Beginnings in Salford: Early Life and Musical Influences
Singer/guitarist/songwriter Allan Clarke is one of the founders of The Hollies. He has also maintained a very successful solo career. Allan and his childhood friend, Graham Nash began singing together in Manchester in the ’50s. Adding Eric Haydock, (Don Rathbone) and Bobby Elliot they became the Fourtones in 1961 and then The Deltas in 1962. By early 1963, when they added Tony Hicks on guitar and signed a record contract, they had become The Hollies.
Harmony in Formation: Co-founding The Hollies
The Hollies’ initial repertoire consisted of American R&B songs (though they soon began to write original material), and their defining characteristic was a strong vocal style, usually with Allan Clarke in the lead and Graham Nash and Tony Hicks providing harmonies. As a songwriter, Clarke collaborated with Nash and Hicks to pen some of The Hollies’ most iconic songs. In the U.K., the band enjoyed huge singles success, starting with “Just Like Me,” the first of 29 chart singles, 17 of which made the Top Ten, with two — “I’m Alive” and “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” — reaching #1
Charting Success: The Rise of The Hollies in the '60s
The Hollies’ appearances on the U.S. charts were less successful, though they managed to rack up 23 chart singles, six of which hit the Top Ten. Graham Nash decamped at the end of 1968 to form Crosby, Stills and Nash but The Hollies continued on.
Solo Sojourn: Allan Clarke's Brief Departure and Solo Career
Allan Clarke quit The Hollies in August 1971 and launched a solo career, during which he made three albums: My Name Is ‘arold (1972), Heaadroom (1973), and Allan Clarke (1974). Despite the solo endeavor, he rejoined The Hollies in 1973, and the band continued to produce hits, notably “The Air That I Breathe.”
Reunion and Continued Triumphs: Returning to The Hollies in 1973
Allan rejoined The Hollies in 1973, but maintained his solo career, releasing I’ve Got Time in 1976. He left a second time in 1978 and produced I Wasn’t Born Yesterday, but returned later the same year.
Allan’s subsequent albums included Legendary Heroes (1979) and The Only One (1980), plus a Best Of compilation in 1981. In 1983, Graham Nash rejoined Clarke, Elliott, and Hicks in The Hollies for the album What Goes Around and then a reunion tour. The Hollies continued without Graham after that.
Legacy of Harmony: Allan Clarke's Enduring Impact on Rock Music
Allan Clarke’s legacy extends beyond his contributions to The Hollies, encompassing solo ventures, songwriting brilliance, and a significant footprint in the evolution of rock music. His name is synonymous with harmony, melody, and the timeless resonance of classic rock.
With one of the most distinguished voices in British music history, Allan has now made a dramatic return to the musical frontline. As a co-founder of The Hollies – between 1963 and 1988, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees amassed an incredible 18 top ten and 30 top 40 UK hits and sold scores of millions of singles and albums all over the world. As a soloist, he recorded 8 studio albums between 1972 and 1989.
Allan Clarke: Resurgence
Now Allan is adding a new chapter to his unique story. The singer and writer has recently released his latest album, aptly titled Resurgence. The background to Clarke’s re-emergence is a tale of new technology, encouragement from his loved ones and a gift for songcraft that stayed with him even when he left the stage. It is also the culmination of his long-standing desire to collaborate, once again, with his childhood friend, Graham Nash. Take a listen to it – as you would expect from Allan – it’s simply brilliant!