“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” (also called “Long Cool Woman” or “Long Cool Woman (in a Black Dress)”) is a song written by Allan Clarke, Roger Cook, and Roger Greenaway and performed by the British rock group The Hollies. Originally appearing on the album Distant Light, it was released as a single in April 1972 (on Parlophone in the United Kingdom), selling 1.5 million copies in the United States and two million worldwide. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1972. Billboard ranked it as the No. 24 song for 1972.
On the day “Long Cool Woman” was recorded at AIR Studios, the group’s producer, Ron Richards, was ill and, as a result, the song was produced by the group. The song is different from most Hollies songs in that there are no three-part vocal harmonies, and the song features lead guitar and lead vocal work by Allan Clarke. Upon his return, Ron Richards mixed the recording.
The song was written in the swamp rock style of Creedence Clearwater Revival, in terms of the vocal, rhythm, and melodic style. It came out in the spring of 1972 (the same year Creedence split up). Clarke imitated John Fogerty’s vocal style, which was based on the Creedence song “Green River”. According to Clarke, the song was written “in about five minutes”. When the song made its mark in America, Clarke had already left the band, but Clarke feels that “it wasn’t unfortunate”, since he had co-written the song. Clarke rejoined the Hollies in the summer of 1973, partly due to the success of this song.
Allan Clarke – vocals, lead guitar
Tony Hicks and Terry Sylvester – guitar
Bernie Calvert – bass
Bobby Elliott – drums
Phantom, Rocker & Slick released their version on their 1986 album Cover Girl.
Country music singer Clint Black released his version of the song to country radio on 19 February 2008, under the title “Long Cool Woman”. Black’s version charted on the Hot Country Songs chart at #58.
Another country music singer, T. G. Sheppard, covered the song on his 1997 album Nothin’ on But the Radio.
Heavy metal rocker Vince Neil released a heavier version of “Long Cool Woman”, along with other covers and original material, on his third studio album, Tattoos & Tequila, on 22 June 2010.
A cappella group Rockapella released a version on their 1995 album Primer.
The energy corporation BP used it in radio and TV commercials in 2013.
“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” was the first song played by the band Phish. They also played the song at their 15th and 20th anniversary concerts.
“Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” was played by Widespread Panic on 29 October 2000, during the last of three shows on their Halloween Weekend in New Orleans.
The song was used in the 2000 film Remember the Titans. It also appeared in the films Amores Perros, The Longest Yard, The Lovely Bones, Trouble with the Curve, and Kong: Skull Island.