Bray People

Beer ad gives The Hol­lies their first No.1 in 23 years

- Entertainment · Musicians · Celebrities · Music · Classic Rock · Rock Music · Manchester · United Kingdom · United States of America · Electric & Musical Industries, Ltd. · Akon · London · Elton John · The Hollies · Justice League Unlimited · Bobby Scott · Bob Russell · Elton · Bill Withers · Morten Harket

FOR all their pop­u­lar­ity, Manch­ester’s The Hol­lies only made the top of the UK charts once in their heydey - with ‘I’m Alive’ in 1965.

In 1988, tour­ing the ‘clas­sic rock’ cir­cuit and with­out a chart hit in a decade and a half, they found them­selves back at the top thanks to the use of one of their past hits in a TV beer ad for Miller Lite.

‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ had pre­vi­ously been re­leased by the Hol­lies in 1969, reach­ing No. 3 in the UK charts and No. 7 in the US.

In reach­ing num­ber one, the re-re­lease created a chart record for the length of time be­tween chart-top­ping sin­gles for one artist of 23 years.

The suc­cess of the sin­gle spurred EMI to re­lease the com­pi­la­tion ‘All The Hit & More: The De­fin­i­tive Col­lec­tion’ in Septem­ber 1988. It made No. 51 in the UK al­bums chart - the first Hol­lies al­bum to chart since the ‘20 Golden Greats’ com­pi­la­tion a decade ear­lier.

‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’ wasn’t a Hol­lies orig­i­nal. The bal­lad was co-writ­ten by Amer­i­can song­writ­ers Bobby Scott and Bob Russell and in­tro­duced to the Hol­lies by Russell’s son-in-law Jef­ferey Spearitt, who was liv­ing in Lon­don at the time.

Bob Russell was dy­ing of lym­phoma when he and Scott col­lab­o­rated on ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother’. He passed away in Fe­bru­ary 1970, just months af­ter the Hol­lies first scored a hit with the song. Fa­mously, El­ton John - then a ses­sion mu­si­cian - played pi­ano on both ‘He Ain’t Heavy...’ and Hol­lies’ 1970 hit ‘I Can’t Tell The Bot­tom From The Top’.

The top ten this week in 1988 was also sec­ond chance sa­loon for Bill With­ers whose best-known song was back at No. 4 thanks to a ‘Sun­shine Mix’ remix by Dutch DJ Ben Liebrand.

‘Lovely Day’ - no­table for With­ers’ sus­tained 18-sec­ond long note to­wards the end - was first re­leased in late 1977 when it peaked at No. 6 on the Bill­board Hot 100 in the US and at No. 7 in the UK. With­ers’ note is be­lieved to be the sec­ond-long­est in UK chart his­tory: Morten Har­ket of A-ha’s 20-sec­ond note in their 2,000 sin­gle ‘Sum­mer Moved On’ is thought to be the long­est

Liebrand’s remix of ‘Lovely Day’ re­sulted in re­newed in­ter­est in the With­ers orig­i­nal, which saw a surge in air­play into the early 1990s and came to firmly over­shadow the ra­dio pres­ence of Liebrand’s ver­sion.

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 ??  ?? El­ton John played pi­ano on the Hol­lies’ hit.
El­ton John played pi­ano on the Hol­lies’ hit.
 ??  ?? The Hol­lies.
The Hol­lies.

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