Let's Stay Together; "Hope I Die before I Get Old," Screamed the Who on My Generation. but for Fellow '60S Stars the Hollies, They Just Want to Keep on Keeping on, as Martin Hutchinson Learned from Original Member Bobby Elliot
* ONGEVITY in the music business is a rare commodity.
Very few pop bands last more than five years - some last by splitting up and then reforming, sometimes more than once.
But there is one who next year will be celebrating 50 years of music making. In all that time they have never split up, and two members who were present at the start are still there now.
The band is The Hollies, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, who are undertaking a UK autumn tour ahead of next year's celebrations.
Formed around Christmas 1962, they released their first record in 1963. There then followed a string of hits - no less than 30 - that included such classics as The Air That I Breathe, I'm Alive (their first No 1), We're Through and The Woman I Love, their last chart entry in 1993.
Their most famous hit, 1969's He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, became their second chart topper when it was re-released in 1988.
Not only that, but throughout their history, and especially during the '70s, they produced some critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums.
One of their albums was a collection of Bob Dylan songs, and in 1980 they released an album of Buddy Holly songs.
By autumn 1963, the line-up of the band read Allan Clarke on vocals, Tony Hicks and Graham Nash on guitars, Eric Haydock on bass and Bobby Elliott on drums.
Hicks and Elliott still steer the ship today, complemented by bassist Ray Stiles (ex-Mud), who has been in the band since1988.
There's Ian Parker on keyboards, who joined in 1990, Peter Howarth on vocals and Steve Lauri on guitar, both joining in 2004.
Much of The Hollies' early success came from the Clarke, Hicks, Nash partnership, before the latter moved to the US and formed Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
They not only wrote many of the hits, but supplied the band's trademark three-part harmonies. And Bobby Elliott is confident that they can continue to ply their musical trade, long after the 50th year.
"Everything is good in Hollieland now" he laughs. "We've all had our holidays and are raring to go."
The band have a very hectic touring schedule which takes them all over the world.
"Earlier in the year, we were in New Zealand - I love it there - in fact, we played Christchurch just before the earthquake," he recalls. …