Tuesday, July 12, 2011

That Stunning Moment: The Hollies: "Just One Look"

She looks at him and somehow knows; love is a baffling mystery, sometimes, but there is no bafflement here. Spring has arrived, the rush of love is in the air, birds hop from branch to branch and even the puddles seem to shine with happiness. She is being pulled to him, tugged, and she states her case finely and satisfiedly, as if she has just completed a rather difficult knot and is admiring what she has accomplished. She is not in a dream, this is real, and he is it.

Thus goes the original, co-written sung by Doris Troy; a hit in the US but not in the UK, where a band from Manchester who were always on the lookout for a good song decided to record it, and lo and behold they had a big hit.

The one characteristic The Hollies have over everyone else (save for The Beatles, of course) is their harmonies. They are strong and almost overpowering, as loud as the DC5 are in their own way. "Bright" is a word that is used to describe it, but "blinding" might be another, more apt word. It is a high, keening sound - there is no bottom to it, so to speak - that soars and uplifts, and I can imagine for some it can be wearying, because when you hear them you have no choice - you are up there with them, whether you want to be there, or not. This rather stupefying effect has to be managed carefully, but it fits this song, about total fixation and resulting ecstasy, very well*. It may be because of this quality of theirs that I get to write about The Hollies several times, but in their inimitable way they give a drama and sweetness to the charts, along with their dazzling vocal skills. But as we see next, just being able to sing in harmony is not enough, for some...

*Just over a decade from now another band from Manchester will take stupefying harmonies to another level; here "Just One Look" gets a whole different meaning.


Ann Apolis said...

You've been motoring along of late, Lena. Enjoyable read as ever :)

Lena said...

Thanks! :)