Archive for The Hollies

Rock Moment: The Day The Music Died

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by 30daysout

Repost: Published in 2009, still of interest today.


To this day, people still mourn the musical talent who died in a plane crash in the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 1959.  A small airplane, carrying rock stars Buddy Holly, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens, crashed only minutes after taking off from Mason City, Iowa, in a snowstorm.

The three had just played the “Winter Dance Party” and were heading to the next stop in Fargo, North Dakota.  Richardson was 28, Valens was 17, and Holly was only 22 years old.   Richardson, from Beaumont, Texas, was already a proven commodity with not only his own hits, but songs buddyhollyhe wrote – “Running Bear” for Johnny Preston and “White Lightning” for George Jones – becoming hits as well.  Valens influenced such later acts as Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys and was the subject of a 1987 hit movie.

But perhaps the greatest loss was Buddy Holly – he was certainly one of the most original musicians ever, and a monumental talent in rock and roll.  In only two short years he had grown powerful enough to control everything he wrote and recorded and at the time of his death he was planning to produce music for other artists as well as his own.  Holly was the iconic rocker, the first to perform as the leader of his own band and the first to employ the now-standard singer/guitarist/bassist/drummer lineup.

If he had lived, perhaps Holly would have faded away or would have deteriorated like Elvis into a paunchy embarrassment playing Vegas casinos.  But I don’t think so.  You see what Buddy Holly could have been when you look at great artists who have survived and thrived over decades – artists with great integrity like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.

Even though he had a relatively short musical career, and even though he was only 22 years old at the time of his death, and more than 50 years after his plane nosedived into a snowy Iowa cornfield, Buddy Holly remains one of the most important artists ever in rock and roll.

YouTube: Buddy Holly & the Crickets performing “Peggy Sue” in 1957

MP3: “Rave On” by Buddy Holly

MP3: “Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets

YouTube: “American Pie” by Don McLean

MP3: “Buddy Holly” by Weezer

YouTube: “Rock Around With Ollie Vee” from The Buddy Holly Story biopic

Je n’ai rien appris – English hits in other languages

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2011 by 30daysout

Here we have a bunch of American and British hit singles, with the original artists, re-cut in foreign languages. Why did the world’s biggest artists feel the need to re-record their hit songs with vocals in different languages? To sell more records, of course.

Don’t worry – people like Johnny Cash didn’t know German, or the Police didn’t speak Japanese. They got their song lyrics translated and sang them phonetically. God knows what kind of job they did – if you speak French or German or Japanese, let us know.

MP3: “Fuego d’Amor” (Ring Of Fire)  by Johnny Cash (Spanish)

MP3: “Ring Ring” (German version) by ABBA

MP3: “Oui Tu Es Mon Ami” (Sweet City Woman) by the Stampeders (French)

MP3: “Jennifer Juniper” (Italian version) by Donovan

MP3: “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da” (Japanese version) by the Police

MP3: “Ganz Allien” (In My Room) by the Beach Boys (German)

MP3: “Regardez Par Des Fenetres” (Look Through Any Window) by the Hollies (French)

MP3: “Si No Estas Tu” (Without You) by Harry Nilsson (Spanish)

MP3: “Warten Und Hoffen” (Wishin’ and Hopin’) by Dusty Springfield (German)

MP3: “Con Le Mie Lacrime” (As Tears Go By) by the Rolling Stones (Italian)

MP3: “Francene” (Spanish version) by ZZ Top

MP3: “Geh Raus” (Get Back) by the Beatles (German)

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Psychedelic Relics, Part 2

Posted in Lost Classics!, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2010 by 30daysout

Pretty much every band around in the mid-1960s got around to cutting a “psychedelic” album or two, that is, if the band lasted long enough.  The Byrds got freaky with “Eight Miles High” and the Beatles blew everybody’s mind with Revolver, and everyone followed suit.

Today we are going to take a look at some latter-period work from British Invasion bands that followed in the footsteps of the Fab Four.  If they lasted long enough to reach 1967-1970, pretty much everyone of that era had to cut their own druggy tunes for better or worse.

The Hollies came along in 1963 with crisp, bright harmonies and hooky songs that made it to the top of the pop charts.  “Stop, Stop, Stop,” “Bus Stop,” “On A Carousel,” “Carrie Anne” and many others were pleasant, melodic and sounded great on AM radio.  The Hollies were led by vocalists Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks and Graham Nash, who were also the main songwriters.

Perhaps a little jaded by their pop success, the Hollies got psychedelic with Evolution, their album from 1967.  The harmonies were still firmly in place, Clarke-Hicks-Nash were still the songwriters, but the instrumentation now included some fuzz guitar and trippy drumming.  “Have You Ever Loved Somebody” is a perfect example – it had just enough psychedelic energy and pop smarts to still be a chart hit (it was covered by the Everly Brothers and the Searchers, who had the hit version).

Following the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper blueprint, the Hollies had their own sitar-spiced tune, “Heading For A Fall,” and some baroque Anglophilia, “Ye Olde Toffee Shop,” complete with fey harpsichord.  But what makes Evolution listenable, and even memorable, are the vocal arrangements.  “You Need Love” and “When Your Light Turned On” shows that the Hollies were a formidable band on a level with the Kinks, the Who, the Stones, etc.

But the seeds of discord had already been sown: by the next year, 1968, Graham Nash grew impatient with the endless string of pop singles and would leave Merrie Olde England and the Hollies behind.  He turned up in Laurel Canyon, and you know the rest.  Clarke and Hicks would soldier on with replacement singer Terry Sylvester, and the Hollies would go into the 1970s with huge hits like “Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)” and “The Air That I Breathe.”

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Review: Ry Cooder, Graham Nash boxed

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on February 12, 2009 by 30daysout

front                cover

A couple of new box sets attempt to take in-depth looks at the career output of two rock artists who may not be A-list famous, but are vital nonetheless. 

Ry Cooder’s 2-CD set The UFO Has Landed reviews the work of the incredible guitarist who’s played with the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison, scored a number of movies and as a solo artist released one of the most eclectic catalogs in recorded music.  This anthology, assembled by Cooder’s son and musical partner Joachim, doesn’t tackle Ry’s work in a chronological order so you have early covers of Woody Guthrie and Willie Dixon next to some of his moody, swirling film instrumentals. 

Less than half of the 34 tracks on this anthology are Cooder originals; the rest are interpretations of traditional music.  But if you aren’t familiar with Ry Cooder’s work, don’t let that stop you: this stuff rocks, sometimes unbelievably so.  “Get Rhythm,” the Johnny Cash cover that kicks off Disc 1, mixes some nasty slide guitar work with a tropical beat that’s instantly infectious.  A cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together” has guest performances from Zydeco accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco and Memphis legend Jim Dickinson on keyboards – and of course, it rocks. 

I don’t have enough time or space to riffle through all the tracks, this is all great listening.  Hats off the boys at Rhino Records for this great compilation!  One track they missed though – Cooder’s version of “Across The Borderline,” a song he wrote (along with Dickinson and John Hiatt) for the 1982 Jack Nicholson flick The Border.  The song has been done by Freddy Fender, Dwight Yoakam, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, but Cooder’s version is the best – it guest stars cult movie fave Harry Dean Stanton!

MP3: “Let’s Work Together”

MP3: “Across The Borderline” (with Harry Dean Stanton)

Graham Nash is, of course, the guy we all loved in the Hollies, the dude we were OK with in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the solo artist who went from charming to irritating to “American Idol” over a 30-year span.  And that’s sort of how the retrospective Reflections plays out over three discs. 

Disc One is easily the most indispensable, the curtain rising on three Nash-written classics from the Hollies (in mono!) and rolling right into the monumental songs he did with CSN and Y: “Marrakesh Express,” “Teach Your Children” and “Our House,” among others.  His navel gazer “Right Between The Eyes” (heard previously only as a live version) pops up here as a studio demo.  The first CD winds down with early solo work that’s pretty good; many of these songs (like the wimpy protest songs “Chicago” and “Military Madness’) feature many of the crowned heads of the late ’60s hippie kingdom like members of the Dead, the Airplane and whomever. 

But after that first disc you get two platters’ worth of plodding piano plunkers and hilariously dated synthesizer screamers, interrupted only occasionally by a really listenable moment.  “Wasted On The Way,” a chart hit for CSN, is OK, and buried on the third disc there’s a charming “Two Hearts” which teams Nash and Carole King for some truly impressive harmony work.  The historians at Rhino did some great work for Graham Nash (as they did with the Crosby box set last year, and presumably with the upcoming Stephen Stills set), but I wish they would’a tossed in “The War Song,” the 45 single Nash and Neil Young cut in 1972 to support George McGovern’s presidential bid.

MP3: “Carrie Anne” by the Hollies

MP3: “The War Song” by Neil Young and Graham Nash

Rhino Records official website

Friday is Boss’ Day: Covering Springsteen, Pt. 4

Posted in Bruce Springsteen with tags , , , , , , , on November 21, 2008 by 30daysout


It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving and everyone is in vacation mode. Here are some more excellent Springsteen covers to help you pass the time until turkey day

MP3: Johnny 99 – Johnny Cash

MP3: Atlantic City – The Reivers

MP3: 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) – The Hollies

MP3: Rendezvous – Greg Kihn Band

MP3: Love on the Wrong Side of Town – Southside Johnny

MP3: From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come) – Dave Edmunds

MP3: Club Soul City – Gary US Bonds

Bruce Springsteen Official Website

Backstreets Magazine

Review: “Here We Stand,” The Fratellis

Posted in Review with tags , on June 4, 2008 by 30daysout

Here We Stand, the new one from Glasgow pub rockers The Fratellis, is better than one would expect from a sophomore effort.  These guys burst onto the scene last year with a combination of energy and attitude that was truly infectious.  There’s certainly more of that here, but this time it’s mixed with a healthy dollop of British Invasion influences that suggests the Hollies playing the Who’s guitars in Ray Davies’ garage.  In fact, the Fratellis’ vocal harmonies so closely resemble the Hollies that many of the songs induce a double take on first listen.  And perhaps that’s a bit of a negative, too: at times, the tunes maybe dip a little too deep into the bag of ’60s influences and after a while you start to crave the real thing.  Although “Shameless” and “Look Out Sunshine” sport hooks aplenty, they don’t approach the songcraft and hummability of the Hollies’ “Bus Stop” or “On A Carousel.”  But The Fratellis keep the rockers coming fast and furious, and the energy level rarely flags.   This a perfect CD to take to the beach this summer. 

MP3: “Look Out Sunshine”

MP3: “Shameless”

The Fratellis official website