What’s Your Game Now

In 1962, two childhood friends Allan Clarke as lead vocalist and Graham Nash as guitarist and vocalist formed a rock group in Manchester, England, known as The Hollies.  They had already been singing together locally for a number of years as a semi-professional duo under a number of names such as the Two Teens, the Levins, the Guytones, the Foursomes, and Ricky And Dane Young.  Eric Haydock bass guitarist who was initially a member of the Deltas spotted Allan Clarke and Graham Nash while they were singing together as Ricky & Dane Young.  Eric invited them to join the Deltas and soon after The Deltas transformed into the Dominators of Rhythm and finally they became the Hollies.  Vic Steele (whose real name is Vic Farrell) was the lead guitar player with the Emperors of Rhythm and Don Rathbone played drums.

The group went under several names, before first calling themselves The Hollies for a December 1962 gig at the Oasis Club in Manchester.  The decided to call themselves The Hollies, because of their admiration for Buddy Holly, but also as they were trying to decide on a name, the holidays were approaching and they happened to be in a room that was heavily decorated with holly.  The original lineup of the Hollies included Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Vic Steele, Eric Haydock and Don Rathbone.  Steele left the band to continue his education and in late 1962, Anthony Christopher aka Tony Hicks of Ricky Shaw and The Dolphins was approached by Allan Clarke and Graham Nash to join the Hollies as lead guitarist.  Tony Hicks insisted that The Dolphins drummer Bobby Elliott also be allowed in the group and he replaced Rathbone.  In May 1963, Ron Richards signed the Hollies to Abbey Road studios under the EMI Parlophone, the same label as the Beatles.  Their first two singles were covers of the Coasters’ ‘(Ain’t That) Just Like Me’ and ‘Searchin’’.  Both made the UK Top 30 in summer 1963 and the band set about recording their first album.  Bernie Calvert, who replaced Haydock in 1966, was also a Dolphin member.

The Hollies are known for combining their distinctive soaring harmonies and addictive melodies with some exceptionally strong, driving guitar work, and they became one of the leading British groups of the era.  They enjoyed considerable popularity in many countries, although they did not achieve major US chart success until 1966.  Along with The Rolling Stones and The Searchers, they are one of the few British pop groups of the early 1960s that have never officially broken up and that continue to record and perform.  Their recorded history contains more than 350 songs, spread over dozens of albums, EPs and singles, and although different members have come and gone, their music remains fresh and timeless.  The Hollies were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

They scored their first British Top 10 hit in early 1964 with a cover of Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs’ ‘Stay’, which reached #8 in the UK.  The band’s breakthrough into the U.S. came with the single ‘Look Through Any Window’ at the tail end of 1965 marking their most successful period.  Popular singles from around the time included ‘I Can’t Let Go’, ‘Bus Stop’, ‘Stop Stop Stop’ and ‘On a Carousel’.  Their only non-charting single in this period was the Burt Bacharach-Hal David song ‘After The Fox’ (Sep. 1966), which featured Jack Bruce on Bass guitar & Burt Bacharach on keyboards and was the theme song from the Peter Sellers comedy film of the same name, which was issued on the United Artists label.

The Hollies never received the same respect as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, as they were largely seen as a singles band in an era gearing towards albums.  In 1968, Graham Nash was dissatisfied with the dependence on commercial pop, so he left the band and teamed up with Stephen Stills and David Crosby to form the supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash, Nash was replaced by Terry Sylvester.  The last Hollies single of the ‘60s to feature Graham Nash was ‘Jennifer Eccles’.

‘Carrie Anne’ was written by Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, & Tony Hicks, and it reached #3 on the UK Singles Chart and #9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.  When Graham Nash and Tony Hicks, started writing this, Allan Clark had left the room to walk in the garden.  By the time he returned, the song was almost complete.  In order to get his name on the writing credits, he quickly wrote the bridge “You’re so like a woman to me”.  Each verse was sung by a different member, Allan the first, Tony the second, and Graham the third.  There happened to be a guy playing a steel drum on the street, and he was quickly recruited to play on the song and this became the first record to use a steel drum in a commercial pop song.  Actress Carrie-Anne Moss who is best known for playing Trinity in The Matrix, and being Jessica Jones on Marvel and Netflix’s superhero series got her name because she was born when the song was on the charts.

This song ‘Carrie Anne’ was recorded on May 1, 1967 and it was released as a single in the same month, is about Marianne Faithfull, a British singer and actress who had a long affair with Mick Jagger.  The name was changed because Nash was too shy to use her real name, so he changed the M to a C.  Graham Nash did not reveal her identity until 1995, when he was being interviewed for a documentary TV series.  Marianne Faithfull had had a brief fling with the band’s singer Allan Clarke.  Marianne is proud of her reputation as being the ultimate shag girl in rock having Jimi Hendrix, Gene Pitney, most of the Stones, Allen Clarke of the Hollies, Chris Blackwell, and David and Angie Bowie among her conquests, especially when she was able to have them write songs about her.  Marianne struck up a friendship with singer-guitarist Graham Nash, but she had the brief fling with Clarke who was married at the time.  Marianne recalled, “If it felt good, you did it.  It would have been hypocritical not to sleep with someone simply because he or she was involved with someone else!”

In order to understand this song, you need to know what a monitor is.  A monitor is a British thing for a student that is appointed to assist in the conduct of a class or school, possibly helping to take attendance, or just keep order and prevent the other students from cheating.  This song contains a metaphor about schoolboys and girls role-playing a janitor and monitor, before they grow up and how things eventually change later.  These were simple innocent games played by kids.  Then as Carrie Anne grows up, she loses her charm and the magic that she held over this boy starts disappearing, as she “played with older boys and prefects”.  The boy is frustrated, clueless and confused by her budding sexuality.  Marianne Faithfull was at Redlands on a quiet Sunday in February of 1967, the Sussex country home of Stone’s guitarist Keith Richards when it was raided by a force of twenty police officers.  She was said to have been wearing nothing but a fur rug which she deliberately let fall from time to time during the raid.  She blames this raid for ending her relationship with Jagger and her eventual downfall.

The song goes on, “People live and learn but you’re still learning You use my mind and I’ll be your teacher When the lesson’s over, you’ll be with me Then I’ll hear the other people saying Hey, Carrie Anne”.  I wonder if Graham Nash knew that in the not too distant future, that Marianne would end up living on the streets as a homeless heroin addict.  Perhaps the boy wants Carrie Anne back in his life, hoping that she has learned a lesson, but he is still weary that she might want to continue playing games that mess with his head.

Doo do doo do doo do do do do
Doo do doo do doo do do do do

Hey, Carrie Anne
Hey, Carrie Anne
When we were at school, our games were simple
I played a janitor, you played a monitor
Then you played with older boys and prefects
What’s the attraction in what they’re doing

Hey, Carrie Anne, what’s your game now
Can anybody play
Hey, Carrie Anne, what’s your game now
Can anybody play

You were always something special to me
quite independent, never caring
You lost your charm as you were aging
Where is your magic disappearing

Hey, Carrie Anne, what’s your game now
Can anybody play
Hey, Carrie Anne, what’s your game now
Can anybody play

You’re so, so like a woman to me
(So like a woman to me)
So, so like a woman to me
(Like a woman to me)

Hey, Carrie Anne, what’s your game now
Can anybody play
Hey, Carrie Anne, what’s your game now
Can anybody play

People live and learn but you’re still learning
You use my mind and I’ll be your teacher
When the lesson’s over, you’ll be with me
Then I’ll hear the other people saying

Hey, Carrie Anne, what’s your game now
Can anybody play
Hey, Carrie Anne, what’s your game now
Can anybody play

Carrie Anne, Carrie Anne, Carrie Anne

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Game Now

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s