I Can't Let Go

Album: Greatest Hits (1966)
Charted: 2 42

Songfacts®:

  • The Hollies wrote a lot of their own material but many of their hits were written by outside songwriters - "Bus Stop," for instance, was penned by Graham Gouldman. "I Can't Let Go" was written by Al Gorgoni and Chip Taylor. Taylor, who is actor Jon Voight's brother, went on to write "Wild Thing" for The Troggs.
  • Running an efficient 2:24, this is one of those song that sounds cheerful but tells a sad story. The guy in the song has been dumped, and he can't let go.
  • This was originally recorded in 1965 by Brooklyn singer Evie Sands, but her version failed to register in the charts. The Hollies decided to cover the song after the British music publisher Dick James played it to the group's guitarist Tony Hicks.
  • Linda Ronstadt recorded this in 1980. Her version, which hit #31 in the US, is surprisingly true to the Hollies recording. She used double-tracking to duet with herself on the chorus with the counter melody. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ken - Louisville, KY

Comments: 11

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1966 {March 17th} the Hollies "I Can't Let Go" peaked at #2* {for 3 weeks} the the United Kingdom's Official Top 50 Singles chart, the three weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for those three weeks was "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" by the Walker Brothers...
    As noted above, "I Can't Let Go" reached #42 on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    Between 1963 and 1993 the Manchester, England band had thirty three records on the UK Singles chart, eighteen made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "I'm Alive" for three non-consecutive weeks in June of 1965 and "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" for two weeks in September of 1988...
    * "I Can't Let Go" was the Hollies' second of four of their records to peak at #2, their three other #2 records were "Just On e Look" {1964}, "Stop Stop Stop" {1966}, and "The Air That I Breathe" {1974}...
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the UK Singles' Top 10 on March 17th, 1966:
    At #3. "Sha La La La Lee" by the Small Faces
    #4. "Groovy Kind of Love" by the Mindbenders
    #5. "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys
    #6. "Shapes of Things" by the Yardbirds
    #7. "Backstage" by Gene Pitney
    #8. "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" by the Kinks
    #9. "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra
    #10. "Make The World Go Away" by Eddy Arnold
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyHappy 68th Birthday to Linda Ronstadt (July 15th, 2014)...
    Half her lifetime ago on July 15th, 1980, on her 34th birthday, she made her stage debut; playing and singing the role of Mabel in 'The Pirates of Penzance' at the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park...
    And on this same day in 1980 she was at #38 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart with a covered version of the Hollies' "I Can't Let Go", eventually it would peak at #31 and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100.
  • Bob from San Gabriel, CaThe original Evie Sands version is available on Rhino Records' "Best of the Girl Groups, Vol. 1" (along with a lot of other great songs). There's also Evie's 21st Century update--a live performance in 2006 with Adam Marsland's Chaos Band in the CD "Long Promised Road". The cut starts out with the distinctive bass line, that the Evie fans in the audience recognize immediately, and Adam introduces the song with "If any other band did this it would be a cover. Before Linda Ronstadt did it, before the Hollies did it, Evie Sands did it! And we think she ought to be able to sing her own song. Don't you?" And there's a big "Yeah!" from the audience (might have even been me) and Evie proceeds to show everyone that others may borrow the song, but she OWNS it!


  • Andoline from Pretoria, South AfricaJust a little point about the so -called cover of " If I Needed Someone"...At the time there were better songs around to record but The Hollies were flattered to be informed that George Harrison was writing a song "Specially For The Hollies"...Only after they've recorded and released it ,they learnt that The Beatles are releasing it too...Mr. Harrison then even went as far as to "bad mouth" The Hollies's version in the press...I prefer The Hollis version...And I love "I can't Let Go"...
  • Zal from Rochester, NyI love the 12-string guitar (probably a Rickenbacker), very reminiscent of the Beatles and Byrds (They covered If I Needed Someone", y'know).
    A real great song, one of the best.
  • Harold from San Bernadino, CaFrancis,NY-------i agree. in fact, i can't really decide which i like better---they're both great versions!
  • Francis from Long Island, NyRondstadt's version was fine all around!!!
    Just as much energy and feeling as The Hollies had with theirs. Just as strong too.
  • Steve from Westlake , Oh'I Can't Let Go' hit #42 in 1966 on the Billboard Charts. Paul McCartney was quoted as saying he thought Nash's 'Baby Plaease' tag on the chorus was a trumpet.
  • Mike from Streamwood, IlThis was the Hollies' best song!
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumWhen a song is a hit in the UK we also hear it in Belgium, it's a very good one, I love it.
  • Tom from Gloucester Twp., NjSince this song didn't make the US charts, I didn't hear it until I bought "The History of British Rock" LP in the mid-1970s. I love this song. It has a good, rich sound, the harmonies are excellent and the music is even better. A shame it wasn't a hit in the States.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Protest SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know your protest songs (including the one that went to #1)?

Marvin GayeFact or Fiction

Did Marvin try out with the Detroit Lions? Did he fake crazy to get out of military service? And what about the cross-dressing?

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"They're Playing My Song

"How much does it cost? I'll buy it?" Another songwriter told Jonathan to change these lyrics. Good thing he ignored this advice.

Chris TomlinSongwriter Interviews

The king of Christian worship music explains talks about writing songs for troubled times.

Jimmy JamSongwriter Interviews

The powerhouse producer behind Janet Jackson's hits talks about his Boyz II Men ballads and regrouping The Time.

Emmylou HarrisSongwriter Interviews

She thinks of herself as a "song interpreter," but back in the '80s another country star convinced Emmylou to take a crack at songwriting.