Friday, January 27, 2012

1974: Peace came upon me

Recovering at home yesterday after the excesses of Wednesday's National TV Awards, I was soothed by watching Look Through Any Window, a marvellous documentary about that criminally underrated and often overlooked close harmony group The Hollies.

I remember them always being a presence in my childhood as mum was a fan, but until I explored their back catalogue further as my interest in Sixties music soared as a student, I had hitherto thought of them as some tired of bunch of has-beens wheeld out for the odd guest spot on variety shows and with only a couple of hits to their name, including The Air That I Breathe, a No.2 smash in this year.

It was only on closer inspection that their oeuvre captitvated me: Just One Look, We're Through, I'm Alive, the tried but failed pop-psych of King Midas In Reverse, the wonderful Listen To Me, the groovy Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress and countless others. Graham Nash and Allan Clarke, along with guitarist Tony Hicks are one of the greatest teams ever put together on record.

So why did I find this song such a dirge in 1974? Could it be that as nine-year-old only the shiny new glam pop of Gary Glitter, The Sweet and Suzi Quatro caught my attention? Probably. The Hollies were for mums. Slade for the kids.

I'm older and wiser now, and I think this song is one of the most beautiful and complex ever made, despite Graham Nash having long departed.

Let's all sing it together.


  1. I found it strangely spooky - like Spirit in the Sky and Bridge over Troubled Water. I'd love to have heard some of those Working Men's Club bands having a pop at it, it must have been a cabaret standard at the time - plodding on with lazy bass and too many crashing high hats...

  2. I've always loved that the first things to come to the narrator's mind when asked to make a wish are cigarettes. I'm sure it was top of the list for scanning reasons only, mind.

    It's a towering chorus, a very strong melody and, lyrically, absolute tosh. I really like it.

  3. Ah, but it was written back in the days when the first thing everyone did after a good roll in the hay was reach for a gasper. It was a ritual that still persisted when my generation started shagging, but as smoking got less popular, it died out. I'm sure some people still do it. Men with grey chest hair, that sort of thing.

    I too have grown to love this song, having sniggered at it as a kid for its bold mention of 'making love with you'. For the ten year old me, that was enough to write it off completely. Lucky I'm mature now, isn't it?