The Hollies, “King Midas In Reverse”

There are many reasons why a single might fail, the most obvious being that the song is lousy. That’s certainly not the case with “King Midas In Reverse,” a September 1967 offering by The Hollies. Before considering the song’s quality though, first regard the stats: Prior to the track’s release, the band had scored Top 10 hits in their native England with four straight songs and 12 of the previous 13. “King Midas In Reverse” only climbed to #18 in the UK. It fared even worse in the U.S., staggering to #51 despite the band having hit Billboard’s Top 10 three times in the previous two years. Yet one listen today makes clear that the song is a dark masterpiece, marrying orchestral pop pomp to some intriguingly sour sentiment. So why did it struggle on the charts? Maybe it was too downcast. After all, the song’s release coincided with the tail end of the so-called Summer of Love. Blissed-out audiences might not have wanted to hear about a title character that is a walking disaster. It certainly wasn’t a typical release for The Hollies, who were known for cheery ditties like “Carrie Anne” and “On A Carousel.” Graham Nash, who…

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