BOBBY ELLIOTT – It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story: My Life in the Hollies
The legendary rockers The Hollies surely need no introduction as they were one of the most influential and important British rock groups to come out of the sixties along with The Who, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones, and their impact on the music scene in general cannot be overstated. Yours truly was therefore extremely excited about reading and reviewing Hollies drummer Bobby Elliott’s autobiography titled "It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story", and the beautiful thing certainly did not disappoint either. Simply put, this is a fabulous read and one that left me both laughing and crying along the way – just the way it ought to be really.
Elliott’s warm and heartfelt narrative benefits greatly from his natural ability as a storyteller and his immaculate ability to conjure up a vivid impression and vision of what it was like growing up in the UK in the 50s and eventually starting out as a professional musician in the early 60s. You can sense the excitement of the gigs and recording sessions, the fun yet grueling tours in vans up and down the country, the parties, the seemingly endless appearances on Top of the Pops, and later on the tours of the US. As is usually the case with autobiographies, the early years (including those detailing his upbringing in Lancashire and how he fell in love with the drums) are the most captivating and spirited ones to immerse oneself in. Elliott’s love of the place he grew up and how the whole aura of post-war Britain impacted him is moving, and there is a subtle melancholy feel to the pages where he thinks back to that whole bygone era. However, the book is heaps of fun too and some of the things that these guys get up to (not to mention many of the characters that they encounter along the way to the top of the charts) almost defy description and will leave you in stitches. Refreshingly honest and vividly told, Bobby’s story is a great and inspired one, but occasionally he does leave a few gaps in the narrative and skip parts where one is left hanging and waiting for a concluding sentence or a final paragraph to wrap things up. I personally would have loved a more detailed account of The Hollies’ work in the 90s up to the present day, which is to say that a couple of the final chapters in this otherwise hugely entertaining piece of work feel somewhat rushed and incomplete.
Cozy Powell, John Bonham, and Ian Paice were/are all huge fans of Mr. Elliott, which is no surprise given just how prominently The Hollies figure in the British rock music invasion, and the glorious thing about "It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Story" is that it offers much more than just a meticulous story of the band itself. In short, its 319 pages will appeal to all fans of lovers of rock ‘n’ roll in that it serves as a deeply fascinating glimpse of a truly creative and musically revolutionary world that sadly no longer exists.