I know where manchester is—do you know who the hollies are?

THE HOLLIES ARE FROM MANCHESTEReveryone knows that, right? Hah! I bumped into a young couple at the Bellevue Transit Center. Hand­some young man with a very pretty girl. Both in their mid 20s, both spick-and-spanned and nicely at­tired. When we ex­changed “Hellos” I heard the ac­cent and asked them from which part of Eng­land they hailed.

“Man­chester!” he said.

“Ah,” said I. “The home of the Holies.”

“What?” said she.

“The Hollies—they’re from Man­chester,” I re­sponded, won­dering what was going on.

They looked at each other and then at me.

“Um, you don’t know who the Hol­lies are?” I asked.

“No,” came from both of them.

“Wait! I know,” I came back. “Howz­about Crosby, Stills & Nash?”

“Um, nope,” the hand­some young man said.

“You know,” I came back. “Suite Judy Blues Eyes? Teach Your Chil­dren? Four dead in Ohio?”

“Uh, sorry,” the very pretty girl said.

Without thinking I blurted out, “You don’t know who Crosby, Stills & Nash are?!!?”

And then re­al­ized that I was in­sulting them.

 

“We have kids under thirty come in here who don’t even listen to music. They don’t even know who their peers are lis­tening to, let alone someone from forty years ago.”

 

So I changed the sub­ject: “Off to Seattle?”

“Yeah!”

“Make sure you see the Pike Place Market.”

“Oh yeah. We in­tend to!”

“Make sure you sample the smoked salmon.”

“Of course!”

“When are you going back?”

“Monday.”

“Oh well, then I won’t rec­om­mend any­thing else.”

And so I met two ob­vi­ously in­tel­li­gent people from Man­chester who knew nei­ther the Hol­lies nor CS&N and prob­ably didn’t give a whit’s be­hind!

As someone once fa­mous once said, “La-de-da.”

 

Hollies are from Manchester: color photo of the Hollies in 1964.

The ‘Ol­lies 1964: standing from left to right are Allan Clarke, Bobby El­liott, and Eric Hay­dock; seated are Graham Nash and Tony Hicks. Lets see, aside from those fabgear Beat­le­boots (Hol­lieboots?), what stands out for me is the ghast­li­ness of the floral-print wall­paper against the black-and-white checker­board floor. Ouch!

Look through any window yeah!

In early 1962, Allan Clarke and Graham Nash, both from Man­chester, were per­forming as an Everly Brothers-inspired vocal/guitar duo called Ricky and Dane Young. Even­tu­ally, they were joined by local mu­si­cians Vic Steele (lead guitar), Eric Hay­dock (bass), and Don Rath­bone (drums). By Sep­tember, they were billing them­selves as the Hol­lies.

In Jan­uary 1963, they per­formed at the Cavern Club, where the Bea­tles were showing off the skills that they had honed in Ham­burg. The Hol­lies were seen by Par­lophone Records’ Ron Richards (who had pro­duced the hit ver­sion of the Bea­tles’ first single Love Me Do), who of­fered them an au­di­tion.

 

The first Hol­lies record of that hit big in my home­town was Look Through Any Window, a record that I fell in love with on first hearing.

 

Steele did not want to be a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian at that time (he would later) and left the band. For the au­di­tion, they re­placed him with Tony Hicks and got the con­tract. 

Hicks hailed from a band that had been gig­ging in Man­chester called the Dol­phins, which also fea­tured fu­ture Hol­lies drummer Bobby El­liott (he joined in mid 1963) and bassist Bernie Calvert (1966). The rest is history—at least it’s his­tory if young people learn it and carry it on past the lives of those who lived it …

The Hol­lies’ early record­ings did not get a lot of air­play on the radio sta­tions of North­eastern Penn­syl­vania in 1964-65. The first Hol­lies record of that hit big in North­eastern Penn­syl­vania was Look Through Any Window, a record that I fell in love with on first hearing!

Need­less to say, I ran out and bought the 45 as soon as I could and it re­mains one of my all-time fav­er­avers of the ’60s. This video fea­tures the Hol­lies on the Hul­la­baloo tele­vi­sion show lip-synching to that record. 

 

Bobby El­liott, Graham Nash, Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Bernie Calvert. This striking photo was used for the cover of the 1966 album FOR CERTAIN BECAUSE (al­though in color), which was is­sued in America as STOP! STOP! STOP! with a dif­ferent cover photo.

You can see the little children all around

Later that day, I stopped in Half Price Books at the Cross­roads in Bellevue. The youngish guy—youngish to me, anyway, and who I refer to as the Deadhead-wannabe be­hind his back—was at the cash reg­ister, friendly as ever.

I re­counted the above story about the couple from Man­chester not knowing the Hol­lies or CS&N with my usual in­cred­u­lous­ness in the face of such events.

“That’s nothing,” he replied. “We have kids under thirty come in here who don’t even listen to music. Not ever! They don’t even know who their peers are lis­tening to, let alone someone from forty years ago!”

We then dis­cussed such things as the less-than-endearing music that has dom­i­nated the tastes of sev­eral post-’70s gen­er­a­tions of rock and pop music lis­teners and lis­tening to any music let alone bad music on hand­held players with teen­sy­weensy ear-plugs. Hell’s Belles, WHO’S NEXT would sound bad on those! 

 

 

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