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Ove Steen Pedersen
8th March 2015
W e l c o m e t o t h e u n o f f i c i a l D a n i s h H o l l i e s s i t e
Tony Christopher Hicks was born on December 16, 1945 in Nelson, England. He first got into music playing with a skiffle band called 'The Skifflelets'.
Tony has had the longest continuous relationship with the band. When lead guitarist Vic Steele decided not to turn professional, the Hollies manager, Allan Cheetham, had to find a replacement. Cheetham found Tony playing as a member of the Dolphins, whose ranks included future Hollies Bobby Elliott and Bernie Calvert.
Tony was apprenticed to be an electrician and had his doubts about joining a professional group. Cheetham convinced Tony to see the band play at the Oasis club in Manchester. After hearing the band play the gig, he got to talking to Graham Nash. After Nash told him that the group was going to do a demo session at Abbey Road, Tony was impressed. Tony tagged along to that session and played on a few songs. After that, he was hooked on being a member of the Hollies.
Allan Clarke on Tony joining: "Tony asked his dad, who said he could join as long as he was earning 18 pounds a week. That was fine except the rest of us were only earning 9 pounds!" (Record Collector).
While an integral part of the songwriting trio known as L. Ransford, Tony
did not provide his traditional lower harmony until some of the group's
later releases in the 60's. Tony says "I never joined the Hollies to become any part of the vocals. As far as I was concerned, the group was a two-way. When I started to put the bottom harmony on, it was always a bit of a joke because I'd never sung before. We're were always having to do re-takes in the studio because I'd get the harmony wrong. But I got more and more into it, and now I do harmonies naturally."
Allan Clarke on the Hollies early harmony "Graham Nash always put the
harmony to my melody. When we were a duo, we couldn't both sing the lead; I had the stronger voice, so Graham sung harmony. Tony didn't get into the harmonies right away. We had to find a slot for him to fit in. On some of the early records, he would sing my line or Graham's, and then jump into a harmony." (Record Collector)
In the days when Graham Nash was still with the band, there were some
differing viewpoints on what the Hollies direction should be. Tony explained it like this, "There's Graham pulling like mad to move ahead and me pulling back and Allan taking another path. I am a bit dubious about moving ahead too quickly. But the whole thing adds up to a good scene for the Hollies." (Melody Maker, October 28, 1967)
Tony is a very versatile musician. He has played electric guitar, acoustic
guitar, bass guitar, and banjo for the Hollies.
He teamed up with his friend Kenny Lynch to write a number of Hollies tunes on the Distant Light and Out On The Road albums. They wrote my favorite Hollies song of all time - Long Dark Road.
"My main contribution to the Hollies over the years, if I haven't been
involved in writing the songs, is that I've always enjoyed going round the
music publishers. Many of the hits we had I dug out of a publisher's
Hicks Fun Facts
.Though he primarily sings harmony vocals, Tony did sing lead on Pegasus, Look At Life, I Was Born A Man, and Born A Man. .Tony produced the self-titled album by Taggett, which featured their own version of Delaware Taggett And The Outlaw Boys. .Tony's wife's name is Jane. .Tony's sister Maureen is married to Bobby Elliott. .Tony and Graham Nash once owned a boutique together. .At age 12, Tony appeared with the skiffle group 'The Skifflettes' on the Carroll Levis TV discovery show.
At the same time as Tony Hicks played with The Hollies he also played in a German band called Shamrocks in some shows and recorded some records with them (Shamrocks "Live" CD).