Allan Clarke

Allan Clarke, founder member and lead singer of The Hollies, joins The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation as Lifetime Legacy Ambassador of the “Peggy Sue Got Married” guitar

The Board is happy to name Allan Clarke of The Hollies as a Foundation Lifetime Legacy Ambassador of The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation. Mr Clarke was so influenced by Buddy Holly as a young musician that he and his fellow founder Graham Nash (himself a Foundation Lifetime Legacy Ambassador) named their band “The Hollies” after Buddy. With this award we try in a small way to recognize and honor Allan’s lifetime contributions to Buddy Holly’s legacy.

Allan and his friend Graham Nash began singing together in Manchester while still at school, and formed The Hollies in December 1962. Mr Clarke was the lead singer of the group, occasionally adding harmonica and guitar. Many of the group’s hits were co-written by Allan, along with Graham Nash and lead guitarist Tony Hicks. Other original members of the Hollies include Eric Haydock and Bobby Elliot. In the UK, the Hollies enjoyed thirty chart singles over more than four decades, seventeen of which made the Top Ten, including the iconic “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” which hit No.1 on its reissue in 1988. In the US, The Hollies enjoyed similar success, with 23 chart singles and six in Top Ten. This extraordinary success was a testament to Mr Clarke’s – and Mr Nash’s – brilliant vocals, inspired songwriting and the band’s virtuoso playing and harmonizing, and were straight out of the Buddy Holly playbook.

Throughout his career with The Hollies, Mr Clarke was writing and recording equally inspired solo work, which did not see as much success only because Allan always devoted his time principally to the band, and did not tour as a solo act. In 1980, the Hollies recorded one of the finest Buddy tribute albums, “Buddy Holly,” an album of covers of some of Buddy’s finest songs. In 1993 Mr Clarke, along with The Hollies and Graham Nash, contributed harmony and support vocals to a new version of “Peggy Sue Got Married” that featured lead vocals by Buddy Holly (from his original “Apartment Tapes” recordings), which led off the “Not Fade Away” tribute album to Holly by various artists and was credited as “Buddy Holly and The Hollies”. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officially recognized Allan, Graham and the other Hollies in March of 2010, when they finally joined their namesake Buddy who had been a founding member of the Hall.

Throughout his career Allan Clarke exhibited many of the talents that set Buddy apart – distinctive vocal stylings, brilliant songwriting, and inspired performances. Allan’s dedication to his craft and to the legacy of Buddy are a true lifetime tribute to the man he named his band after, Buddy Holly. Maria Elena Holly, Peter Bradley, and the entire Buddy Holly Educational Foundation are proud to honor an artist whose spirit, commitment to his craft, and to Buddy’s legacy does justice to Buddy Holly’s memory and his dreams. We proudly present Allan Clarke with the “Peggy Sue Got Married” replica of the guitar Buddy wrote many of his hits on to play and use while an Honored Friend of the Foundation.

The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation is grateful to the original members of The Hollies, Graham Nash, Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks and Bobby Elliott for allowing us to present their wonderful version of “Peggy Sue Got Married”.

Allan Clarke Responds
I am proud, privileged and honoured to be named an Honoured Friend of The Buddy Holly Education Foundation.

I was almost lost for words when presented with my “Peggy Sue Got Married Guitar” and asked to be an Honoured Friend of the Foundation. To be mentioned in the same breath as my hero Buddy Holly, was and is a humbling experience. All the years of performing with the Hollies and most of the songs written in that time, none of them “speaking for myself’ could ever match the brilliance of Not Fade Away, Peggy Sue, Rave On, and the many hits Buddy wrote in his too short career.

Buddy had the gift of arranging three chord songs into classics with lyrics to match. I could go on indefinitely talking of how much Buddy Holly meant to me, and his influence years ago that made me fall in love with Rock & Roll. Instead, just play Buddy’s recordings: they say it all.

I’m sure the Foundation would be a great start for young people, leading to the many avenues that music can lead to. There is an untapped source of musical brilliance that only needs the chance to show itself. The Buddy Holly Education Foundation could help them do that.

Lets make it happen.

Allan Clarke

David Frizzell
Albert Lee