See the girl with cymbals on her fingers
Entering through the door.
Ruby glistening from her navel
Shimmering around the floor.
Bells on feet go ting-a ling-a linging
Going through my head.
Sweat is falling just-a like-a tear drops
Running from her head.
Now she's dancing, going through the movements
Swaying to and fro
Body moving, bringing back a memory
Thoughts of long ago.
Blood is rushing, temperature is rising
Sweating from my brow.
Like a snake, her body fascinates me.
I can't look away now.
Stop, stop, stop all the dancing!
Give me time to breathe.
Stop, stop, stop all the dancing
Or I'll have to leave.
Now she's moving all around the tables
Luring all in sight
But I know that she cannot see me
Hidden by the light.
Closer, closer, she is getting nearer.
Soon she'll be in reach.
As I enter into a spotlight
She stands lost for speech.
Now I hold her. People are staring--
Don't know what to think--
And we struggle knocking over tables
Spilling all the drinks.
Can't they understand that I want her?
Happens every week.
Heavy hand upon my collar
Throws me in the street.
The Hollies featured Tony Hick’s banjo on this Top Ten hit, an unusual instrument for the radio, especially as it didn’t evoke country music hootenanny but rather exotic belly dancing. During the hip hop era, there would be plenty of songs written for strippers and strip clubs, but the theme itself was unusual in 1966. The narrative lyric (also unusual for a psychedelic song) seems to tell of a country bumpkin that has discovered a sensual dancer who completely hypnotizes him, similar to the rube who jumps onto a theatrical stage to save the maiden against some dramatic danger. At any rate, he doesn’t seem to know how to behave, and shocks the dancer by entering into the spotlight and struggling with her (week after week), whereupon he is (again) thrown into the street by a bouncer. It’s strange content for a pop song, as if told through the voice of Dylan’s Mr. Jones (in Ballad of the Thin Man), who is never sure what is going on during the freak show, but is attracted to it. Maybe the song was meant to express the desirability and exoticism of the new hippie scene, while at the same time allowing that it could be scary and strange. The song also may be related to Graham Nash’s visit to Morocco during 1966, the same trip that inspired his 1969 record Marrakesh Express.
Stop Stop Stop marks for me the beginnings of the Hollies’ interest in psychedelia. Included on the album For Certain Because (as it was titled in England), it shares with another cut on that album, Pay You Back with Interest, a new relationship to sound and to the group's audience. The group's songs began to be composed for a slightly older age group than its usual mainstream pop, though the Hollies’ lyrics often continued to be romantic, about boy-girl love.