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Hollyridge Strings

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The Hollyridge Strings was a catchall name for the group of largely interchangeable studio musicians who recorded a series of easy listening instrumental albums for Capitol Records at the peak of the British Invasion era. The project was masterminded by music industry veteran Stu Phillips, a composer and producer who previously headlined his own series of Capitol easy listening records including Organ and Strings in Stereo before leaving the label in 1960 to become head of A&R for Colpix Records, where he produced a series of pop smashes including the Marcels' "Blue Moon," Shelley Fabares' "Johnny Angel," Paul Petersen's "My Dad," and James Darren's "Goodbye, Cruel World." In 1964 he returned to Capitol, where his familiarity and dexterity with the rock idiom made him the logical choice to cash in on Beatlemania with a record targeted at a more mature audience; the first Hollyridge Strings record, The Beatles Song Book, was a Top Ten hit, and resulted in similarly syrupy collections of hits by Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, the Four Seasons, and Simon & Garfunkel. At one point in time, no fewer than three different Hollyridge Strings LPs hovered in the Billboard Top 20, and their success spurred copycat projects from labels including Vee-Jay (the Castaway Strings), Liberty (the Sunset Strings), and MGM (the Fantabulous Strings). During his Capitol stint Phillips also headlined his own Feels Like Lovin', a minor classic of '60s soft pop that added vocals to the signature Hollyridge Strings sound. ~ Jason Ankeny

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