Holly Holy

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"Holly Holy"
Holly Holy cover.jpg
Single by Neil Diamond
B-side"Hurtin' You Don't Come Easy"
ReleasedOctober 13, 1969
Format7" 45 RPM
GenrePop, soft rock
Length4:27 (single version) 4:40 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond singles chronology
"Sweet Caroline"
"Holly Holy"

"Holly Holy" is a song written and recorded by Neil Diamond with instrumental backing provided by the American Sound Studio house band in Memphis. Released as a single on October 13, 1969,[1] it was a successful follow-on to "Sweet Caroline", reaching #6 on the U.S. pop singles chart by December.[2][3] The song also reached #5 on the Easy Listening chart.[4] It became a gold record and then eventually a platinum record.[1]

A work with a spiritual focus,[5] "Holly Holy" was influenced by gospel music[1] and was Diamond's favorite of the songs he had written to that point.[3] It begins quietly with acoustic guitar against a bass line, with the sparse lyric stretched with elongated vowels. Gradually the arrangement builds with a tempo shift in the bridge and a backing choir against strings lasting throughout.

"Holly Holy" was later included on Diamond's November 1969 album Touching You, Touching Me.[1] It has been included in live versions on Diamond's Hot August Night (from 1972) and Greatest Hits: 1966–1992 (from 1992) as well as various compilations.

Chart history[edit]

Other versions[edit]

  • Produced by Clancy Eccles in 1970, the song was an instant success for Jamaican reggae group the Fabulous Flames, almost crossing into the UK's popular music chart.[15]
  • Reggae singer John Holt covered the song in 1971. His version is included on Solid Gold Coxsone Style, a compilation of Coxsone Dodd's recordings.
  • A treatment of "Holly Holy" by Jr. Walker & the All Stars was a modest R&B hit in 1971.[1]
  • Holly Holy was sung by Cher in her 1970s variety show.
  • Nancy Sinatra covered the song for her second TV special "Movin' with Nancy on Stage" in 1971. Her studio recording was released on her 2013 album Shifting Gears.
  • "Holly Holy" was covered in 1998 by UB40.
  • "Holly Holy" was a key soundtrack song in Holy Smoke![16]
  • In Here Comes the Boom, the original 1969 recording of the song is used along with an NSFW remix recording by Diamond accompanied by rapper MJ Ultra, and it is also sung by Charice.
  • It was used in Saving Silverman.
  • "Holly Holy" was played at the end of "Landing", the season 1 finale of The Astronaut Wives Club.[17]


The song draws upon gospel music for inspiration, and is particularly noted for its inspiring gospel style lyrics.[18]

Call the sun in the dead of the night
And the sun's gonna rise in the sky
Touch a man who can’t walk upright
And that lame man, he’s gonna fly
And I fly
And I fly


  1. ^ a b c d e William Ruhlmann. "Neil Diamond: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1983). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: 1955 to present. Billboard Publications. ISBN 0-8230-7511-7. p. 88.
  3. ^ a b Jackson, Laura (2005). Neil Diamond: His Life, His Music, His Passion. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-707-6. pp. 65–66.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 72.
  5. ^ Neil McCormick (2008-03-05). "Neil Diamond: the hurt, the dirt, the shirts". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1970-01-10. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  7. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1970-01-10. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  8. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 9 January 1970
  9. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  10. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  11. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, January 3, 1970
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  13. ^ Australian-charts.com
  14. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca.
  15. ^ AllMusic. "Fabulous Flames". AllMusic. AllMusic. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Holy Smoke (1999) - Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  17. ^ "The Astronaut Wives Club Music - S1E10: "Landing"". TuneFind.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  18. ^ "Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive Holly Holy » Lefsetz Letter". Lefsetz.com. 2005-08-26. Retrieved 2014-07-28.

External links[edit]