Before Crosby, Stills, and Nash there was Clarke, Hicks, and Nash. The foreshadowing of the classic Sixties three-part harmony began with The Hollies. Following a string of hits, Hollies group members Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Graham Nash reworked an earlier song to create “Stop Stop Stop,” a unique, quirky, and very funny song about a man’s obsession with a belly dancer who appears weekly at a middle-eastern bar.
And the song sounds middle eastern. It is written in the Lydian mode (a scale based on F with no accidentals). That eerie mid-eastern sound is an electric banjo with a “slap back” tape echo played in true balalaika style by Tony Hicks. The banjo, lyrics and Lydian mode work together create a hypnotic portrait of sexual obsession personified in an exotic dancer (“Like a snake her body fascinates me.”)
In 1966, “Stop Stop Stop” went to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and also became a worldwide hit reaching the top 10 in 8 countries, including at #1 in Canada. The Hollies are one of the few British Invasion groups that has never officially disbanded, even when Nash left in 1968, and they continue to perform today. In recognition of their achievements, the Hollies were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.