The Hollies – Greatest Hits

ARTIST: The Hollies MI0001524853
TITLE: Greatest Hits (2003 EMI 2CD set)
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: #47 UK
SINGLES: All of these charted somewhere in the world. Top 10 US and UK – Stay (#8 UK), Just One Look (#98 US, #2 UK), We’re Through (#7 UK), Yes, I Will (#9 UK), I’m Alive (#103 US, #1 UK), Look Through Any Window (#32 US, #4 UK), I Can’t Let Go (#42 US, #2 UK), Bus Stop (#5 US, #5 UK), Stop Stop Stop (#7 US, #2 UK), On a Carousel (#11 US, #4 UK), Carrie Anne (#9 US, #3 UK), Jennifer Eccles (#40 US, #7 UK), Sorry Suzanne (#56 US, #3 UK), He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (#7 US, #3 UK), Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress (#2 US, #32 UK), The Air That I Breathe (#6 US, #2 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: That’s a lot there, isn’t it. But they also did a cover of (4th of July Asbury Park) Sandy that charted (#85) in the US.
LINEUP: Mostly Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, Bobby Elliott, Graham Nash or Terry Sylvester, and either Eric Haydock or Bernie Calvert.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Brilliant harmony group who recorded excellent pop singles for a good stretch of the 60’s, but whose albums were totally chopped up in the US and neglected in the UK. Thus, this is the best way to hear them.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: At first, the Hollies were cover artists in the UK, like almost every band when they started over there, and then moved to songs written especially for them by others. Gradually, they worked out of that phase and recorded some excellent self-written originals.

Yet their albums were treated like chattel, Rarely if ever did they have the same number of tracks, or even the same title between the US and UK. Of all of the albums released in their first ten years, just one had the same track list AND title.

So, the best thing for everyone is to grab a compilation. This collection spans their entire career for every song that charted somewhere in the world – which is 47 songs between 1963 and 1989 (except for a couple that EMI didn’t have rights to, alas they’re not missed). A great number of songs are worth keeping, enough so this is probably the preferable collection out there.

It’s maddening, though, because it’s not chronological. Even a compilation album should have a natural flow and pacing, and having great 60’s beat group stuff next to duds from the 70’s is jarring. I’d probably recommend exiling the songs you don’t like and / or making a chronological playlist.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: One song is sung by Swedish vocals Mikael Penfors, who was with the Hollies for a couple of years replacing Clarke. Um…yikes is the word.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B: Many of these songs are “A” material, but there’s a lot of dross and sequencing problems.

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