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Terry Sylvester (Hollies)


Don_Krider

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I like some of The Hollies hits, but I'm not fond of one of that band's former members right now. He made some comments on his website about the ill-fated Raspberries/Hollies tour back in 1972 (check out Eric's memories of that tour in Bernie and Ken's "Marathon Man" book on pages 104 and 105 for the rest of that story).

Terry Sylvester (I believe he was in The Hollies from 1968 to 1981) apparently doesn't like Raspberries --- http://www.terrysylvester.com/index.php?tmp=2&id=15 --- and says so on his website:

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Question from B in Nevada:

"There's a rumor flying about that the Raspberries blew the Hollies off the stage on a tour in the 1970's, is this true?"

Answer from Terry Sylvester:

"No, they were thrown off the tour because they weren't very good, & the promoter was getting complaints about them. Their subsequent lack of success & longevity suggests that it's highly unlikely they were capable of such a thing."

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Now, I could make an editorial comment on Mr. Sylvester's comments. I really could.

But it would seem that Terry Sylvester is unaware of the glowing reviews Raspberries got from music's best '70s music writers --- check out http://www.rocksbackpages.com/artist.html?ArtistID=raspberries for a wide selection of reviews, or that artists from Bruce Springsteen to Bon Jovi to Kiss to Rick Springfield are citing Raspberries as one of the most influential bands in rock 'n' roll, or that the Raspberries are back and showing that they do indeed have both success and longevity (and after reading his comments, they are probably ready to blow Terry Sylvester off the stage again).

But I sense that Terry Sylvester is unaware of all of this, so I won't resort to the kind of mean comments he made about our beloved Raspberries. Nope, I won't do that.

Here's why I won't do that: I was just checking the list of artists recently citing Terry Sylvester as an influence on their music ... hmmm, I can't seem to find such a list...

Don ;-)

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Even though I was only in high school, I remember a conversation I had with the Raspberries the night they performed in South Carolina while on tour with the Hollies. I distinctly recall discussing some sort of ill feelings by the Hollies toward the Berries over the crowd's more favorable response to the Raspberries throughout the tour. The conversation may have gotten to that topic after I mentioned the way the Hollies management rudely insisted I shoot no pictures of that band as they walked to the stage.

So, if it is rumor that the Hollies were outshown during that tour... the rumor was alive and well DURING the tour... 'cause I heard it directly from people on the tour in 1973.

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Don K, another great find. What a strange case of sour grapes... almost like mr. Sylvester has been carrying a 30-year grudge. He ought to get over it already.

In fact, if he had owned up to what really happened, he'd probably have just picked up a whole bunch of new fans!

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How true. It sounds as though Mr. Sylvester was very *much* aware of Raspberries' raw appeal to everyone and wishes very much to forget it. He won't be able to, however, because I think he'll be hearing an inordinate amount about Raspberries in the future, much to his chagrin. His old trumped-up story won't carry much weight then.

smile --D

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I saw Terry Sylvester last summer in Ocean Grove N.J. with the "Hermits" and Chad & Jeremy.It was just him & an acoustic guitar.He was charismatic-his tales and jokes were good.But the voice was so just O.K. that I wondered how he was THE best candidate to replace Graham Nash.Sorry to hear about his griping.he seemed nice.-Ira.

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Terry Sylvester...Terry WHO? Puleeeze...aside from a deent solo record he released in the early 70s, the guy never had much of anything going on...these days he leeches of the Hollies' legacy, albeit to about 150 people a pop. I saw him a couple of years ago and was embarrassed for him (hell, and my brother was even playing drums for the guy!).

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I saw Terry Sylvester last summer in Ocean Grove N.J. with the "Hermits" and Chad & Jeremy.It was just him & an acoustic guitar.He was charismatic-his tales and jokes were good.But the voice was so just O.K. that I wondered how he was THE best candidate to replace Graham Nash.Sorry to hear about his griping.he seemed nice.-Ira.

In all fairness, a case could be made for The Hollies' harmonies being even tighter and smoother with Sylvester doing the high parts instead of Nash...Graham could be a little shrill at times. On the other hand, Nash was obviously the superior songwriter.

Having said all this, and acknowledging that I love The Hollies deeply, I don't think there's too much question that the received knowledge that Raspberries blew The Hollies off the stage is the truth and has always been the truth. It's a shame Terry can't just acknowledge that and move on.

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Uhhh, did Terry just make a crack about "....subsequent lack of success and longevity...."????? e

Eric,

right on...

Bob Allen's point is very true... I saw the 2004 gig and it was something out of "A Mighty Wind" but with a guy from the British Invasion era... who was duping tourists into thinking he sang lead on any Hollies hit... it was odd to say the least... not to mention his quip to someone about getting back on the charts ("if only I find the right song, mate").

If the 'Berries shared a bill w/ Sylvester today, Terry would need a diaper...

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How whiny, really... It's a shame that the little green monster appears to inhabit Terry's being.

well, it's a shame that Terry Sylvester has brought it on himself... anyone who goes around singing songs that other people sang and trying to act like he was so KEY in the band that he deserves to sing them now deserves the low road treatment... he's a sacrilege to the British Invasion & especially The Hollies
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Terry is/was donkey dung compared to Graham Nash. The Hollies were very good ofcourse but, having seen the Raspberries in the early 70s, I am sure they brought an energy and intensity to the performances that would have made the Hollies show seem like a visit to a mausoleum. I am confident the story of the Hollies being blown to bits is true.

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The reason the Hollies were having a tough time on that tour, as I remember it, is that they had just changed lead singers. Alan Clarke (who had been their singer since the beginning) was replaced by some guy from Holland or Sweden or something and the new guy sounded nothing at all like him and I thought it sounded as if he was singing phonetically without knowing what the words meant. I remember being disappointed that they didn't play many of their original hits (Look Through Any Window, Carrie Ann, I'm Alive, etc.) Instead they played a lot of stuff from a newly recorded album that the audience just wasn't very familiar with. When you combined that with no Graham Nash and no Alan Clarke, they didn't sound much like the Hollies people were expecting. It was kind of like going to see the Beatles and finding out that John and Paul had been replaced by Bjorn and Benny from ABBA. Not bad, but not what you came for. e

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Great analogy, Eric.

Of course, I'd rather see Bjorn and Benny play with George and Ringo than Terry Sylvester play with the Hollies (or anyone else, for that matter). :-)

PS: I bet this single thread has given Terry more "ink" than he's had in the past 30 years. Longevity, indeed!

--Larry

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As a personal friend of Terry Sylvester, I find myself in a precarious situation, as I'm a 'casual' board contributor, yet at the same time...a HUGE 'berries fan! I don't want to upset any hard core fans here.

I won't tell anyone here that they are 'wrong'. That's fruitless. Just like anyone who makes a living as a published music critic, you all have the right to your own opinions. Everyone on this thread is defending something that they love, which is admirable. But opinions can easily be formed without being fully informed. If I may, I'd like to provide some info, for whatever it may be worth:

First - I consider frequent contributor Bob Allen, also of Syracuse, a deent (make that decent...LOL) guy...a friend and he's even my client, for God's sake! And? He's absolutely RIGHT. There were some downright embarrassing moments at Terry's show in Feb 2004. It also happened to be his second live performance after coming out of a 5 year hiatus....and 10 year hiatus from recording anything. The word 'rusty' comes to mind, and it's natural. Lack of proper rehearsal time didn't help the cause either. Our performance with him here in July 05 was a complete 180.

Second, his website comment falls under the 'aloof' category. His recollections are over 30 years old, and in my opinion...fall under classic rock & roll 'posturing'. Terry and I have spoken about The Raspberries/Hollies tour a long time ago, and I can tell you all, that he totally respects the band, and specifically Eric's composing talents. I'll see if he'll rescind the comment on his website.

Even Paul, George & Ringo's recollections of The Beatles' rise to fame in the 60's differed, as seen in the Anthology interviews of 1994. But because they're "The Beatles"...it's charming and not a big deal.

On that note, third - (correct me if I'm wrong, Eric) in his 'All-Starr Band' shows, Ringo himself sings almost every hit a key or TWO lower. Again, it is overlooked just because he's 'Ringo'. But let's face it folks, when you crack 50, the rock and roll chops leave most lead vocalists. Even Bono took 'Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' down a key when he hit 40! Terry is now 59. So what?

Fourth - there are MANY other 60's/70's/80's artists trying to keep their careers going using their 'hey-day' to make a paycheck....how about 'The Guess Who' without Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman? That's a crock, too, but it continues to happen. Eric Burden and The 'New' Animals, Richard Street (former lead singer of) The Temptations, Two Dog Night, the list goes on forever...Let the ticket buyer beware.

Fifth - thank you ERIC for showing professional respect & grace, sharing YOUR recollection of the The Hollies' lineup problems at the time, without getting into his character. You are absolutely right. With Allan Clarke's sudden departure, they and the record company were struggling to keep the brand AND the band together. Terry DID sing lead live for two years on many songs after Allan left. And yes...Mikael Rickfors from from Sweden sang lead phonetically. Not the best situation.

Sixth and last - please keep in perspective, that The Hollies were FROM England and sold very well in THEIR homeland. They sold plenty of hits (in a singles-driven industry at the time) in BOTH Graham Nash and Terry Sylvester 'eras'. In fact, they are second worldwide (in SINGLES sales) to only The Beatles. A 'deep cut' like "Too Young To Be Married" was #1 in Australia, and nowhere else. But all those 45's sold Down Under still count, don't they?

I can tell you this, though....based on what I've seen of the current so-called Hollies (the only original members left are Tony Hicks & Bobby Elliott), The Raspberries would kick their arsses every single time.

Okay...that's it. I hope this gives some perspective. Sorry this was long, but I was addressing a lot all at once.

Thanks

LiverPaul

**PS. You may want to read my post on "A Short History of Popular Song" thread after reading THIS post in order for this to make COMPLETE sense.

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Wonderful post.To this day I feel cheated.I went to a Rickfors/Hollies show-eh..I'd love the chance to hear Alan Clarke sing.I got an album of a Hollies reunion tour from the 80's-and hearing Nash and Clarke together is a real treat.-Ira.

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One look at the electrifying stage presence of Raspberries performing "Go All The Way" on Kirshner is enough to convince me that they had the potential to blow an audience away. I haven't seen any video clips of the Hollies on stage from that same period. But I'd guess that if you found one you might find substantial proof of one act being more capable of "blowing" the other act off the stage.

Bernie

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Paul, I appreciate your comments and I can tell they are from the heart. I imagine bands are somewhat like sports teams, kind of egging each other on over who's the best, and we fans tend to get a bit excited in defense of the "home" team.

I see that your band is coming to my hometown for Abbey Road On The River and I hope you all have a fun time in Louisville.

Don smile

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Paul,

Well-done.... It says a lot that you'd tackle this thread head-on. You're absolutely right that all of us who pounced on Terry's quote were defending the Raspberries. That bit of 'berries history is pretty well-documented, going back to the era when it happened. So maybe Terry was doing some "posturing," or maybe his memory is a bit selective (hey, everyone is prone to that). Either way, we couldn't let it slip by!

I wouldn't guess Terry would change his mind on how he recalls the Hollies/Raspberries reunion, unless he saw the proof in published stories.

But his line about success and longevity... geez, that's the one that had me saying, "WHAT?" Raspberries seem to be more and more revered as time goes on for what has turned out to be a long-lasting impact. It's been amazing to read and hear all the testimonials that have popped up in recent years, courtesy of the likes of Springsteen and Elton John and Courtney Love and many others.

Anyway, thanks for your post.... You were in a precarious position, but you handled it nicely.

PS: Syracuse--I lived there for a few years when I was a kid. Good memories.... I went to my first baseball game there, back when the Chiefs were a Yankees farm team.

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