Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Takes Flight

Smack! The Hollies plant smooches on the real life Jennifer Eccles. Photo from The Hollies Live tour book.

Today’s post is dedicated to my lovely wife Pam, and concerns the song we chose as the first dance for our wedding. Like The Beatles’ “Across The Universe,” The Hollies’ “Wings” was originally only available on No One’s Gonna Change Our World, a various artists charity album that benefited the World Wildlife Fund. It was released in 1969, and also featured a version of “What The World Needs Now Is Love” by Cilla Black, “Bend It” by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, and “Marley Purt Drive” by The Bee Gees.

“Wings” is a romantic ballad that mixes nature, magic, and a touch of defiance. The lyrics, set to a delicately beautiful arrangement, celebrate the uplifting power of love, and ask, “Why do they want us to walk when we can fly?” This could be a comparison to a butterfly (the U.K. title of one of The Hollies’ best albums), or maybe the two lovebirds are actually able to take flight. The only thing stopping them are jealous people and disbelievers. “If they break us up, we’ve only got ourselves to blame,” the song concludes. This rare gem is another example of why The Hollies are a benchmark for harmony vocals to this day. “Wings” is now available on various Hollies compilations.

Incidentally, the photo above depicts a meeting between The Hollies and a young Scottish woman named Jennifer Eccles. The title for the band’s hit single “Jennifer Eccles” was derived from the first name of lead vocalist Allan Clarke’s wife, and the maiden name of Graham Nash’s wife. They were surprised to learn there was an actual a person by that name, who turned out to be an avid Hollies fan.

Happy Valentine's Day to all who visit this blog.

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