60’s lovin’ – The Hollies

The Swinging 60′

“Remember when you used to watch TV in the sixties and you’d see Perry Como in a cashmere sweater? That’s what rock’n’roll is becoming. It’s your parents’ music.” – Neil Young

I wish I could relate to the first half of that quote by the inconceivable Neil Young. I was born in the 90’s and have for much of my life wished that I had existed when London was the world capital of cool, otherwise known as The Swinging 60’s!

For the first 14 years of my life I ignored the pile of ‘massive CD’s’ in the corner of our living room in suburbia London . Like many people that age I resonated the 60’s with black and white television,  The Beatles and England winning the world cup *sighs*. A self-confessed and slightly haughty indie kid I thought I had it made culturally with the likes of Oasis and The Smiths in my meager record collection. I would call myself musically naive but i’ll go with it’s a working progress..

Once I’d matured enough to learn that these massive CD’s were in fact vinyls I dubiously approached my dad’s record collection and had a browse. The first record selected was by The Hollies, titled ‘The History of the Hollies’ comprising of 24 of their ‘genuine top thirty hits’. Before I could even judge the album cover I felt a peculiar presence behind me, something I can only describe as an excitable 12 year old boy. It wasn’t an excitable 12 year old. It was my dad. He uttered the following words “just play the record, please” then showed me how to work the turntable and finally curled back into his seat, rather smugly.

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Helmed by Allan Clarke and Graham Nash, this record was one of the most well-rounded pop ensembles I’d ever heard. My initial impression of The Hollies, as a candid teen, was that they held precision of The Beatles although it soon became apparent that this band embedded some of the tightest vocal harmonies beheld by man, or men. A heady combination of young love, Merseybeat concords and a sprinkle of harmonic genius just about sums up this biter of a record. The likes of ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘I’m Alive’ highlight Clarke’s piercing chorus vocals best reflecting the groups’ bouncy yet sweet nature, in the land of pitch perfect harmonisation anyway.

My new musical love was The Hollies and alike any budding fan I began delving further and further into their music. Yes, I love the 60’s but this is the 21st century and YouTube seemed the best option to carry out this ‘research’. Top of the Pops, June 1966 – The Hollies perform ‘Bus Stop’ – I can’t pin-point exactly why I still idolise this performance. Maybe it’s Allan Clarke’s pert expression, the fashion or the people in the audience dancing (no twerk or horrendous whip/nae nae in sight).

Recently my dad drove me back to university. Out of coincidence I decided to bring some records with me, one of them being my own copy of The Hollies Greatest Hits. I subtly inserted the CD; the immediate elation in my dad’s face was priceless – he hadn’t heard some of these songs in over 40 years yet remembered every word. When you become emotionally attached to a record it becomes difficult to imagine anyone else feeling as sentimental about it as you do. But without my dad’s own adulation to The Hollies, to the 60’s and to music generally I would never had cultivated this new perspective on music.


So.. that’s what rock’n’roll now is, it’s my parents music.



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