In-depth reviews of classic or neglected albums, mainly from the 1960s and 70s, plus a weekly newsletter featuring all the latest news, views and music. Artists covered include Beach Boys, Beatles, Belle and Sebastian, Buffalo Springfield, Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Dire Straits, Grateful Dead, Hollies, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Kinks, Nils Lofgren, Monkees, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Searchers, Simon and Garfunkel, Small Faces, 10cc, The Who and Neil Young.
Friday, 4 July 2008
Review 57) Allan Clarke "Headroom" (1973)
You can buy 'Reflections Of A Long Time Past - The Alan's Album Archives Guide To The Music Of The Hollies' in e-book format by clicking here!
On which The Hollies’ lead singer proves himself to be a big thinker…
Track Listing: Complete Controllable Man/ People Of That Kind/ Fishin’/ Who?/ Drift Away// Shift Lovin’ Lady/ I Look In Your Eyes/ Give Us A Song/Would You Believe? (Revisited) (UK and US tracklisting)
ALAN’S ALBUM ARCHIVES
Off The Record:
(Ha there’s a sneaky Allan Clarke reference for you!)
Ones to watch out for:People Of That Kind, Who?, I Look In Your Eyes
Ones to skip:Would You Believe (Revisited) struggles a bit under the weight of a full-sized orchestra and choir and opening track Complete Controllable Man might make you wonder what all the fuss is about at first, but even these tracks have their charms the more you play this under-rated album.
The cover: A hideously overdrawn Hipgnosis cover of cartoonish heads with Dada-ist drawings of bowler-hatted and umbrella-appendaged men trying to break free from their self-induced prisons. Or something like that. A shocking failure for Hipgnosis, the artists who designed plenty of classic Pink Floyd (and one or two Hollies) front covers. Bet they didn’t hear the music before drawing it – I knew this album without a cover for years and this is nothing like the picture I’d built up inside my, err, ‘head’.
Key lyrics: “And it makes me sad inside to see so many people of that kind” “Can’t really know what’s going on, will I get by on singing songs?, going down ain’t really on, being nowhere ain’t where I belong!” “Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I want to get lost in your rock and rolling, drift away” “And what is life without your love? And what is life without you by my side? And what is feeling when there ain’t no one?, Let me tell you, it’s just an empty shell with love inside” “Would you believe I’m in love with you and I can’t help myself?”
Original UK chart position: DNC. Even Hollies albums were struggling to chart at this time, never mind spin-off solo albums – a few years earlier when the Hollies were still big news this album could have done very well indeed.
Singles:Who? which did not chart either. Great song, but not really single material.
Official out-takes: I don’t know about ‘official’ but certain lyrics on this album suggest that a few later post-comeback Hollies songs were at least started at this time – Another Night in particular.
Availability: Passed over for CD release for the best part of two decades, Headroom finally went back on catalogue in 2006 as a 2CD Beat Goes On set, with the two later and sadly rather lesser EMI solo albums Allan Clarke and I’ve Got Time on the back, although even this set is hard to come by already. I only happened to find mine because it was mis-filed in HMV just in front of their CSNY range (all 2 CDs worth of compilations, honestly you wonder why they bother giving some of these groups their own shelf-stickers sometimes…)
This album came between: This album came after Clarke’s first solo LP My Real Name Is Harold, (1972, yes it really is folks, the adopted name Allan suits him much better though), which is disappointingly average despite the presence of an out-and-out classic in Nature’s Way Of Saying Goodbye; Follow up Allan Clarke (1975) gets a bit too MOR for me, but does at least contain plenty more examples of Clarke in great voice, even if it is filled with some questionable cover material. Highlight: the melodrama of I Wanna Sail Right Into Your Life when suddenly all these mainstream ingredients click into place and you hear something of the album that should have been…
Line-up: Allan Clarke with Kirk Duncan, Ray Glynn, Dee Murray and Tony Newman (produced by Allan Clarke)
Putting The Album In Context:
BACK in 1972-73, the rest of the Hollies were looking on aghast as their former partner Graham Nash became a big seller, not just with Crosby, Stills and Nash but with his own solo material. Not to be outdone, Nash’s old school-friend Allan Clarke decided to embark on a solo career himself, leaving the rest of the band to make a series of artistically fantastic but commercially disastrous LPs (see Romany, no 52 on the list). Clarke’s first album My Real Name Is ‘Arold wasn’t quite the killer record it should have been, sounding like a poor man’s Hollies album without harmonies or any clear sense of direction, but Headroom reveals just how great the singer’s solo career could have been in some alternate universe, full of classy swampy rockers and heart-melting ballads. The only one of Clarkey’s seven solo albums that doesn’t sound distracted or interrupted by something, either by Clarkey choosing to submit all his own songs to his parent band or by some with-it producer convinced that including recent chart covers is a sure-fire way to success, Headroom is a forgotten gem, with the singer stretching his artistic freedom in superb relaxed style. Slow and stately and half sort of clinical on most of it’s tracks, the laid back, languished performances belie both the torment and struggle going on in most of the lyrics and the sheer emotional passion of a fiery Clarke at his best. The only solo Clarke record dominated by the singer’s own fine songs – co-writer Ray Glynn brings out more of Clarke’s swampy bluesy side that really suits him and is usually drenched under layers of exquisite harmony on Hollies records - this record showcases both Clarke’s songs and vocals at their eclectic best. Headroom switches easily from ballads to protest songs to all out-rockers with a fine velvety sound draped all around the material that helps give this album the cohesion lacking from many 70s Hollies sets, fine as they are. Some dense production work - glittering synthesisers, shimmering acoustic guitars and bluesy organs and harmonicas licks – also makes the Hollies’ own overly polished records sound positively flimsy by comparison, without sacrificing Clarke’s raw and rocky voice when called on.
The album also reveals Clarke as a classy songwriter away from the Clarke-Hicks-Nash/Sylvester partnership and despite its varying styles the sparse but steady production gives the record a great unity that the others just don’t have. The studio musicians – most of them formed from the ashes of a forgotten psychedelic group The Mirage - are right on the money here too, with nearly all the songs extended by some furious jamming going on in the fade-out, always a good sign of a band enjoying their time trapped in a small studio together, unwilling to go home because they are having too much fun playing—asoopos3d to watching the studio clock, wondering when they can go home as is too often the case. Guitarist Ray Glynn is a fine foil for Clarke creatively, co-writing five of the tracks on the album and sounds much closer to the singer’s natural style than his ‘celebrity co-authors’ Spencer Proffer, Roger Cook and Herbie Flowers on other solo sets. Over this band’s backing sits Clarkey’s voice, wringing out every bit of emotion from every track without ever going over the top and in a class of his own, just as he was for much of the 60s (what are the odds of two of the best singers on this list, Clarke and Nash, ending up in the small class at a Manchester primary school for goodness sake?! No wonder their harmonies always sounded like a match made in heaven – it must have been intended by somebody out there somewhere). If only Clarke had combined his talents with the rest of the Hollies (who were also on top form in this period) he could have made the record of his life.
Even without those classic Hollies harmonies, however, Headroom is still a tremendously good record despite selling a piddling amount of copies and being one of those forgotten releases that not even Hollies fans seem to know too much about. In less than a year’s time following this album’s release Clarke is back with the Hollies, a good move in terms of the equally great under-rated records the band put out in the years 1975-78 (although I still shudder when I hear parts of this album’s ‘real’ follow-up, the gormless - by Hollies standards - self-titled reunion album of 1974), but a sad one given the promise of these early solo records and what a great career Clarkey might have had if just one of these solo songs had taken off properly. Clarkey released two more variable records during these years but – apart from ‘discovering’ Bruce Springsteen (or at least recording his songs before anyone else was interested) - didn’t sound like he had a lot to say. A second solo spell without the group in 1978-79 proved a much better bet, with The Only Ones in particular full of some classy material, but even then Clarke is too self-consciously trying to sound ‘hip’ and trendy, leaving even the best of these LPs as a pretty varied and often soulless bunch all round. Best stick to Headroom, the most convincing of the lot that really does seem to be at least in touch with Clarke’s psyche in this troubled period and is one of the most charming, if forgotten, out of the 30-odd fine records Clarke was involved in over the years.
Complete Controllable Man starts the album off in swampy blues mode, a slow-churning rocker with some truly impenetrable lyrics married to a great riff that sounds like Long Cool Woman as played on a bar-room piano. In fact, piano and organ are the dominant sounds of the LP, quite unlike the Hollies’ (and Clarke’s on the quiet) more recognised prowess on guitar. This makes for a great opener for the album, in as much as the hook of the song is tailor-made for stretching out in all directions, coming to more or less a complete stop in the middle before circling round again, giving us listeners the chance to adapt to this new solo-style Clarke (‘Arold, the singer’s first solo album, still sounds like a Hollies album for the most part, just without the harmonies). it still sounds a bit odd to hear Clarke bleating his heart out though while the rest of the band go their own merry way, seemingly ignoring him. The lyrics are hard to hear – and even harder to untangle when you work out what they are – but are fascinatingly obtuse, with just enough reason in them to make some sort of sense. In a nutshell, the story here is how the narrator is sacrificing the less likeable parts of his character to please his loved ones, and is beginning to resent not being loved for the complete whole of who he is, as the new ‘complete controllable man’ is too much of a compromise to please anyone. Quite a fitting message for a first ‘proper’ solo album! Like much of the record, Clarke might be singing about the expulsion he feels from his old band and his confusion about whether to go back where it’s safe and cosy with band-mates he really misses (‘Be nice to you be nice to me, I don’t want to lose you’) or whether he ought to embrace his whole character, not chop off the rough edges to suit the compromises necessary when working as part of a band. Wishing he could have Nash’s dictatorial tendencies, while realising he needs the support of others, this is Clarke puzzling things out loud and changing his mind just at the point where he’s about to reach a conclusion (as discussed, the music too seems to pause halfway through and goes back to the beginning again to think things over). Unlike most of the other long(ish) songs on this album, however, Complete Controllable Man does outstay its welcome a bit after the third repeat of the whole verse-chorus structure (no middle eights for this song!) and the sheer what-the-hell-is-going-on factor in the lyrics palls a bit by the end until you get to know it better.
If Controllable works simply because of its classic tune and curiosity factor, however, then Clarkey shows off his other great writing gift on People Of That Kind, a simple piano ballad with some of the best lyrics he ever wrote, simple rhyming schemes and all. A heartfelt plea on behalf of all humanity suffering across the world, Clarke’s vocal builds every verse from little-boy-lost to striding humanitarian, veering from the viewpoint of the poor and hungry to his own conscious-stricken comparatively well-off self, wondering why he was chosen to be the ‘lucky’ one earning money for his art while others are starving in a distant land, as if to calm his mixed personal feelings felt in the last track and other on the album. Most songs that use this tactic (and I especially mean charity singles here, though bless their little cotton socks for trying) try somehow to ‘trade in’ on our mutual feelings of guilt for the place of our birth (at least, they do if you’re a European or American reader) and put more effort into finding the biggest guest stars to sing on them than in actually writing a decent tune or lyric or even making sure their large profits go to all the right places. But you can’t accuse Clarkey of the same behaviour here, as this song is obviously a personal re-action which isn’t meant to be taken as a universal one and there’s a lot of care and attention gone into this track which is one of the best arranged on the album. Simple piano one moment, towering anthem with a full-blown church organ the next, its as if the quiet subdued opening we hear at first simply gets swamped as the accompaniment takes full flight. Plus, there’s the added bonus of having the likes of Bob Geldof and Bono nowhere in sight.
As for that church organ, Clarkey spends most of the last verse debating about why human beings feel they can play at being ‘God’, deciding who lives and who dies simply because of the country a person happens to be born into (** see note for more on religion and the Hollies). The last verse of People Of That Kind is Clarke’s last great study of his long debate about religion and, well, it’s not a happy one, ending with the memorable line ‘and it makes me sad inside to see a God that’s changing his mind all the time’. The fact that the song is accompanied by a full-blown church organ only adds to the effect – it shouldn’t be up to rock stars to stand up for the poor and needy, this should be the job of the church is what Clarke seems to be saying – or the deity looking down on us, chuckling at our ineptitude. The singer almost spits his words out at the end, reflecting on how unjust it is that something seems to thwart every effort made by the Eastern world to haul themselves out of difficulty (this song is even more fitting since the Western world found out that whoops they might have been slightly responsible for global warming after all – something that seems to be unfairly affecting our Eastern neighbours far more than it affects us). Clarkey at his moving, emotional best, perfectly cast in his vocal roles of wide-eyed innocent and all-knowing guilt-ridden star.
After all that lyrical debating, it’s a relief to go back to the boogie-woogie of Fishin’, a song that like Complete Controllable Man doesn’t make a lot of sense but is at least held together by a great a little piano lick. Clarke’s great harmonica playing gets a rare but welcome outing on this track too, on a recording that’s again best described as ‘swampy’. The backing band play their socks off on this one, especially Kirk Duncan’s twirling piano licks which waltz up and down the keyboard in captivating style, and there’s even a spot of almost-but-not-quite Hollies harmonies in there too. Clarkey’s vocals, of course, are spot on (are they ever anything less?), even though this song’s lyrics about a freight train union taking his woman away from him (I think that’s what he says on this track, but even after hundreds of playings over the years I can’t tell for certain) are a strange choice to sing your heart and soul out on. However, after this most recent 101st playing if you like, could it be Clarke is again singing about his doomed solo career here? The fishing metaphor ‘thought Ifelt a tug at the end of my line’ that will mean ‘I’ll be gone some time’ could well be about the attractions of a solo career for Clarke, before the line about ‘losing my dish’ and trying to catch fish even when the river is dry might well be an early response to Clarke’s realisation that actually he has to go back to his old band, because his records just aren’t finding the audience he’d hoped for. Possibly, then, this is Clarke’s response to his ‘doomed’ andunder-promoted first solo album (barring a large expensive party on launch day that is) which was ignored by just about every music critic going, even then ones who’d stuffed their face at the official unveiling the year before. An under-rated bluesy rocker, with Clarke fed up but too full of things to say to throw in the towel, Fishin’ is another of Headroom’s neglected gems, especially the long ending which just seems to stretch on for hours, with the musicians picking up a full head of steam on behalf of the union train.
Who? is a lovely little ballad in the Air That I Breathe mould (but dating from a year or so before), focussing on another of this album’s beautiful keyboard licks, this time played on one of the fullest-sounding and best recorded synthesisers I’ve heard. The verses of Who? are just a list of the things the narrator has done for his partner and are the same as any number of romantic songs that seek to tell us ‘its the little things that count’, but it’s song’s many middle eights (there is no real chorus here, unusually) that stand out the most. Aware that his first solo record hasn’t sold but unaware that The Hollies are about to invite their old lead singer back to join them, Clarke sings one of his career-best couplets: ‘Don’t really know what’s going on, will I get by on singing songs?, Going down ain’t really on, being nowhere ain’t where I belong’. Sounding lost and angry, Clarke suddenly lets down his guard at these points, in contrast to the well-crafted commercial crooning of the rest of the song, as if the author tried to write a first-class best-selling triumph – and then thought, ‘what’s the point, no one will hear it anyway?’ (sadly, this piece of fortune-telling came true – released as a single just before the album, this track sank like a stone). The narrator then switches back and forth between telling us about his carefully crafted romance and his equally carefully crafted artistic endeavours, a sentiment held together by that lovely intro and outro synthesiser lick that sounds as lost and lonely as the sentiments inside it. A great song, played and arranged for the most part with great care, it might have been even better had the mix not got so busy towards the end that everything suddenly becomes muddy and rather unclear—fitting picture as this is for the state of the narrator’s bewildered head.
The next track, a cover of Mentor Williams’ song Drift Away, seems to reiterate the point that Clarke can never give music up, even when no one seemed to be hearing the records he was making. A classic hymn to the power of music to heal our troubled souls, this track has been covered by, well, just about everybody (out of our album archive ‘starr’ names, Ringo does a passable version on his impressive 1995 LP Vertical Man), but Clarke’s version of the song is by far the best I’ve heard and he sounds like he’s having a great time bringing out every nuance of the song. Most cover versions of this song treat the ’I love music’ vibe as if its an excuse for a great big party, but here Clarke sounds almost serious, giving the song a focus that makes it clear how much effort he puts into ‘drifting away’ into the music and how much it would mean to him if the chance of making it was taken away. The keyboards again dominate the busy mix, while the slow stately plod brings out more of the melancholy of the song than you usually hear (most cover artists sing the lines ‘Beginning to think that I’m wasting time, I don’t understand the things I do, the world outside is so unkind’ in the same way as the rest of this gleeful song, stupid as that may sound, but on this version all of these lyrics are sung with a lump in the throat, as if it might be the last time the singer gets to do them on record). In fact, even for this period when everything he does is superb, Clarkey shines on this track vocally, his mix of stubborn un-movingness and tinges of sadness among his best work.
Shift Lovin’ Lady starts side two off back in the style of those earlier boogie-woogie impenetrable songs again, but this time it’s a harder-rocking version with Clarke really letting himself go in the chorus. These lyrics don’t make a lot of sense either, but again that doesn’t matter when Clarke can sing them this well, with a cooking band behind him. The tricky opening, played on off-beats as far as I can tell before switching the accent back subtly for the song proper, is impressive, as is Ray Glynn’s very Tony Hicks-ish guitar solo in the middle which strikes the perfect balance between careful mapped-out arranging and carefree abandon. The lyrics of this song make even less sense than normal, half-ordering the narrator’s hard-working partner back home into his arms and half-full of doubt about what the pair can do with all that free time on their hands. Incidentally, does anybody out there know why Clarke throws in the line ‘and don’t forget another night’ seemingly out of nowhere right at the point where the song stops in the middle? Another Night is the name of a great song (and a great album) that helped re-establish The Hollies in fans’ eyes at least, a fact which makes complete sense when you judge it in the context of the boastful, swaggering verse about having such a great past you don’t need to wow everybody in the present. But neither the song or the album came out until 1975, two years after Headroom, rather destroying that neat little theory! Like the rest of the song, this sequence is compelling but slightly bizarre, with this track anything but the straight-forward rocker it first appears.
I Look In Your Eyes is another lovely ballad, possibly the best song on the album, with Clarke at his most effortlessly romantic on a lilting song about trying to take a relationship to the next level. The chorus is in the classic Hollies mould – strident vocal, punchy harmonies, great riff and something deeper going on in the words about what love really is (is it a simple sign of affection? The joy of being with an ever present companion? A certain feeling you only get with one true soul-mate? Or something you feel lots of times every day?) The surprisingly negative answer here is that if the narrator has to question what love is then he is with the wrong person and ‘wasting my time’ when he could be with someone else. Using his lover’s eyes as the ‘window of her soul’ and finding them suddenly empty (‘their darkness blinds me’), Clarke debates whether to open them up again (‘not knowing to say hello or goodbye’) or say farewell forever, with the narrator stopping in his tracks every time he thinks he’s come to a decision, hopping from one fott to another deciding what to do. Clarkey’s vocal is in something of a deeper range than normal and it suits his gradually lived-in sound of the mid-70s rather well, helping the song to sound more like the naked and honest material of the recent batch of Hollies LPs than the more commercial tenor he used on most of his first solo LP. The performance of this song is pretty special too, with Ray Glynn’s bold and effortless slide guitar set against Kirk Duncan’s muted and straight-laced keyboard licks. The presence of a choir on the last verse is another plus point, adding a breath of fresh air to this simple acoustic song. All in all, a classic. Why wasn’t this put out as the single instead of the classy but less commercial Who?
Give Us A Song is pretty much the mirror opposite to the last track: the song is taken at a funeral pace and sounds old and weary, but instead of being a relatively happy-sounding song about a dying relationship it’s a slightly hopeful thought that the ‘broken truce’ of the narrator and his partner can be repaired. This time, too, it’s the narrator pleading with his missus to come back to him because he’s ‘found his recipe’ and knows how to make the two sides compatible again, in contrast to the doubts going on in the last song. This song is so slow and so comparatively ‘empty’ production-wise compared to the other songs on the album that it really puts Clarkey’s vocal centre-stage (even if the mix is so odd that you still can’t tell what most of the words are). Good job too – it’s one of his best, handling the weight of the song and its slow-chugging melody with absolute ease. Again it’s the middle eight that rescues what could have easily become a rather drab and wearisome song (‘There’ll never be such a good time…’), with the melody-line rising its head ever so slightly to peep out over it’s rather maudlin parapet until pulling it back in sharply again. A fascinating stab at something different, Give Us A Song (Eh? That title still makes no sense even after deciphering the lyrics!) continues the rather mournful close to side two of Headroom.
The album then signs off with a complete surprise, as Clarke’s delightful but originally slightly-performed ballad Would You Believe from 1967 is revisited as a towering six-minute orchestral epic (see Butterfly, albumno 14 – it’s surely no coincidence that this delightful song manages two separate entries on this list!) OK, so given the opportunity of re-visiting his two-minute moody masterpiece Clarke goes a bit OTT in places, slowing down the pace perhaps a little too far and adding a slightly histrionic vocal that fails in every way to compare with his seductive original. Yet just as hearing Stephen Stills re-do his old songs all dressed up to the nines is a fascinating procedure (see album review no 48), the weight and drama of this new arrangement really does suit the song, with its claustrophobic message of being unable to survive without someone’s love brought out even more clearly by this big, brash and bold approach which all but suffocates the listener. In the end, the sweet charm of The Hollies’ version probably makes the original the ‘keeper’, but this later re-working is well worth a listen too and its interesting to hear Clarke reclaiming the track as his own rather than a ‘Hollie’ song. Years of crediting Hollies-composed tracks to ‘L Ransford’ Chester Mann’ and ‘Clarke-Hicks-Nash’ depending on the period and oblivious of whether one or all three songwriting band members came up with them (** see note 2) means that its hard to work out just what Clarke did write until 1969, the first time the band uses individual credits for songs. We do know, though, that this song was Clarke’s baby and it may well be the first song that he wrote entirely by himself, in which case it makers perfect sense to hear this first ’solo’ track on one of Clarke’s ’solo’ records. In many ways, the original Would You Believe? is the prototype for much of this record: the narrator is full of angst, unable to get his words out clearly because his head’s in such a mess and the whole thing sounds somehow orchestral and grand whilst being at the same time muted and detached. The new arrangement we have here also draws out another typically Clarke-device. Much of this song is built from long sustained notes that wobble over from the ‘on’ to the ‘off’ beats, making this whole piece sound as if its precariously balancing on a precipice. This time, though, the stakes are that much higher as the sheer weight of the orchestra makes this tracks down-swooping angular lines sound even more dangerous and unwieldy. In all, this is a fine track which is nicely re-arranged but is heavy-going in the extreme compared to the laidback classics here.
Some people, probably even many Hollies fans, might wonder what all the fuss is about over Headroom, as it’s not really one of those immediate sets that grabs you by the ears and demands to live on your turntable for the next few months, more one of those special albums that ‘grow’ on you, delivering more with each listen. For the few of us in the know, however, Headroom is an important part of our collections that we will never part with, especially given how hard the darn thing was to come by in the first place! (see ‘availability’ section). The good news is that, following on from their great Hollies CD re-issues in the 1990s, The Beat Goes On finally gave this obscure album its first CD release in Xmas 2006. Alas you can only get Headroom in a set with two later, comparatively poor Clarke solo albums but never mind – Headroom is worth the price of this 3-on-1 set alone.
** Note - Religion and particularly Christianity plays a big part on Hollies records, especially on Clarke’s material dating from the late 60s/early 70s, which veer from contempt at those who dismissed Christ’s claims to be the son of God in the bible (the surprisingly angry Why Didn’t You Believe? which kicked off 1969’s Hollies Sing Hollies) to a diatribe about how if God really did exist, surely he’d have intervened in the 20th century’s long list of wars and destructional tendencies by now (You Know The Score from 1971’s Distant Light, the middle section of which seems to be sung by accusatory angels floating down from the afterlife, no less). Bizarrely, the former song seems to be the most-heard Hollies song on Radio Two these days despite being an album track and not a single (you might well have heard it without realizing it was The Hollies, so unlike them does it sound). Suddenly, though, Clarke seems to have dropped the whole religious debate going on in his own songs around the time he went back to his parent band in 1974, with none of the band’s releases ever bringing up the subject ever again. Say what you will about some of the Hollies’ material—and the people who say nasty things generally don’t know very much at all—but right up until the mid-70s the Hollies’ albums are full of intellectual debates like these,at a tim when most bands shied away from anything this controversial.
**Note 2: These first two credits were used on the Hollies’ own compositions throughout 1963-1967 because, legend has it, the band’s publishers told them ’Clarke Hicks Nash’ would be too big to fit on the record label. ‘Chester Mann’, a credit only used on one or two tracks, is a poor pun on the band’s home town (Manchester if you’re feeling too tired to work it out). ‘L Ransford’ was the name of Graham Nash’s grandfather, chosen for no other reason than that it sounded good. Ironically, the pseudonym wasn’t common knowledge until about 1965, losing the Hollies much songwriting kudos in the record-buying world at large despite the fact the band had been writing their own material as early as their first album (only the Beatles, Beach Boys and Kinks can compete with this for bands starting in the 1962-64 period) and had written more original songs than most by the end of the 1960s. The later deal struck up with the band, similar to the Northern Songs deal with Lennon and McCartney, was that all three men would be credited oblivious of who wrote what—an idea that worked for the Beatles, when it was generally agreed that whichever of the pair was singing was the one who wrote the song. However, the Hollies had a problem in that they had a clearly defined ’lead singer’ in Clarke, who would naturally end up singing the vast majority of the songs, no matter whether it was he, Hicks or Nash who had written them and Hollies fans are still confused by who wrote what in most of their songs.
COMPLETE LIST OF HOLLIES ARTICLES TO READ AT ALAN’S ALBUM ARCHIVES:
'Stay With The Hollies' (1964) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-hollies-stay-with-hollies-1964.html
'In The Hollies Style' (1964) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-hollies-in-hollies-style-1964-album.html
TV Footage 1964-2010 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-hollies-surviving-tv-footage-1964.html
Songs Part One: 1963-1970 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-hollies-non-album-songs-part-one.html
Songs Part Two: 1971-2014 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-hollies-non-album-songs-part-two.html Live/Solo/Compilation/US
Editions/Covers Albums Part One 1964-1975 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-hollies-livesolocompilationouttakes.html
Editions/Covers Albums Part Two 1976-2014 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/the-hollies-livesolocompilationouttakes_21.html