April 5: Allan Clarke, lead singer with The Hollies,("Bus Stop," "Carrie Anne") is 69 today.

Harold Allan Clarke, who was born in Salford, Lancashire, England, had been friends with Graham Nash since they were schoolboys. Both were founding members of The Hollies.  

The Hollies were formed in Manchester in the early 1960s, though most of the band members are from East Lancashire. Known for their distinctive vocal harmony style, they became one of the leading British groups of the era. They enjoyed considerable popularity in many countries, although they did not achieve major US chart success until 1966.

In a 2009 interview, Graham Nash said that the group decided just prior to a performance to call themselves the "Hollies" because of their admiration for Buddy Holly.
Clarke and Nash began singing together in Manchester while still at school. In 1963, they added Tony Hicks on guitar, who, along with Bobby Elliot and Bernie Calvert became the Hollies.
Clarke was their lead vocalist, but also on occasion played guitar and harmonica. In the U.K. they enjoyed 29 chart singles, 17 of which made the Top 10, with two - "I'm Alive" (1965) and "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" - reaching No. 1.

In the U.S. they achieved 23 chart singles, six of which hit the Top 10. Many of the group’s songs were co-written by Clarke, usually with Hicks and Nash, until Nash's departure at the end of 1968 to join Crosby, Stills and Nash. Allan, Graham and Tony used the pseudonym "L. Ransford" initially for their song-writing credits. 

(Graham Nash was replaced by guitarist-singer Terry Sylvester formerly with The Escorts and The Swinging Blue Jeans.)
(Continued below video and Amazon portal ...)

HIGHLY Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):

Legendary HeroesHeadroom//Allan Clarke//I’ve Got TimeMidas Touch: The Very Best Of The Hollies

Anxious to launch his own solo career, Clarke left the group in 1971, and was replaced by the Swedish singer Mikael Rickfors formerly with Bamboo.
During the next three years, Allan released three albums on his own - My Real Name Is 'arold, Headroom and Allan Clarke (1974).

Ironically, after Clarke left the Hollies, "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress," a song from their 1971 album Distant Light, which he had co-written with songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, and on which Clarke sang lead and played lead guitar, became an international hit, reaching No. 2 in the U.S.

Clarke rejoined the Holllies in July 1973. Their first single with him back was another of his songs, "The Day that Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee," a Top 40 hit.  
Clarke continued to release solo albums while remaining with the Hollies, although his solo career did not achieve much chart success. He also performed guest vocals on the 1977 album I Robot by The Alan Parsons Project (most notably, lead vocals on the FM-hit Breakdown).
Allan left the Hollies for the second time in March but returned again in August. His final solo album was Reasons To Believe in 1990.
By this time the Hollies' UK chart career was almost over; their run of hit singles culminated with "The Air That I Breathe," No. 2 in 1974, which was followed by a long absence of hits, although they still drew huge crowds when they toured throughout the world. Allan retired for good in 1999.


Along with The Rolling Stones and The Searchers, they are one of the few British pop groups of the early 1960s that have never officially broken up and that continue to record and perform.  The Hollies still tour with two original members, Hicks and Elliott.

In 1995 The Hollies were awarded an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.

They were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.



Post a Comment