tribute by rob bird
I'd like to add my thoughts about Carl. The first time I saw him was at the Theatre Royal in Brighton in October 2000. At that time, the thought that someone could replace Allan Clarke as lead singer seemed bizarre. But as anyone who was lucky enough to see him perform with the group will know, he not only filled Allan's shoes, but took the group by the scruff of the neck into a new era. Songs literally sounded fresher and were delivered by Carl flawlessly. I remember the Chatham concert - at the start of the second half, the feedback speakers blew, meaning no one on stage could hear what they were singing. A huge problem for a band reliant on harmonies. A huge problem for Carl who was singing lead on most of the songs. But was he fazed? Absolutely not. Professional and talented to the end, he took control and they pulled off the unthinkable by not only finishing the concert, but doing it in style given the circumstances.
I also remember seeing them in Cologne. The Hollies were 8th on in a line-up of 13 acts. The Tremeloes, Searchers and Smokie had brought the house down. When it came to The Hollies, there were technical problems that delayed the set by at least 15 minutes. The crowd were so frustrated that they started whistling and booing, even when the band came on. What happened next was Carl all over. With a smile, a wave - and some very quick thinking German greetings, you could see him and the boys winning the crowd over. So much so, that even with a short act, the crowd gave them one of the biggest ovations of the night.
It's hard to imagine he has left us. But I thank my lucky stars I got the chance to hear his unique voice, his showmanship - and his anecdotes...if I ever get asked in a quiz "Where was Bob Dylan born?", I know Carl clouded my mind on that one many a time!
I have my memories of him - and in times of sad reflection, I feel privileged to have them.
Rest in peace Carl.