live album soared up the charts, the group cut the 'A Crazy Steal' album, another fine selection of original material. Then, once again, Allan Clarke left the Hollies: "I had a very brief departure", he says, "Because I was writing a lot of songs that were getting knocked back by the group." This time the rest of the band made no attempt to replace him; they simply bided their time & waited for him to return, which he eventually did. But the Hollies didn't record for a full year, & by the time they regrouped in August 1978, they were no closer to finding a commercial comeback.


Interesting, eh? I wish someone like Peter Doggett would write a full biography on the band!

Peter

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PostPosted:Wed Dec 28, 2005 21:37 pm
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Dennis Post subject: Hollies vs. Hollies
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Everybody is entitled to his opinion regarding the various lineups. As for the success or failure of a particular lineup or album, it is all in the way one looks at things. It could be said that the Rickfors lineup had/has a tendency to polarize fans one way or another. I just happened to be of the opinion that it was the most interesting and creative period for the band. "Romany" and "Out on the Road" remain their most listenable albums from start to finish. Free of Ron Richards' presence, these self-produced works show what a band, left to its own devices, can accomplish. As for success or failure, "Romany" made #84 on the Billboard chart in 1973, the 60s on the Record World magazine chart, and got more FM radio play than any other Hollies album. The band had turned into an "album" group, shaking its image of being a hit singles machine. In that sense, The Hollies lived up to their potential at that particular time. I think that is proof enough that it can hardly be called a flop, as someone else on this board said. As for singles, "Magic Woman Touch" made the Top 5 in New Zealand/Australia, the Top 10 in Holland, and the Top 60 in the US. Fast forward to 2005, "Jesus Was A Crossmaker" was the first song heard in a major release film. The "Out on the Road" LP is superb, and its failure to get a UK or US release was an idiotic record label decision, having nothing to do with the quality of the music. The two tracks from it that were re-recorded with Clarke are better with Rickfors singing them. The unreleased track, "If It Wasn't For The Reason", is a hit-that-should-have been. The live show I attended in 1972 was incredible. I have several long-time Hollies buddies who agree with my opinion, with one of them saying to me, "What other band would get a new lead singer and be even better?". What band, indeed?
PostPosted:Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:22 am
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peterchecksfield Post subject: Re: Hollies vs. Hollies
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Dennis wrote:
The live show I attended in 1972 was incredible. I have several long-time Hollies buddies who agree with my opinion, with one of them saying to me, "What other band would get a new lead singer and be even better?". What band, indeed?


Just out of curiosity, did you ever see the band 'live' with Allan?

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PostPosted:Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:29 am
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James Towill Post subject: Re: Hollies vs. Hollies
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Dennis wrote:
The two tracks from it that were re-recorded with Clarke are better with Rickfors singing them.


The instrumental backing is far better on Out On The Road versions of the title track and Transatlantic Westbound Jet, and Rickfors handles the vocals better on TWJ, but I'd say that Clarke is really good at OOTR.

There is certainly the feeling that in the Rickfors era they were an albums band, not trying to chase a single release or record songs by the very commercial writers of the period. Recording songs by Judee Sill and David Ackles really shows how the band had matured by this stage.

Like you say Dennis, it is ridiculous that the OOTR album didn't secure a UK/US release, but with Clarke returning, I can in all honesty see why.

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PostPosted:Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:25 am
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MichealC Post subject:
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I'm a big fan of the Rickfors era. I wouldn't be without it but I also see it is a very interesting diversion. Ultimately I look to the Allan Clarke years.

I would suggest that much of the Rickfors era's limited success was due to Allan Clarke. The reason the Hollies got so much TV and an American tour was Long Cool Woman which Allan co- wrote, sang and played guitar on. Thus with a massive single and so much spin off publicity Romany charted. Without Long Cool Woman would Romany have charted?

Similarly without LCW the Rickfors era would have found the band in the UK with one top thirty hit and their first single not to chart since After The Fox.

And on this LCW issue, Jesus Was A Crossmaker was not the first time a Hollies song got in a major film. Long Cool Woman was in Remember The Titans, Amores Perros and The Longest Yard. All in the 2000s. And He Ain't Heavy was in Zoolander in 2001.

You were at those shows, I wasn't. I've only seen TV footage. He Ain't Heavy is impressive with Rickfors big voice. But would it have become a classic hit? Carrie Anne rocks with the big drum solo but the singing is pretty poor, compare the harmonies to 1976. It doesn't come close. Long Cool Woman? Terry struggles with the song, he hasn't got the commanding voice Allan has. Long Dark Road? Yes, it sort of rocks in a new way for the Hollies, Mikael is very impressive with the ending but Tony's singing? He has to shout "hey" to cover not being able to sing a line properly.

Again I like the Rickfors era it is often very impressive aurally and production wise. OTOTR beats Clarke's version, so does Westbound Jet. I like his solo stuff but I don't think, cool and all as he is, Mikael can't touch Allan Clarke. I think Mikael is cool and has a great voice but Allan Clarke has a sort of indefinable magic that you sometimes get with great bands. Like the way the Beatles are magic, Allan is magic. And was there, he sung on all of those hits with that classic voice which is a big part of pop music history.

Anyhow, to get back to the point, I think were it not for Long Cool Woman the Hollies would not have done very well in '72/'73.

Michael
PostPosted:Thu Jan 05, 2006 18:16 pm
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peterchecksfield Post subject:
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MichealC wrote:
I'm a big fan of the Rickfors era. I wouldn't be without it but I also see it is a very interesting diversion. Ultimately I look to the Allan Clarke years.

I would suggest that much of the Rickfors era's limited success was due to Allan Clarke. The reason the Hollies got so much TV and an American tour was Long Cool Woman which Allan co- wrote, sang and played guitar on. Thus with a massive single and so much spin off publicity Romany charted. Without Long Cool Woman would Romany have charted?

Similarly without LCW the Rickfors era would have found the band in the UK with one top thirty hit and their first single not to chart since After The Fox.

And on this LCW issue, Jesus Was A Crossmaker was not the first time a Hollies song got in a major film. Long Cool Woman was in Remember The Titans, Amores Perros and The Longest Yard. All in the 2000s. And He Ain't Heavy was in Zoolander in 2001.

You were at those shows, I wasn't. I've only seen TV footage. He Ain't Heavy is impressive with Rickfors big voice. But would it have become a classic hit? Carrie Anne rocks with the big drum solo but the singing is pretty poor, compare the harmonies to 1976. It doesn't come close. Long Cool Woman? Terry struggles with the song, he hasn't got the commanding voice Allan has. Long Dark Road? Yes, it sort of rocks in a new way for the Hollies, Mikael is very impressive with the ending but Tony's singing? He has to shout "hey" to cover not being able to sing a line properly.

Again I like the Rickfors era it is often very impressive aurally and production wise. OTOTR beats Clarke's version, so does Westbound Jet. I like his solo stuff but I don't think, cool and all as he is, Mikael can't touch Allan Clarke. I think Mikael is cool and has a great voice but Allan Clarke has a sort of indefinable magic that you sometimes get with great bands. Like the way the Beatles are magic, Allan is magic. And was there, he sung on all of those hits with that classic voice which is a big part of pop music history.

Anyhow, to get back to the point, I think were it not for Long Cool Woman the Hollies would not have done very well in '72/'73.

Michael


Thanks Michael, some very interesting points. This makes me wonder how big The Hollies would've become if Allan had stayed with them for the U.S. Tour & the big U.S. TV shows to follow up 'Long Cool Woman'...

Peter

PS. When did The Hollies next tour the U.S. after Allan's return?

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PostPosted:Thu Jan 05, 2006 18:28 pm
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James Towill Post subject:
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MichealC wrote:
I'm a big fan of the Rickfors era. I wouldn't be without it but I also see it is a very interesting diversion. Ultimately I look to the Allan Clarke years.


Well said. I'm particuarly fond of the 1969 to 1974 period which obviously covered both Clarke and Rickfors as vocalists. As I type, I'm listening to Moving Finger and it's one helluva album. At the chance of sounding like a broken record, it would be great to have a 2CD round-up of the Rickfors years, remastered. COME ON EMI, YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE. Laughing

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PostPosted:Thu Jan 05, 2006 18:54 pm
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DistantLight Post subject:
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Yes, I totally agree with everything that Michael said! Allan definitely had that "magic" of which you speak of!
PostPosted:Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:48 am
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peterchecksfield Post subject:
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DistantLight wrote:
Yes, I totally agree with everything that Michael said! Allan definitely had that "magic" of which you speak of!


I got that 'Reunion' live CD today. Off-key harmonies, inaudible guitars, horrible synthesisers, needless re-arrangements...this certainly won't get as many plays as 'Live Hits', but the one BIG redeeming feature is Allan! If I'd heard the same CD with any other vocalist it just wouldn't be The Hollies.

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PostPosted:Fri Jan 06, 2006 14:20 pm
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chig Post subject:
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I think that's where you differ from a lot of other Hollies fans, Peter. I get the impression that as long as Allan Clarke is singing, nothing else matters. I have no problem with that but a lot of us are fans of The Hollies - whatever the line-up. I agree that Allan had a fabulous voice but you have got to accept that he will never be in The Hollies again. The current line-up has a great sound and I am looking forward to whatever this year and any future years bring. If you want to live in the past that's your choice but don't keep dismissing what's happening now. There are plenty of us who don't post that often but I, for one, feel it's time to put our views forward and start posting positive threads instead of the negative ones that seem to be all that's on the forum at present.

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PostPosted:Fri Jan 06, 2006 20:13 pm
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peterchecksfield Post subject:
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chig wrote:
I think that's where you differ from a lot of other Hollies fans, Peter. I get the impression that as long as Allan Clarke is singing, nothing else matters. I have no problem with that but a lot of us are fans of The Hollies - whatever the line-up. I agree that Allan had a fabulous voice but you have got to accept that he will never be in The Hollies again. The current line-up has a great sound and I am looking forward to whatever this year and any future years bring. If you want to live in the past that's your choice but don't keep dismissing what's happening now. There are plenty of us who don't post that often but I, for one, feel it's time to put our views forward and start posting positive threads instead of the negative ones that seem to be all that's on the forum at present.


It depends the way you see 'negative'. I don't see that praising Allan's singing & seeing him as one of the all-time great vocalists & frontmen as being 'negative'...

He'll always be irreplacable as far as I'm concerned, & I think that some (not all) of the people who easily dismiss him never saw him 'live'.

To clarify, I certainly don't think Allan singing is the only thing that matters, but I do think it's the most important ingredient in any Hollies record, & I won't deny that. Also, the reason I particularly singled out Allan for the 'Reunion' CD is because the others dissapoint in some ways, with Graham sometimes off-key, & Tony not prominent enough (do we really need the classic intro to 'Bus Stop' played on a keyboard?).

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PostPosted:Fri Jan 06, 2006 20:35 pm
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chig Post subject:
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I've no problem with your views about Allan - I've said he had a fabulous voice. I was referring to your comments about the other singers and members of the band, some of which I feel are at best negative and at worst offensive. Allan was only one member of a six piece band and while he had a leading role, the other five were just as important.

You say that some of the people who dismiss him never saw him live, yet_______


Quote:
I'm not so sure that I want to go & see a Clarke-less Hollies in concert, as Allan's voice & charisma was what made the group (I can't help thinking that I'd be seeing a good tribute band rather than the genuine article!). But as I've said, I wish the guys the best luck in the world for 2006, & hope the new material is a big success



This implies you haven't yet seen the current line-up live. You're doing the same thing in dismissing The Hollies 2006 that you say people shouldn't do about Allan because they haven't seen him live.

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PostPosted:Fri Jan 06, 2006 21:14 pm
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peterchecksfield Post subject:
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chig wrote:
I've no problem with your views about Allan - I've said he had a fabulous voice. I was referring to your comments about the other singers and members of the band, some of which I feel are at best negative and at worst offensive. Allan was only one member of a six piece band and while he had a leading role, the other five were just as important.

You say that some of the people who dismiss him never saw him live, yet_______


Quote:
I'm not so sure that I want to go & see a Clarke-less Hollies in concert, as Allan's voice & charisma was what made the group (I can't help thinking that I'd be seeing a good tribute band rather than the genuine article!). But as I've said, I wish the guys the best luck in the world for 2006, & hope the new material is a big success



This implies you haven't yet seen the current line-up live. You're doing the same thing in dismissing The Hollies 2006 that you say people shouldn't do about Allan because they haven't seen him live.


I'm not dismissing anyone elses abilities, & I've said elsewhere that I wish the current line-up the best of luck. But I really don't think I could face seeing & hearing someone else singing 'the hits' live. I'd at least like to see a DVD or hear a live recording beforehand.

I really like a lot of ELO's records. But ELO part 2 (or whatever the current group without Jeff Lynne & Bev Beven is calling itself) are playing 5 minutes from here in the near future, but I'm just not interested. I didn't go to see The Hollies when they toured with Carl Wayne for the same reason. I'd have very gladly gone to see Carl Wayne as a solo act though.

I'm certainly prepared to give the current line-up's recordings a chance, & I may even think they're wonderful. But to me they'll never be The Hollies. I'm not asking other people to think the same way, but this is just how I personally feel.

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PostPosted:Fri Jan 06, 2006 21:24 pm
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