[midlife 150] #116: the hollies “gasoline alley bred”

July 29, 2010

Single cover for Gasoline Alley Bred by The Hollies

#116 Gasoline Alley Bred by The Hollies, single, 1970 (available on The Air That I Breathe: The Very Best Of The Hollies[buy from Amazon.co.uk]

The Hollies remind me of my childhood, in the car with my parents on the ‘long’ journey to see relatives (the trip was just over an hour, which of course feels like an age when you are small). Given this, I can’t pretend that Gasoline Alley Bred would have made it into this chart otherwise. It’s not the best the Hollies created (they were at their peak in the mid-1960s with songs like Bus Stop, a period outside the scope of the midlife 150), but it is a great song nonetheless.

It was written by Rogers Cook and Greenaway (of I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing/Buy The World A Coke fame) and Tony Macaulay (Build Me Up Buttercup). A homespun tale of American blue collar aspirations and values, its sentiments are heavily romanticised by the two Bristolians and one Londoner whose main experience of the US at that point was probably television, the movies and – possibly – the comic strip the song may take its title from. It is all the better for it.

The band use the song to showcase their signature vocal harmonies to great effect, and it contains some lovely guitar accompaniment, presumably from Tony Hicks. Listening to it now, it’s even better than I remember it.

This review is part of close to 94 ‘s [midlife 150] series, which counts down favourite music 1970-2009.

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