Guide to British Music of the 1960s

May 2021

CD Review: The Hollies - Stay With the Hollies

The Hollies emerged from Manchester in the early 1960s. The members of the band had been playing in different local groups and they finally came together with the classic line-up that launched a series of classic 1960s pop singles. The group's first two albums were effectively the stage set, primarily covers of US artists and similar to other groups playing live in the north-west. The groups used to compete to be the first to start playing a new song! After the success of the Beatles, record company A&R men rushed up to Liverpool and Manchester. After seeing them at Liverpool's Cavern Club, Ron Richards signed the Hollies to EMI's Parlophone label. He brought them down to London where they began recording at EMI's Abbey Road Studios.

One thing that set the Hollies apart from their contemporaries was their vocal harmonies. This became a trademark of the Hollies' sound. An interesting track here is Little Richard's Lucille which is sung in the style of the Everley Brothers' version. Given that Allan Clarke and Graham Nash had been playing as a duo before forming the Hollies, it is very likely that the American brothers had a major influence on the Hollies sound. The addition of Tony Hicks on lead guitar added to the vocal harmonies.

Many of the songs were shared with other bands as they rushed to learn versions of popular songs. The Beatles, for example, included I'm Talking About You, Mr Moonlight and Memphis Tennessee in their sets; the Rolling Stones included You Better Move On. As such, this is a fairly typical live set with two contributions from Chuck Berry as well as Arthur Alexander, a favourite of John Lennon, Ray Charles, Berry Gordy Jr, Little Richard and others.

A particularly interesting track is What'Cha Gonna Do 'Bout It. This shoudl not be confused with the Small Faces' debut single. The Hollies track is a cover version of an original by Doris Troy. Incidentally, Doris Troy also recorded Just One Look, a cover of which was later a hot for the Hollies.

By 1964, very few bands were writing their own material, or at least not releasing it. However, this would change as Graham Nash, in particular, emerged as a great songwriter. The live set consisted of cover versions and, as a result, so did most of the LP.  The exception is Nash and Clarke's Little Lover which is one of the stand-out tracks on the LP with its call & response vocals.

The track Stay was released as a single two months earlier and reached number 8 in the UK charts. This was the band's third single.

This is a great debut album from  band that was going to go on to greater things in the 1960s.

Parlophone PMC 1220

Original release: 1 January 1964

Essential Tracks

  • Stay
  • Little Lover
  • What'Cha Gonna Do 'Bout It

Track Listing:

Side One

  1. I'm Talking About You
  2. Mr Moonlight
  3. You Better Move On
  4. Lucille
  5. Baby Don't Cry
  6. Memphis
  7. Stay

Side Two

  1. Rockin' Robin
  2. What'Cha Gonna Do 'bout It
  3. Do You Love Me
  4. It's Only Make Believe
  5. What Kind of Girl Are You
  6. Little Lover
  7. Candy Man

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