Hollies sing Dylan
Hollies Sing Dylan is a 1969 cover album where the Hollies sing Bob Dylan songs. It was also released in the US as Words and Music by Bob Dylan with a different cover but using the same band image and track order. First released on compact disc in West Germany in the late 1980s, it was not released in that format in the rest of Europe until 1993. For this issue, two bonus tracks, the single version of "Blowin' in the Wind" and a live version of "The Times They Are a-Changin'". A later remastered issue in 1999 added a third bonus track, a live version of "Blowin' in the Wind".
This album was recorded and released following Graham Nash's departure from the band to join David Crosby and Stephen Stills in December 1968 after early sessions for a follow-up to the psychedelic concept album, Butterfly broke down. Nash became frustrated when the other band members showed opposition to lyrics in his latest compositions. By that time, Nash was the only member of the band using LSD and marijuana and a rift was forming between him and his beer drinking band-mates:
I'd written what I thought were some interesting songs at that time — 'Marrakesh Express', 'Right Between the Eyes', 'Lady of the Island' — and the Hollies weren't interested in them. And when I said in the first 'Sleep Song' for instance, 'I'll take off my clothes and I'll lay by your side', they said, 'Hey, you can't bloody sing that. We're not going to sing that filthy stuff.' Saying those things to a stoned musician is ridiculous.
Nash quickly became disillusioned with the direction that the band was moving artistically and especially derided their decision to record an entire album of covers:
This happened at the same time they wanted to make an album with Dylan tunes. I thought even that was a sacrilege, because we were doing them like [Graham starts singing "Blowing in the Wind" in swing fashion, snapping his fingers]: 'How many roads, yeah, would a...' — a Las Vegas type thing, and it was driving me nuts. I couldn't handle it.
There have been claims that the album was hated by fans and critics alike. However it peaked at no. 3 in the UK, their third highest showing for any LP and second-highest charting for one with newly recorded material. Nevertheless, the group's next album was titled Hollies Sing Hollies in an apparent move to placate critics. In an interview for Billboard magazine in 1974, Clarke reflected on the album:
At the time I was pleased with the album but on reflection, I don't think it was a good move for the Hollies. People knocked it, saying, 'How could they ever relate to Dylan?' We thought we'd do it for Hollies fans, but I was really just reading Dylan's words, not singing them. I could have been a lot better.
Produced by Ron Richards
Photography: Ron Richards, Brian Newton
Banjo & Lead Guitar: Tony Hicks.
Bass Guitar, Piano & Organ: Bernard Calvert.
Rhythm Guitar: Terry Sylvester.
Drums and Percussion: Bobby Elliott.
Harmonica: Allan Clarke.
Vocal on all tracks: Tony Hicks, Alan Clarke and Terry Sylvester