The Road Is Long: an Evening with the Hollies.
Derby Arena, Derby Arena, Royal Way, Derby, UK
About The Road Is Long: an Evening with the Hollies.
Original British Invasion hitmakers behind He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother and The Air That I Breathe
The Hollies were one of the biggest movers in the British Invasion of the early ’60s, alongside the likes of Herman’s Hermits, The Yardbirds, The Animals and a relatively minor Liverpool quartet called The Beatles.
The band was formed in Salford by childhood friends Allan Clarke and Graham Nash (latterly of CSNY fame) and bassist Eric Haydock. A bit of shuffling of members eventually led to the addition of Tony Hicks on guitar and Bobby Elliot on drums. The Hollies displayed a knack for chiming melodies and three-part harmonies, which sent the band down a poppier route than their more R&B-influenced peers in The Rolling Stones and The Spencer Davis Group.
The Hollies had an almost immediate impact in the UK, delivering an unstoppable run of hits from Here I Go Again and I’m Alive, the latter their first No.1 single. It took slightly longer to crack the US, which the band finally did in 1966 with the singles Look Through Any Window and Bus Stop, both written by Graham Gouldman.
The band’s remarkable run through the mid-to-late ’60s came to an end when Nash left the band to form Crosby, Stills and Nash with David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Nash was replaced by Terry Sylvester and the band went on to score one of their biggest hits, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, in 1969, featuring Elton John on piano.
The ’70s proved a tricky decade for the band, stuck between their legacy and attempts to embrace the newer sounds of disco fever. Clarke left the band early in the decade only to return shortly afterwards, just in time for another huge hit in the shape of The Air That I Breathe.
Nash returned to the band in 1983 for What Goes Around… but the band’s heyday appeared to be firmly behind them. Clarke left again in the early ’90s, this time replaced by Carl Wayne, up until Wayne’s death in 2004. Hicks and Elliott regrouped with a new line-up shortly afterwards and released the band’s first album in 23 years, the well-received Staying Power. The band bagged a spot in the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame in 2010 and the three-disc collection 50 At Fifty followed in 2014, featuring the new song Skylarks.
In late 2020, The Hollies announced a huge 2021 UK tour, starting in Aberdeen and winding up in Ipswich, taking in two nights at the London Palladium along the way.
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