|Single by Neil Diamond|
|B-side||"Hurtin' You Don't Come Easy"|
|Released||October 13, 1969|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
4:27 (single version)4:40 (album version)
|Neil Diamond singles chronology|
"Holly Holy" is a song written and recorded by Neil Diamond with instrumental backing provided by L.A. session musicians from The Wrecking Crew. Released as a single on October 13, 1969, it was a successful follow-on to "Sweet Caroline", reaching #6 on the U.S. pop singles chart by December. The song also reached #5 on the Easy Listening chart. It became a gold record and then eventually a platinum record.
A work with a spiritual focus, "Holly Holy" was influenced by gospel music and was Diamond's favorite of the songs he had written to that point. 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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- In Here Comes the Boom, it is 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.
The song draws upon gospel music for inspiration, and is particularly noted for its inspiring gospel style lyrics.
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
- Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew. St. Martin’s Griffin. pp. 261–263. ISBN 978-1-250-03046-7.
- William Ruhlmann. "Neil Diamond: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- Whitburn, Joel (1983). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: 1955 to present. Billboard Publications. ISBN 0-8230-7511-7. p. 88.
- Jackson, Laura (2005). Neil Diamond: His Life, His Music, His Passion. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-707-6. pp. 65–66.
- Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 72.
- Neil McCormick (2008-03-05). "Neil Diamond: the hurt, the dirt, the shirts". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- AllMusic. "Fabulous Flames". AllMusic. AllMusic. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
- "Holy Smoke (1999) - Soundtracks". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- "The Astronaut Wives Club Music - S1E10: "Landing"". TuneFind.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "Lefsetz Letter » Blog Archive Holly Holy » Lefsetz Letter". Lefsetz.com. 2005-08-26. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
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