On a Carousel

"On a Carousel" is a song written by Allan Clarke, Graham Nash and Tony Hicks. It was released by The Hollies as a single in February 1967, having been recorded the previous month, on the Parlophone label in the UK and Imperial in the US. Nash would opine: "'On a Carousel' was one of the Hollies' best songs. It's a pop song with an infectious chorus, but flirts with gorgeous shifts in rhythmic texture [that keep] the melody from becoming predictable. And the lyric captures the essence of young love without the usual moon-and-June cliches. We knew it was a hit from the get-go."[2]

"On a Carousel"
US Picture Sleeve
Single by The Hollies
B-side"All the World Is Love"
ReleasedUK: 10 February 1967
Recorded11 & 13 January 1967
Abbey Road Studios[1]
LabelUK: Parlophone R5562
US: Imperial 66231
Songwriter(s)Graham Nash
Allan Clarke
Tony Hicks
Producer(s)Ron Richards
The Hollies singles chronology
"Stop Stop Stop"
"On a Carousel"
"Carrie Anne"

Original recording

Nash would recall that prior to "On a Carousel", "our biggest hits were Graham Gouldman songs ... Tony, Allan and I wanted desperately to write a monster A-side ... We thought we were good enough writers, we knew the combination, how to come up with a universal theme, the right kind of hook. So we went through a shitload of ideas until inspiration struck. I'm not sure which of the three of us came up with funfairs ... We [realized] a love affair was pretty much like going round and round and round on a carousel. And before we knew it the song just took shape. It was all there, the words, the tune, there was no stopping it. And Tony and Bobby [Elliott] wrapped it up in an exceptional arrangement." [2]

"On a Carousel" was the Hollies first A-side on which Graham Nash sang lead vocals, although only for the first few lines. It was the Hollies' second-last single to be released in the US by Imperial before the band switched to the Epic label. The song was a hit in the UK, peaking at #4 on the single charts, and in Canada it made #7 in the RPM Magazine charts. It was also a moderate hit in the United States, peaking at #11 on the Billboard chart.


Chart (1967) Peak
Australia (Go-Set)[3] 14
West Germany (Official German Charts)[4] 8
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[5] 16
Norway (VG-lista)[6] 10
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[7] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 11

Other versions

  • Mike Vickers, formerly a member of Manfred Mann, recorded the song for his 1968 debut album, I Wish I Were a Group Again.
  • Progressive rock band Glass Moon covered the song in 1982 on their second studio album Growing in the Dark.
  • American rock duo Shaw Blades recorded a version in 2007 for their covers album Influence.


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