|Stay With The Hollies||1964|
|In The Hollies Style||1964|
|Would You Believe||1965|
|For Certain Because||1966|
|Confessions Of The Mind||1970|
|What Goes Around||1983|
|Not The Hits Again (compilation)||1986|
|The EP Collection (compilation)||1987|
|Epic Anthology (compilation)||1990|
|All Time Greatest Hits (compilation)||1990|
|30th Anniversary Collection (1963-1993) (compilation)||1993|
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(reviewed by Casey Brennan)
This is what you can call the definitive collection of Hollies material, ranging from their early British Invasion days to their soft rock/pop 70's hits (and three 1993 reunion songs). The Hollies were part of the British invasion with bands like The Who, Rolling Stones, and The Beatles, but they were always a couple steps lower in terms of sheer innovation and originality. Besides not having those qualites, what they did have was incredible vocal harmonies second only to The Beatles, and a good sense of writing a catchy and melodic song.
This set starts off with some early 1963 songs which are actually quite good; "(Ain't That) Just Like Me" and "Hey What's Wrong With Me" are two energetic poppy rockers which resemble The Beatles early tunes because of the harmonies (of course); the only thing different is that the level of aggressiveness is higher on these. "Searchin'" and especially "Stay" are worthwhile covers because of their rawness and fun-in-the-studio sound. It's astonishing that before they even made their first album in 1964 they had high quality songs like this, later on they would even get better.
Especially strong are "Just One Look", "Keep Off That Friend Of Mine" and "Here I Go Again" which come from the first half of 1964 and all have plenty of hooks within their fine melodies. With only a few weak tunes and some other great ones; notably "We're Through", "I'm Alive", and "She Gives Me Everything I Want" (a good previously unreleased song), altogether Disc 1 is an enjoyable listen.
Disc 2 is the strongest because it deals with their golden years of (1965-67) when they were at their most consistent. The hookfilled "Look Through Any Window" starts off this period, with it's Byrds-like chiming six-string guitar sound. A take on The Beatles "If I Needed Someone" is worthwhile, but the echoey and haunting ballad "So Lonely" is a real gem on here that is filled with emotional vocals. The next several tunes all follow in strong suit and show The Hollies moving away from their harder R & B days to a smoother, somewhat folky, but more pop/rock direction. They are "I've Got A Way Of My Own" (shows a Byrds influence), "You In My Arm" (great rare track), "I Can't Let Go", and the effective "Bus Stop" (adventerous harmonies and an overall great tune make this one of the best singles of 1966; it's comical b-side "After The Fox" is also great).
As most bands around this time started experimenting with sound, so did The Hollies. The only difference is that when they did this they were more on the lines of sounding harmless and 'cute' instead of innovative, but that's not putting them down because they still had the truly great melodies going for them. "Stop, Stop, Stop", "Pay You Back With Interest", "On A Carousel", and "Carrie Anne" are killer tunes from this era. They even go for psychedelia with "King Midas In Reverse", a tune released in late 1967 that is a horn-filled song with an anthem-like melody.
This leaves us onto Disc 3, which starts off with the 1967 single "Dear Eloise" (another psychedelic outing), and ends with their 1974 hit "The Air That I Breathe". The third part of this triple set shows their slow decline in quality, making this the weakest Disc of the lot. Nevertheless, in 1968 they were still making decent tunes like "Jennifer Eccles", "Open Up Your Eyes", "Like Everytime Before", and "Do The Best You Can", which are all footstomping and catchy. After one more great 'lost' song on here, "Man With No Expression (Horses Through A Rainstorm)" (a prelude to Nash's work with Crosby, Stills, & Nash), Graham Nash left the band and things went sour.
The Hollies went for a lighter and more generic pop/rock sound on the 1969 tunes "Sorry Suzanne" and "Not That Way At All", which are fine tunes, although they showed that their peak was gone. Rounding out this side are several forgettable songs ("Cos You Like To Love Me", "Long Dark Road"), along with a few excellent hits ("He Ain't Heavy", "He's My Brother", "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress"). The only really terrible thing about this whole set is the 3 corny 1993 reunion songs that come at the end, but that's just a small misfortune. This is an excellent set comprised of The Hollies' British invasion pop/rock tunes that make you hum and sing along with them.
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