Monday, November 5, 2012

The Hollies - two records in a series

The magic of record collecting.

The one on top is called Distant Light is the 1971 released album by The Hollies. It was the last UK album by the band to feature lead vocalist and founding member Allan Clarke, until their 1974 self-titled album. It is reputed to be the first album to come out of A.I.R. studios. The album spawned two hit singles. The Allan Clarke penned "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress," which peaked at U.S. #2 and UK #32, and the Tony Hicks penned "Long Dark Road" US #26. The US released version of the album peaked at US #21. The summer scene that is shown on the cover is duplicated exactly on the next Hollies album Romany, as a winter scene.

Bottom:  Romany is an album by The Hollies, the first not to feature distinctive, tenor-range lead singer Allan Clarke, who had left to try a solo career and was replaced by a Swedish singer with lower vocal register, Mikael Rickfors---prompting a somewhat radical reshaping of their trademark vocal harmony style. It was also the first Hollies album to feature only one song written or co-written by lead guitarist Tony Hicks, a member of the band's two in-house songwriting teams, Clarke-Hicks-Nash and Clarke-Hicks-Sylvester. Hicks was the only member of those teams to contribute a song to the album; Rickfors was the only other band member to contribute an original composition to it. The U.S. Epic version which reached #84 on the Billboard 200, omitted the track "Lizzy and the Rainman", and has a slightly altered side one track order. "Courage of Your Convictions" was the one song that sounded most like their previous smash hit "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress", but was inexplicably never issued as a single. The cover of "Romany" shows exactly the same scene as the previous album, but in the winter time as opposed to the summer scene on Distant Light.  As the album was nearing release the members of the group were getting nervous.  They made at least three changes in the album, announced a single before retracting it again which held it up for three months before finally seeing release.  After the album was released, it sold six times more copies in the first week after its release than any previous Hollies album had sold in a year. It also received more FM airplay than the band had ever got in their previous nine years.

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