The Hollies

The Long Road Home 1963-2003 (EMI)

Reissues

The Hollies

The Long Road Home 1963-2003 (EMI) When Epic/Legacy reissued The Hollies' Greatest Hits in 2002, it included a bonus track. One: the Manchester sextet's last major hit, 1973's "The Air That I Breathe," which apparently just missed the compilation's cutoff date since it was originally issued that same year. Now, those 13 tracks are 136, sprawled across the 6-CD The Long Road Home 1963-2003. Like the Zombie Heaven box set, Long (long, long) Road is a readily available import, piecing together an "alternative history" of the Sixties chart-toppers through a cross section of some 20 LPs and an endless stream of singles, B-sides, EPs, and unreleased material. The well-knowns are aboard as well, barely; "Stop! Stop! Stop!," "Carrie Anne," and "Bus Stop" are live, the latter two from 1976. By that point, Graham Nash had been gone eight years, his schoolboy chum Allan Clarke, the Hollies' singer (the two began as Everly Brothers wannabes), struggling to keep the band viable after '72's U.S. smash, "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress." Discs four and five of the chronological Long Road are tortuous, the group's pristine harmonies and starched first wave Britpop all over the map like Styx and the Little River Band at a demolition derby. The live sixth CD resurrects '77's Live Hits from the oldies burial ground while murdering Prince's "Purple Rain." That leaves the super tight up-tempos of disc one: Beatles ("If I Needed Someone") and Stones territory ("You Better Move On," "She Said Yeah"). The Miracles' "Mickey's Monkey" proves the Hollies didn't swing. Italian singles back this up on the second disc, which is salvaged by a smattering of Hollies Sing Dylan and the band's Sgt. Pepper, '67's Butterfly. Disc three, hit-laden with both "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" and "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress" is the set winner, shelter also to The Long Road Home's titular inspiration, "Long Dark Road," a Polyphonic Spree cover waiting to happen. "Long Dark Road" is also on The Hollies' Greatest Hits.

**

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