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Listen to Me - the Hollies

We'd better have something English and Northern for sixties week, and not much better comes from the "other" Northern city.

This was the last single that Graham Nash recorded with the Hollies before leaving the band and heading off to la in search of Joni Mitchell in whose front room in Laurel Canyon he bumped into David Crosby and Stephen Stills. Among many reasons for quitting, not least was the fact that they had refused to record his new song "Marrakesh Express" as the follow up. The Hollies? Marrakesh Express? In retrospect, the mind boggles.

This however is a great little number, the singer, Alan Clarke trying to persuade his friend that he should start caring about love again. But it is a very English opening, like the prologue in an Elizabethan play, or a Canterbury tale, a demand to pay attention:

"Listen to me I'll sing a song to change your mind."

It's a wonderful song, great tune, neat lyrics. But the most memorable feature is the Morse code style repeating high note(is it the top note of a piano?) alternating with a staccato vocal -gtag gtag, gtag gtag tag - which sounds like a desperate attempt to get through, like sending a wire in the wild west.

But weirdly, this is one of those songs you spend your life singing the wrong words to, believing they're the right ones.

The refrain at the end of each verse, I'm sure your realise and sing along to because it's so catchy, is:

"and very soon you've forgotten" (for example)...

"..that you can't buy love."

But it isn't: it's a bizarrely unsingable line, much stranger the the line from the Association song of four nights ago. namely:

"....that you didn't care about love" It doesn't sound anything like what you hear, but that's what it is. And it's well nigh impossible to sing these words to the tune of the song, just try it.

Which just emphasises that the is a song about communication, and not hearing or understanding what the other guy is saying. Which, when you get down to it, is why Graham Nash left the group.

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