Holland was born in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom in 1946, and even before reaching puberty played ukulele and then guitar, having fallen under the spell of skiffle music like most British youth during the 1950s and early ‘60s. As an adolescent, he switched over to the low end of the string family, an uncle fabricating his first “tea-chest bass” out of the thin wooden crates in which tea was shipped. The bass ultimately proved the instrument that steered him away from a working-class destiny. At the ripe age of 14, he began playing R&B, rock and pop tunes for dances and in clubs with local bands, and visiting U.S. artists like Roy Orbison, Chet Atkins, and Johnnie Ray. By his late teens Holland began exploring an expanding palette of jazz styles and it was clear that music was Holland’s calling.