Ten Great Hollies Songs That Never Hit the U.S. Top 40

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When Beatlemania shook America in 1964 the band set the table, opened the door, primed the pump and greased the kitty for many other acts who to varying degrees capitalized on America’s sudden appetite for anything British.

Not only did the Hollies follow in the Beatles’ wake, but their early sound owed more to the Fab Four than did that of say, the Who or the Animals. So it’s hard to understand why it didn’t translate into greater stateside success–they were always a much more successful act back in England, where they charted 17 top ten singles, compared to 6 in the U.S.

Of course, we’re familiar with their classic songs that were smashes on both sides of the Atlantic: “Bus Stop”, “Carrie-Anne”, “Stop Stop Stop”, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, “Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)” and “The Air That I Breathe”.

But there were a lot of quality songs seldom heard, or never heard, on American radio–songs that either missed the top 40 or were never released here at all. Here are ten singles and album tracks, all released between 1964 and 1968, that make the case for the Hollies being a better band than we generally realize:

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1. “Just One Look”

Their cover of Doris Troy’s 1963 hit, covered again by Linda Ronstadt in 1979. But only Troy’s original managed to crack the top 40.

2. “Here I Go Again”

This one wouldn’t be out of place on A Hard Day’s Night.

3. “Don’t You Know”

I hear “Eight Days a Week” in the rhythm here.

4. “I Can’t Let Go”

Another song that was later a hit for Ronstadt. But while she took it to the top 40 the Hollies’ version stalled just outside it.

5. “Tell Me To My Face”

Great song, great riff. I think if they’d only added their usual harmonies to this one it could have been a hit. Covered in an excellent version by Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg in 1978 (they did add Hollies-type harmonies). But only Keith (the “98.6” guy) hit the top 40 with this song.

6. “You Need Love”

Just when you expect a guitar solo they come in with Tijuana Brass horns. In another similarity to the Beatles, the Hollies would throw in a curveball instrument for a solo (steel drums in “Carrie-Anne”, bells in “Pay You Back with Interest”, psychedelic banjo in “Stop Stop Stop”, etc.)

7. “Would You Believe”

Getting a little more ambitious here. This sounds like something from the Bee Gees’ Odessa album. (That’s a compliment.)

8. “Butterfly”

Now we’re into full-on psychedelia. Donovan, the Zombies, Chad & Jeremy–most Invasion acts jumped on the bandwagon with something in this vein.

9. “Wings”

For my money this might be the true lost treasure of the batch. And maybe not coincidently this one sounds like no one but the Hollies. It’s a bit of a rarity too, having never been included on one of the band’s albums. It appeared on a various artist collection entitled No-One’s Gonna Change Our World, made as a benefit for the World Wildlife Fund.

10. “Listen To Me”

The last single to feature Graham Nash in the band. A #11 hit in England. It didn’t chart in the U.S.

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See also:

Ten Great Asia Songs That Never Hit the U.S. Top 40

Ten Great Irish Rovers Songs that Aren’t ‘The Unicorn’

Ten Great Proclaimers Songs that Aren’t ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mvcoogan
    Jan 29, 2013 @ 09:08:20

    Good stuff. Somehow I don’t think I knew they were English. (I always thought Graham Nash was Canadian – go figure.)

    Reply

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