The Hollies – Look Through Any Window

This song has the sixties stamped all over it. The video that I found is a good example of that. The song peaked at #32 in the Billboard 100 and #4 in the UK in 1966. This song was The Hollies’ first American Billboard Top 40 hit.

It has a distinctive 12 string that started to appear on Byrds and Beatle songs at the time.

Graham Gouldman wrote this song:

“Yes, I was on a train coming back from London up from Manchester where I used to live, with a friend of mine, and he was looking out the window. He said, ‘Look through any window,’ because we were looking as the train crept out of the station and started going through the suburbs quite slowly. We were trying to look into the houses to see what was going on.”

 

From Songfacts

Proving that not every song has to involve love, heartbreak or espionage, The Hollies released this song about the quotidian delights that happen every day. Just look through any window and you’ll see them.

Graham Gouldman, who wrote the Hollies hit “Bus Stop,” wrote “Look Through Any Window” with Charles Silverman, about whom little is known. 

As he did with “Bus Stop,” Graham Gouldman, who was still a teenager, got help with the lyrics from his father, Hymie, a writer known affectionately as “Hyme the Rhyme.”

Look Through Any Window

Look through any window yeah
What do you see
Smiling faces all around
rushing through the busy town

Where do they go
Moving on their way
walking down highways and the by-ways
Where do they go
Moving on their way
people with their shy ways and their sly ways

Oh you can see the little children all around
Oh you can see the little ladies in their gowns when you

Look through any window yeah
any time of day
See the drivers on the roads
pulling down their heavy loads

Where do they go
Moving on their way
driving down highways and the byways
Where do they go
Moving on their way
drivers with their shy ways and their sly ways

Oh you can see the little children all around
Oh you can see the little ladies in their gowns when you

Look through any window yeah
what do you see
Smiling faces all around
rushing through the busy town

Where do they go
Moving on their way
Moving on their way
Moving on their way

Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

I always liked this song as it was in the second phase of the Hollies recording career. A young Elton John – who was still called Reg – played piano on it and got paid 12 pounds. The song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100 in 1970… #3 in the UK in 1969…also #1 in the UK in 1988 after it was in a beer commercial.

The song was written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell, their only collaboration as songwriters. Russell was dying of cancer at the time and his lyrics for this song would be the last he ever wrote. The origin of the phrase is unknown, but it did appear as the title of an article in Kiwanismagazine in 1924 and then later became the motto for Father Flanagan’s Boy’s Town in the 1940s.

In 1941, Father Flanagan was looking at a magazine called The Messenger when he came across a drawing of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, with the caption, “He ain’t heavy Mr., he’s my brother.” Father Flanagan thought the image and phrase captured the spirit of Boys Town, so he got permission and commissioned a statue of the drawing with the inscription, “He ain’t heavy Father, he’s my brother.” The statue and phrase became the logo for Boys Town. In 1979, girls were allowed and the name was eventually changed to Girls And Boys Town. The logo was updated with a drawing of a girl carrying a younger girl added.

Tony Hicks (The Hollies Guitarist): “In the 1960s when we were short of songs I used to root around publishers in Denmark Street. One afternoon, I’d been there ages and wanted to get going but this bloke said: ‘Well there’s one more song. It’s probably not for you.’ He played me the demo by the writers [Bobby Scott and Bob Russell]. It sounded like a 45rpm record played at 33rpm, the singer was slurring, like he was drunk. But it had something about it. There were frowns when I took it to the band but we speeded it up and added an orchestra. The only things left recognizable were the lyrics. There’d been this old film called Boys Town about a children’s home in America, and the statue outside showed a child being carried aloft and the motto He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Bob Russell had been dying of cancer while writing. We never got, or asked for, royalties. 

From Songfacts

The Two Brothers concept precedes the magazine illustration that Father Flanagan saw. In 1921, there was a resident at Boys Town who had difficulty walking. He wore leg braces and the other boys would often take turns giving him a ride on their backs. There is a famous photograph of this boy and one of the other youth giving him a ride. Now there are several statues of the Two Brothers on the Home Campus in Omaha; one is the sandstone of the two brothers from the illustration, another is a bronze version by an Italian artist that was commissioned in 1977. There is also a version done directly from the 1921 photograph in the Hall of History. 

In 1938, Spencer Tracey portrayed Father Flanagan in the movie Boys Town, which also starred Mickey Rooney. In 1941, they made a sequel called Men Of Boys Town, where they used the phrase “He ain’t heavy, Father, he’s my brother” for the first time in a movie.

This was originally released by Kelly Gordon, a producer who has worked with Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin, and David Lee Roth.

This was the only songwriting collaboration between veteran songwriters Bobby Scott (“A Taste of Honey”) and Bob Russell (“Ballerina”). Russell, who wrote the lyrics, made his mark writing for films and contributing words to songs by Duke Ellington and Carl Sigman. Scott was a piano player, singer, and producer. He did a lot of work with Mercury Records on sessions for artists like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Bobby Darin. In 1990, he died of cancer.

Joe Cocker was offered this song before The Hollies after it had been played first to his producer Denny Cordell. The General Professional Manager for Cyril Shane Music Ltd & Pedro Music Ltd in England at the time explains: “Tony Hicks was in our office looking for songs for the Hollies (our office was not on Denmark Street, it was in Baker Street). Denny called from New York to say ‘Joe didn’t see the song.’ As Tony said in The Guardian, he liked the song and asked for an exclusive the following day. The version he heard was Kelly Gordon, who apart from being a successful producer, also wrote a little song entitled ‘That’s Life.’ His version was slow and soulful which is why I had thought of Joe Cocker to record it. Bobby Russell wrote this song while dying of cancer in Los Angeles.

We picked up the British rights to ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ from an American publisher Larry Shayne. The song was on a Kelly Gordon album called Defunked. The version was slow and soulful and had Joe Cocker written all over it. Joe turned it down, to his producer’s surprise. We had a hit with The Hollies previously called ‘I’m Alive,’ so we had a relationship with them. Also, we had a great working relationship with the Air London production team, of which their producer Ron Richards was a partner. We never considered playing the song for The Hollies when Tony Hicks was in the office. We were playing songs like ‘Sorry Suzanne.’ It was only at the end of the meeting I suggested playing Tony this wonderful song, not because it was for them, but just to share the song. We were surprised when he said ‘That’s the one.'”

This was the second single The Hollies released after Graham Nash left the group to form Crosby, Stills, and Nash; the first was “Sorry Suzanne.” Nash was replaced by Terry Sylvester. >>

In 1988, this was re-released in the UK after it was used in a Miller Beer commercial. This time, it hit #1.

This has been covered by many artists. It was a hit for Neil Diamond later in 1970, and also for Olivia Newton-John in 1976. Newton-John’s version was the B-side to the Linda Hargrove cover “Let It Shine” and went to #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

A version by Bill Medley (one of The Righteous Brothers) was used in the 1988 Sylvester Stallone movie Rambo 3.

The Osmonds recorded this and used it as the B-side of their first hit, “One Bad Apple.” 

This was used in an anti-drug commercial in Canada during ’90s. The basis was two old friends meeting again in the hospital. There are some old home movie type flash backs, then they hug and the one in hospital garb cries. >>

A various artists charity version recorded under the name of The Justice Collective topped the UK singles charts during Christmas 2012.

Casey Affleck made reference to this song when he accepted the Oscar for Best Actor in 2017 for his role in “Manchester by the Sea.” Thanking his brother, Ben Affleck, he said, “you ain’t heavy.”

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go 
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there

For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother 

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with a gladness
Of love for one another 

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share

And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother 

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

Beatles – If I Needed Someone

Mid-Sixties pop classic. If I Needed Someone is a George Harrison song that was on the album Rubber Soul. In America this was one of the four songs left off of Capital’s version of Rubber Soul…it was included on Yesterday and Today…an album that Capital put together for the American market.  It was originally issued only in the United States and Canada

George Harrison said the song was influenced by the Byrds:  “It was based on the twelve-string figure from ‘The Bells Of Rhymney’ by The Byrds.”

McCartney called the song the first “landmark” song written by George for the Beatles.

George Harrison:  “It was like a million other songs written around one chord, a D chord actually.”  “If you move your fingers about you get various little melodies.  That guitar line, or variations on it, is found in many a song, and it amazes me that people still find new permutations of the same notes.”

As a guitarist,  there are many songs that have been written around the D chord by moving your fingers in different positions. Here Comes The Sun, Woman by Lennon, Free Falling, Sweet Home Alabama, and like George said…a million others.

On January 24th, 1996, “If I Needed Someone” got its first and only release on a single.  The Capitol series of “For Jukebox Only” singles paired the song as the b-side to “Norwegian Wood” and was printed on both black and green vinyl.

The Hollies received an early version of the song and then quickly recorded their own version of the song and released it as their next single at the end of 1965.  It reached #20 in the UK, making it the first George Harrison composition to make the charts.

George made it known he didn’t like their version…but to me, the Hollies did a good job.

From Songfacts

This was written by George Harrison, who got the idea from a few of The Byrds’ songs including “The Bells of Rhymney” and “She Don’t Care About Time.” It was not Ravi Shankar that introduced George to the wonderment of sitar, but Byrd traveler David Crosby shortly after Shawn Phillips had shown him the basic steps. In 1965 The Beatles toured the US and visited Ravi at World Pacific Studios where The Byrds had permanent residency. It was also here that Roger McGuinn’s Rickenbacker jingle jangle influenced Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone.” In turn, The Byrds were influenced by Harrison’s 12-string guitar work. >>

Former Byrds guitarist Roger McGuinn recalled to Christianity Today magazine: “George Harrison wrote that song after hearing the Byrds’ recording of “Bells of Rhymney.” He gave a copy of his new recording to Derek Taylor, the Beatles’ former press officer, who flew to Los Angeles and brought it to my house. He said George wanted me to know that he had written the song based on the rising and falling notes of my electric Rickenbacker 12-string guitar introduction. It was a great honor to have in some small way influenced our heroes the Beatles.”

 

If I Needed Someone

If I needed someone to love
You’re the one that I’d be thinking of
If I needed someone

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I’d be with you my friend
If I needed someone
Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I’m too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah, ah, ah

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I’d be with you my friend
If I needed someone
Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I’m too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah

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

The Hollies – He Ain’t Heavy (He’s My Brother)

This song was released in 1969 and was written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell. A young Elton John played piano on the song. It peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in the UK charts. It was used in a commercial in 1988 and in that year went to number 1 in the UK charts. I always thought the song had a spiritual sound to it.

From Songfacts.

The title came from the motto for Boys Town, a community formed in 1917 by a Catholic priest named Father Edward Flanagan. Located in Omaha, Nebraska, it was a place where troubled or homeless boys could come for help. In 1941, Father Flanagan was looking at a magazine called The Messenger when he came across a drawing of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, with the caption, “He ain’t heavy Mr., he’s my brother.” Father Flanagan thought the image and phrase captured the spirit of Boys Town, so he got permission and commissioned a statue of the drawing with the inscription, “He ain’t heavy Father, he’s my brother.” The statue and phrase became the logo for Boys Town. In 1979, girls were allowed and the name was eventually changed to Girls And Boys Town. The logo was updated with a drawing of a girl carrying a younger girl added.

In the Guardian newspaper of February 24, 2006, Hollies guitarist Tony Hicks said: “In the 1960s when we were short of songs I used to root around publishers in Denmark Street. One afternoon, I’d been there ages and wanted to get going but this bloke said: ‘Well there’s one more song. It’s probably not for you.’ He played me the demo by the writers [Bobby Scott and Bob Russell]. It sounded like a 45rpm record played at 33rpm, the singer was slurring, like he was drunk. But it had something about it. There were frowns when I took it to the band but we speeded it up and added an orchestra. The only things left recognizable were the lyrics. There’d been this old film called Boys Town about a children’s home in America, and the statue outside showed a child being carried aloft and the motto He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Bob Russell had been dying of cancer while writing. We never got, or asked for, royalties. Elton John – who was still called Reg – played piano on it and got paid 12 pounds. It was a worldwide hit twice.”

He Ain’t Heavy(He’s My Brother)

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another
It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy he’s my brother
He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother, he ain’t heavy

 

 

 

 

Wild Tales: A Rock and Roll Life

This is Graham Nash’s autobiography.

Graham narrates the audible version and does a good job weaving through his personal history. He starts with his blue-collar family and how Alan Clarke and he knew each other since school and formed The Hollies. The most interesting part to me was the mid-sixties era living in swinging London.

He wrote about his friendship with the Beatles and him getting an advance tape of Sgt Pepper from Brian Epstein. He had a great hi-fi system at his flat and he would show it off to anyone that came over. When the Turtles came over from America they were blown away by Sgt Peppers at top volume. He went on about how Sgt Peppers changed everything and it would eventually lead him to leave the Hollies.

Graham describes being a pop star in the mid-sixties in London. Shouldn’t we all live that life? Paul McCartney calls him up and invites him over to the All You Need Is Love session for the “Our World” program to be broadcast to millions.

He talks about how his friendship with Mama Cass led to meeting David Crosby and eventually CSN being born. Graham covers the CSNY period and his romantic relationships including  Joni Mitchell. He does cover the drama associated with CSNY and the troubled David Crosby. What kind of Rockstar bio would it be without drugs… Graham did his share and Crosby did our share. Graham handled them better than some.

Graham would write simple songs compared to Crosby, Stills, and Young but many times his songs would be the hits that drove some of the later albums…songs like “Just a Song Before I Go” and “Wasted on the Way.”

One thing I can say is he didn’t hold back or pull punches…but he still comes off as a really nice guy but it is his book.

This book helped sever his relationship with Crosby…for now anyway but Nash stressed through the book how much he cared for Crosby.

I would recommend this book to not only Hollies and CSNY fans but fans of 60’s and 70’s music and culture. After reading this I listened to more Hollies songs and I really began to appreciate their psychedelic period with songs like King Midas in Reverse.