5 Memorable Hollies Songs Co-Written by Allan Clarke

Allan Clarke, lead singer of the British Invasion band The Hollies, celebrated his 82nd birthday on April 5, 2024. The Hollies were among the most popular groups to emerge from the U.K. in the wake of The Beatles.

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The Hollies’ initial hits were either covers or written by for the band by outside composers. As the 1960s progressed, though, Clarke began making more prominent songwriting contributions to the group, along with some of his bandmates, including his childhood friend Graham Nash.

In honor of his birthday, here is a look at five classic Hollies sings that Clarke co-wrote:

“Stop Stop Stop” (1966)

In 1966, The Hollies enjoyed their first U.S. Top-10 hit with “Bus Stop,” an infectious pop-rock gem written by future 10cc member Graham Gouldman that peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The band followed that success with “Stop Stop Stop,” which Clarke co-wrote with Nash and Hollies guitarist Tony Hicks.

“Stop Stop Stop” reached No. 7 on the Hot 100. The song is sung from a perspective of a man who becomes mesmerized by a belly dancer. The tune’s theme is reflected in the Middle Eastern-influenced music, and features Hicks riffing on a banjo.

Released in early 1967, “On a Carousel” also was co-written by Clarke, Nash, and Hicks. The soaring, melodic pop song uses a carousel and a carnival as metaphors for someone’s pursuit of a romance.

Nash sings the tune’s first verse solo, before Clarke and Hicks join in, sometimes doubling Graham’s vocals and sometimes harmonizing.

“On a Carousel” peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100.

“Carrie-Anne” (1967)

“Carrie-Anne” was another supremely catchy pop hit for The Hollies co-written by Clarke, Nash, and Hicks. The song was written as a flirtatious tribute to actress/singer Marianne Faithfull, who was Mick Jagger’s girlfriend at that time and who also had briefly dated Clarke.

The song featured Caribbean percussion a solo played on a steelpan. Clarke, Nash, and Hicks each sang a verse of the tune.

“Carrie-Anne” reached No. 9 on the Hot 100.

“King Midas in Reverse” (1967)

“King Midas in Reverse” found The Hollies embracing a more psychedelic sound, and notably featured the group accompanied by an orchestra.

The song, which was co-written by Clarke, Nash, and Hicks, is about a man who feels like he’s the opposite of the mythical King Midas, and brings only band things to everything he touches.

Nash loved “King Midas in Reverse,” but it only reached No. 51 on the Hot 100, and peaked at No. 18 in the U.K. The song’s lack of success prompted the band to try to focus on more commercial-friendly material. This upset Nash, and was a factor in his decision to leave The Hollies and form Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1968.

“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” (1972)

“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” was The Hollies’ biggest hit in the U.S., peaking at No. 2 on the Hot 100. Clarke co-wrote the song with British songwriter/producer Roger Cook, and Cook’s frequent collaborator Roger Greenaway also was given a credit.

Clarke has said that his vocals on the track were inspired by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Musically, the tune also seemed to be influenced by CCR, as well as T. Rex. In a departure for the group, the song is lacking The Hollies’ trademark harmonies.

In 2000, “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” became The Hollies’ only recording to be certified platinum for sales of 1 million copies in the U.S.

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