Graham Nash’s Departure Was A Blessing In Disguise, Allan Clarke Explains

Allan Clarke recently sat down with Raised On Radio and discussed Graham Nash‘s departure from the Hollies and how it affected him at first, only for the rocker to realize later that Nash’s quit was a blessing in disguise.

The lead singer calling it quits and leaving might seem like a terrible nightmare for most bands, so when Graham walked up to Allan and his Hollies bandmates, declaring he wanted to separate ways, it was a nightmare come true. Nash was the creative force and the voice behind most of the act’s image, and for a minute, Clarke thought they couldn’t make it without the former vocalist.

Later on, however, as the Hollies recruited Terry Sylvester and tried their best to move on from Graham’s quitting, Allan realized that the frontman stepping down wasn’t a nightmare at all. The breakup had allowed Clarke to step up and become the act’s leader, giving him a chance to compose his hits. So, Nash’s wish to separate ways granted Allan the opportunity to discover the musical gems in him.

Allan on Graham’s departure and how he realized it was a blessing:

“[The Hollies’ success] was a lot when we were young. You start working at 14, really, doing clubs and things like that all because my brother Frank had taken us to a conservative club even earlier; that’s the two teams. I don’t know whether it was supposed to happen that we got into being famous later on… but I’m a great believer of being in the right place at the right time with the right people.

Obviously, one of those people was Graham himself. When Graham left, I was absolutely devastated, actually, because I didn’t think he had it in to do anything like that and without actually saying anything to me, but he didn’t. I thought afterwards, ‘Actually, he has left me with my family, not knowing whether I was going to be able to sort of carry on.’

So I pulled my socks up, and I said [to Graham], ‘What’s the matter with you, mate? You’re the lead singer…’ and then Terry Sylvester came along. He was a great savior for the band, and we got hits like, and the hits we had was different to what we used to record with Graham, and I think I came more to the front maybe, being the leader of the band at that particular time.

…and then being presented with great classic ideas like ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,’ and also the number that I wrote was a number two in the States, and I sort of smiled to myself and thought, ‘I’m not really worried about Graham now. I’m maybe [better] without him.’ It was a nice feeling.”

So, it’s apparent from Allan’s words that sometimes being a successful rock band is not about driving at the same pace with the same bandmates but about knowing how to keep that same booming pace when one passenger jumps out of the car. In the Hollies’ case, that passenger was Graham, who decided to quit the band and carry on his own. Clarke, however, had what it took to take the wheel and continue driving away.