Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Salute To The Hollies

I just finished reading Graham Nash's biography "Wild Tales" ... what a GREAT read this is!  Highly recommended!
(You can order a copy here:

After seeing Graham's show at The Arcada Theatre last year  (review here: I couldn't wait to dive into his biography.  Graham is such a great story-teller on stage, I could only imagine how much more vivid those stories might be within the context of a book without any time or length restraints.  (Plus Frannie got an autographed copy of the book!) 

More on the book tomorrow ... 

But first I just HAD to share this story with you of what happened behind the scenes when The Hollies were FINALLY inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2010.  (Like so many others, they were overlooked time and time again ... and often finished near the top of our on-going Deserving And Denied list.  First eligible in 1988, it only took The Rock Hall 22 years to finally get it right!)

I remember there being word going 'round at the time that Allan Clarke's voice was shot ... that he would be unable to perform.  (As usual, The Rock Hall had waited too long to induct an artist with any sense of dignity.)  And The Hollies themselves said that they wouldn't attend as they had a gig that night!!!

What I didn't know (until reading his book) was how Graham Nash sprang into action to save the night and give his former band the chance to receive and enjoy the honor they so rightly deserved.  

Graham tells the story this way ...

Read on ... 

In 2010, my agent phoned and said "You're going to have to make arrangements to go to New York.  The Hollies have been elected to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame."  I was thrilled -- for Allan and me, for all of us.  I thought the Hollies shoul dhave been in the Hall a long time ago.  I don't know why we didn't make it sooner.  Maybe we weren't cool enough.  It didn't matter.  It was a great honor, even though by that time Allan had left the group due to a problem with his voice.  So I called the rest of the Hollies and said, "Cancel all your plans and come to New York for the ceremony."  I should have known better. They said, in their peculiar north of England way, "Oh, sorry, but we've got a gig that night.  We won't be able to make it."  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!  "You're not going to come?"  No, they insisted on playing their show.  "You know, you can CANCEL a gig," i said, "and you can rebook it.  It's done all the time."  Nope, nothing doing, they weren't coming.

So I called Allan and asked him to come with me.  I explained how it was an incredible circle that was being closed in our personal relationship.  "And we're going to have to sing two or three songs.  So -- what about your voice?"  He wanted to talk it over with his vocal coach to see if it was feasible.  He got back to me a couple days later.  "My coach said I really can't sing," he explained.  So I suggested we get a couple of my kids' friends from Maroon 5 -- Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael -- to do the Hollies' parts.  My son knew them from school when they were called Kara's Flowers, and they'd opened for CSN at two benefits we did for the Brentwood School.  I asked Will one day what had happened to the band.  "Ah," he said, "they are packing it in.  They can't make it in this crazy scene.  Instead they'll be dentists and doctors."  This didn't sound right to me because I thought they were talented, so I lent themmoney to make more demos.  A year later they were on top of the charts as Maroon 5.  Go figure.  Got to keep it all moving forward.

"You just have to be present," I told Allan on the phone.  After all, he and I WERE the HOllies, which we'd started in 1962.  So Allan finally agreed.  I knew they'd want us to sing "Long Cool Woman," even though that was made after I'd left the band.  Allan thought we should get Pat MOnahan from Train to sing the lead, which we did.  A good idea.

Everything was on track.  Allan came to New York.  I met him at the Waldorf Astoria, got a suite for his wife, Jeni, and him and their son Toby with flowers, water, the works.  A couuple days before the ceremony, we rehearsed with Paul Shaffer and his band.  They wanted us to do "Carrie Anne", "Bus Stop" and "Long Cool WOman."  Perfect.  Allan watched a lot of the rehearsal from the fringe of the stage, looking and listening ... and fidgeting.  I could tell he wanted to get into it.  When we got to the choruses, Adam, Jesse and Pat were right there.  Everything was fine.  But I could see Allan start edging toward us.  Eventualy he sang a line here ... a line there ... Now Allan wrote "Long Cool Woman" with Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook, and that's him on guitar on the record.  It's HIS song.  Pat was doing a great job on the vocal, but now Allan, unable to contain himself any longer, took over.  And he ended up singing all three songs in GREAT voice.  He KICKED ASS that night.  The two of us, in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  For me, it was a dream come true.  Many dreams come true, in fact, because with the Hollies' induction, every member of CSNY was in the Rock Hall TWICE, the only band to ever hold that distinction.

Enjoy this look back at The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony of The Hollies ... great memories ... and the live performance of all three tracks mentioned above.  (kk)