Music legend talks about re-releasing hit for NHS

POP music legend Allan Clarke has been interviewed on Radio Woking to promote the re-release of his Hollies hit He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother to raise money for NHS charities.

Clarke was on the Lara on Sunday 9am to 12 Noon show. Presenter Lara McNamee, who is recording her shows from home, used the internet voice service Alexa to call the musician at home and put her microphone near the device.

Pop music legend Allan Clarke

“It worked well and was better than trying to hold my phone near the mic,” Lara said.

She said Clarke was very humble and eager to chat.

“I grew up listening to his music, so it was just great talking to him. I told that he once had a drink with my grandad, who I never met, and my nan in Tooting. He laughed and said, ‘that’s possible – I went for a drink with a lot of people’.”

Lara said Clarke said he did not rule out a collaboration with fellow Hollies co-founder Graham Nash, who left the band to team up with David Crosby and Stephen Stills in 1968. Nash, who has lived in the US for decades, has recently said he and Clarke have been in communication.

“Allan didn’t rule out a new collaboration between them. He said the current situation would make it hard to do but not impossible but there also could be something in the future.”

Lara added: “He was very humble and happy to talk about the old days and there was not a time limit to the chat.”

Radio Woking is running a full schedule with some amendments as the studio, in The Winston Churchill School, is closed and presenters are recording from home.

Lara’s partner is fellow DJ Jon Andrews and he has been collaborating with other presenters and sharing material.

“We are all trying to help each other and with the lockdown have found we are having a big spike in listeners,” Lara said.

The Hollies’ version of He Ain’t Heavy reached No 3 in the UK and No 7 in the US after its releases in 1969. The piano was played by a young Elton John. The song became a No 1 hit in 1988 after featuring in a TV advert.

Clarke turned 78 on 5 April and decided to re-record the song for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal with a piano track by the music producer Francis Haines.

The song can be downloaded by visiting https://AllanClarke.lnk.to/HeavyFA and Radio Woking can be heard on www.radiowoking.co.uk.

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