Thursday, May 04, 2006


Our great God appears in unlikely places. He has range. He kills and He makes alive. He kisses and removes the gore. He slaps you funny, then slips you away to blue skies and greenery.

Perhaps the most perfect rock and roll song ever written is “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.” It is by the Hollies. Strange. My favorite group of all time is the Beatles. I should not say this about the Hollies. There is no comparison between The Hollies and the Beatles. I cannot properly defend what I am writing about, but neither can I ignore men gathered on two momentous days in recording history so vitally and unconsciously plugged into their own Maker that they define humankind by writing and performing such disparate perfections as “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” and “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”

And in the same lifetime.

This Godlike feat performed by a silliness called “The Hollies,” beats everything. I would like to know where I was on the occasions of these two recordings, and what insignificant thing I was doing when the cosmos confessed to a silliness called “The Hollies.” Where was I when the men picked up their guitars and nodded to the sound technician? What was the sun doing? Who pressed the “record” button after the count-in? What foods were in the stomachs of The Hollies when they dipped humanity’s secrets from so vast a cauldron of time as this eon? How long before the final echoes from the final notes died, and who had the wisdom to note them?

I do not know these men, or where they came from, or wither they are going, or where they went, or if they went, but were I of their number and had laid down the Beginning and the End of Humanity, I could lay down my burdens in peace—retire in perfect peace—for, as a musician, nothing would remain. What more could I accomplish when in less than five minutes I had sealed for the world the breadth of the cadence of man?

The Lord speaks in mysterious ways.

On two separate and miraculous occasions, The Hollies became as the Deity.

The Deity can speak through music, and He spoke through The Hollies in a recording studio on two separate, disparate and miraculous occasions. It is a record of the reach of man in this eon.

The Hollies. I know nothing of them except for the last will (“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress”) and testament (“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”) sealed into grooves, pressed into plastic by technicians unaware of what they handled, and delivered every day, like the sunrise, on Oldies stations.

Oldies stations, for God’s sake.

What an innocuous noun (“Oldies stations”), and what an innocuous name for a group (“The Hollies”) that soundtracked, in less than five combined minutes, the Alpha and Omega of our eonian experience.

© 2006 by Martin Zender