The Hollies – On a Carousel

A good pop song by the Hollies. They were known mostly for their harmonies but they were a good band…they had a great guitar player and drummer. Tony Hicks is never mentioned much with the guitar players with the other British Invasion bands but he could hold his own with the others. Bobby Elliot was/is a drummer’s drummer.

The song peaked at #11 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in the UK in 1967.

Below the song is a short video on The Hollies recording the song. While they were recording this The Beatles were in the next studio recording as they both recorded at EMI Studios.

Graham Nash on writing the song

We really hit the mark when it came to our next record. Tony, Allan, and I wanted desperately to write a monster A-side. So far, our biggest hits were Graham Gouldman songs, and, hey, you take ’em where you can get ’em. But we thought we were good enough writers to land the big fish. We knew the combination, how to come up with a universal theme, the right type of hook. So we went through a shitload of ideas until inspiration struck. I’m not sure which of the three of us came up with fun fairs. We had all been to them as kids: pulling ducks out of the water, a ring around a bottleneck, winning goldfish. We thought a love affair was pretty much like going round and round and round on a carousel. And before we knew it, the song just took shape. It was all there—the words, the tune, there was no stopping it. And Tony and Bobby wrapped it in an exceptional arrangement.
You ask me, “On a Carousel” was one of the Hollies’ best songs. It’s a pop song with an infectious chorus but flirts with gorgeous shifts in rhythmic texture. The transition to “Horses chasing ’cause they’re racing / So near yet so far-r-r-r-r” features a hook that keeps the melody from becoming predictable. Tony’s barb-like accents that echo the phrase “on a carousel” demonstrate his subtle virtuosity. And the lyric captures the essence of young love without the usual moon-and-June clichés. We knew it was a hit from the get-go.

From Songfacts.

The song is about riding up and down on the carousel of emotions of a typical romance.

The B-side is The Hollies’ first attempt at psychedelia, “All The World Is Love.”

When the Hollies recorded in 1967 they were filmed by Granada Television for a documentary about the Pop business.

The earliest known record of a carousel is a Byzantine etching from 500 AD which shows riders swinging in baskets tied to a central pole.

On A Carousel

Riding along on a carousel, trying to catch up to you
Riding along on a carousel, will I catch up to you?

Horses chasing ’cause they’re racing
So they ain’t so far

On a carousel
On a carousel

Nearer and nearer by changing horses,
Still so far away
People fighting for their places just get in my way
Soon you’ll leave and then I’ll lose you
Still we’re going ’round

On a carousel
On a carousel
‘Round and round and round and round
round and round and round and round with you
Up, down, up, down, up, down, too

As she leaves, she drops the presents that she won before
Pulling ducks out of the water, got the highest score
Now’s my chance and I must take it, a case of do-or-die

On a carousel
On a carousel
‘Round and ’round and ’round and ’round
‘Round and ’round and ’round and ’round with you
Up, down, up, down, up, down, too

Riding along on a carousel, trying to catch up to you
Riding along on a carousel, will I catch up to you?

Now we take our ride together
No more chasing her

On a carousel
On a carousel
On a carousel
On a carousel
On a carousel

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

5 thoughts on “The Hollies – On a Carousel”

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