The Hollies have been credited with pioneering the three-part vocal harmony, were on the first episode of Top Of The Pops and are credited with having more hits in Britain during the 1960’s and 1970’s than even The Beatles. CHRIS HAVERCROFT speaks to driving force Tony Hicks ahead of their shows at Crown Theatre this Friday- Saturday, February 7-8.
Many bands are reforming to cash in on some nostalgia and do a reunion tour. This isn’t something that The Hollies have needed to contend with because they have been an ongoing concern for half a century.
It is a remarkable feat that puts them in a group with very few peers who can boast the same credentials.
“We have never actually stopped performing over all those years,” boasts a proud Hicks. “When we started, bands only stuck around for two or three years, but here we are 50 years on and it feels as good, if not better than ever and that is why we still do it. We were in Australia for the first time in a long time just over 12 months ago and had a great time so we are looking forward to doing it again.
“When we arrive in Australia this time it will be the first gigs that we will have done in a couple of months. When we get together as the band we won’t have seen each other for a while and there will be new stories to tell and it keeps it fresh for ourselves and the audience that we play for.”
The Hollies have remained one of Britain’s best loved groups in no small part to their soaring, distinctive harmonies, brilliantly crafted songs, and often experimental musicianship and arrangements. It doesn’t hurt one bit that they have a cupboard-load of hits (Jennifer Eccles, Look Through Any Window, Bus Stop, Just One Look, Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress, He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother, The Air That I Breathe) that they can draw from, ensuring that each show is full of memories and good times.
“We play the hits because that is what people come along for, but over the past five years we have added a few songs from out latest records – the ones that we like. We are lucky that we have enough songs that people know that we are able to play them for a couple of hours. We recorded a live record a little while ago (Hollies Live Hits) and that is pretty much what you can expect when we come to Australia.”
Hicks is quick to state that nobody sells a lot of records these days and it is the live show that keeps bands in people’s minds and hearts. For this reason it is important that bands ensure the fans have a good time. The Hollies have been known for the impressive light show that has accompanied them for the past 25 years, and as Hicks would be quick to remind people, “you don’t come over with a couple of amplifiers and away you go.
“The songs that get to number one these days don’t sell as many records as we used to sell in a day at out peak. Music is in a very strange place these days. The live show is where things are most genuine and even a lot of the new artists may be miming at some stages. The way that we had it was a lot more natural in our early years. I suppose the internet has some advantages but it also has some negatives. There is nowhere near as much effort and pride put into the packaging as their used to be. It’s all a little soulless – the marketing these days – which is why I think people like come and see us, in some ways. It’s a way to remember different musical times.”
The Hollies play Crown Theatre this Friday- Saturday, February 7-8.
Get your tickets here.