Herman's Hermits

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Herman's Hermits
Herman's Hermits 1968 US television concert special.JPG
Herman's Hermits in 1968. From L-R: Keith Hopwood, Karl Green, Derek Leckenby, frontman Peter Noone, and Barry Whitwam
Background information
Origin Manchester, England
GenresBeat, pop
Years active1964–present
Labels Columbia (EMI), MGM
Website hermanshermits.com
Members Barry Whitwam
Geoff Foot
Paul Cornwell
Tony Hancox
Past members Derek Leckenby
Keith Hopwood
Karl Green
Peter Noone

Herman's Hermits are an English beat rock band formed in Manchester in 1964, originally called Herman & The Hermits. Harvey Lisberg discovered them and signed on as their manager. He sent a plane ticket to Mickie Most so that he could come up from London to see the band play in Bolton, and Most became the group's record producer, controlling the band's output. He emphasised a simple, non-threatening, clean-cut image. This helped Herman's Hermits become hugely successful in the mid-1960s.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's second-most populous built-up area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

Harvey Lisberg British music manager

Harvey Brian Lisberg is an English music and sporting manager and impresario, best known for discovering Herman's Hermits in 1963 In 1965, he signed songwriter Graham Gouldman, a founder member of 10cc, who Lisberg also managed, along with Godley & Creme, Tony Christie, Barclay James Harvest, Gordon Giltrap, Sad Café, Wax and others. Lisberg still oversees Gouldman's artistic endeavours, and nurtures new talent.

Mickie Most English record producer, recording artist, songwriter, arranger and singer

Mickie Most was an English record producer, with a string of hit singles with acts such as the Animals, Herman's Hermits, the Nashville Teens, Donovan, Lulu, Suzi Quatro, Hot Chocolate, Arrows, Racey, and the Jeff Beck Group, often issued on his own RAK Records label.

Contents

Their first hit was a cover of Earl-Jean's "I'm into Something Good" which reached number one in the UK Singles Chart and number 13 in the US in late 1964. They never topped the British charts again, but they had two number one songs on the US Billboard Hot 100 with "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" and "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am". These songs were aimed at a US fan base, with Noone exaggerating his Mancunian accent.

Earl-Jean Reavis is an American former pop and R&B singer, who was a member of the Cookies vocal group. Credited as Earl-Jean, she had a solo hit with the original version of "I'm Into Somethin' Good", written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and later a bigger hit for Herman's Hermits.

Im into Something Good 1964 single by Hermans Hermits

"I'm into Something Good" is a song composed by Gerry Goffin (lyrics) and Carole King (music) and made famous by Herman's Hermits. The song was originally recorded by Cookies member Earl-Jean on Colpix Records in 1964. It entered the U.S. Cash Box Top 100 charts in the US on July 4, 1964 and spent 8 weeks there, reaching a high of number 42 on August 15, 1964, and number 38 Billboard.

UK Singles Chart British singles sales chart

The UK Singles Chart is compiled by the Official Charts Company (OCC), on behalf of the British record industry, listing the top-selling singles in the United Kingdom, based upon physical sales, paid-for downloads and streaming. The Official Chart, broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and MTV, is the UK music industry's recognised official measure of singles and albums popularity because it is the most comprehensive research panel of its kind, today surveying over 15,000 retailers and digital services daily, capturing 99.9% of all singles consumed in Britain across the week, and over 98% of albums. To be eligible for the chart, a single is currently defined by the Official Charts Company (OCC) as either a 'single bundle' having no more than four tracks and not lasting longer than 25 minutes or one digital audio track not longer than 15 minutes with a minimum sale price of 40 pence. The rules have changed many times as technology has developed, the most notable being the inclusion of digital downloads in 2005 and streaming in July 2014.

Their US records were released on the MGM label, which often featured their musical performers in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films. The Hermits appeared in several MGM movies, including When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965) and Hold On! (1966). They also starred in the film Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968) and appeared in the 1965 anthology film Pop Gear.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer American media company

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. One of the world's oldest film studios, MGM's headquarters are located at 245 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, California.

When the Boys Meet the Girls is a 1965 American musical film directed by Alvin Ganzer and starring Connie Francis and Harve Presnell based on the musical Girl Crazy.

<i>Hold On!</i> (film) 1966 musical film directed by Arthur Lubin

Hold On! is a 1966 musical film directed by Arthur Lubin and starring Peter Noone, Shelley Fabares, Herbert Anderson, and Sue Ane Langdon. The film features performances by Herman's Hermits and stars the band as fictionalized versions of themselves. The soundtrack was released as an album, also called Hold On!.

The group appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show , The Dean Martin Show , and The Jackie Gleason Show . Continued success in the US proved elusive beyond 1967, although they had as many Top Ten hits in Britain in 1967 through 1970. They recorded their final album of the 1960s Rock 'n' Roll Party, and Peter Noone left the band in 1971. Herman's Hermits reunited in 1973 to headline a British invasion tour of the US, culminating with a performance at Madison Square Garden and an appearance on The Midnight Special . A later lineup with lead guitarist Derek Leckenby and drummer Barry Whitwam opened for The Monkees on their 80s reunion tours of the US. The band continues to tour today, with Whitwam as the only remaining member from the original lineup.

<i>The Ed Sullivan Show</i> American television series

The Ed Sullivan Show was an American television variety show that ran on CBS from June 20, 1948, to June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan. It was replaced in September 1971 by the CBS Sunday Night Movie.

<i>The Dean Martin Show</i> television series

The Dean Martin Show, not to be confused with the Dean Martin Variety Show (1959–1960), is a TV variety-comedy series that ran from 1965 to 1974 for 264 episodes. It was broadcast by NBC and hosted by entertainer Dean Martin. The theme song to the series was his 1964 hit "Everybody Loves Somebody".

<i>The Jackie Gleason Show</i> television series

The Jackie Gleason Show is the name of a series of American network television shows that starred Jackie Gleason, which ran from 1952 to 1970, in various forms.

History

1963–1971

Herman's Hermits was formed from two different local bands. Keith Hopwood (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Karl Green (lead guitar, backing vocals), Alan Wrigley (bass), Steve Titterington (drums) and Peter Noone (lead vocals) came from the Heartbeats. The second-youngest member of a young group (four months older than Karl Green), 15-year-old Noone was already an experienced actor on the popular British TV soap opera Coronation Street . Derek "Lek" Leckenby (lead guitar) and Barry Whitwam (drums) (born Jan Barry Whitwam) joined later from another local group, the Wailers. Whitwam replaced Titterington on drums, Green switched to bass guitar (replacing Wrigley), and Leckenby took over for Green as lead guitarist. After Leckenby joined the band, the group made a deal with producer Mickie Most and signed with EMI's Columbia label in Europe and MGM Records in the United States. [1]

Keith Hopwood Musician and composer

Keith Hopwood is an English pop and rock musician, singer-songwriter, composer, businessman and record producer, who served as the rhythm guitarist and backing vocals for the 1960s pop band, Herman's Hermits. Hopwood also served as a keyboardist, singer and guitarist for the post-Peter Noone outfit, Sour Mash, which recorded an unreleased album, A Whale of a Tale for RCA.

Karl Green Musician, songwriter

Karl Anthony Green is an English songwriter, musician and bassist who was the bass guitarist and backing singer for the 1960s British band Herman's Hermits, which featured Peter Noone. Green co-wrote a number of songs for the band, and was a capable player but was replaced by session players on some of the later Herman's Hermits tracks which were billed as "Herman's Hermits Featuring Peter Noone". Green nevertheless played on many Herman's Hermits recordings. Green was in Herman's Hermits from its creation until 1980, when he left to pursue a life outside of music.

Peter Noone English singer-songwriter and actor

Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone is an English singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist and actor, best known as Herman of the successful 1960s pop group Herman's Hermits.

Herman's Hermits circa 1965. HermansHermits1965.jpg
Herman's Hermits circa 1965.

The band's name came from a resemblance, noted by a publican in Manchester, England, between Noone and Sherman in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon. Sherman was shortened to Herman, and then became Herman and his Hermits, which was soon shortened to Herman's Hermits. [2] The band played on most of its singles, including "I'm into Something Good", "Listen People", "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat", "Leaning on a Lamp Post", "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter", "A Must to Avoid", "You Won't Be Leaving", and "I'm Henry VIII, I Am" (the last said at the time to be "the fastest-selling song in history"). [3] Leckenby soloed on "Henry", and Hopwood played rhythm guitar on "Mrs. Brown". [4]

"Listen People" is a song written by Graham Gouldman and performed by the Herman's Hermits. The theme is based on the traditional hymn "Jesus Let Us Come to Know You." It reached #1 in Canada, #3 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Australian charts, and #7 on both the New Zealand and Swedish charts in 1966. It was featured on their 1966 album, Volume 2: The Best of Herman's Hermits.

"Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" is a song written by John Carter and Ken Lewis, produced by Mickie Most, and performed by Herman's Hermits. It reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat" was kept from the #1 spot by, "Stop! In the Name of Love" by The Supremes.

Mrs. Brown, Youve Got a Lovely Daughter 1965 single by Hermans Hermits

"Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" is a popular song written by British actor, screenwriter and songwriter Trevor Peacock. It was originally sung by actor Tom Courtenay in The Lads, a British TV play of 1963, and released as a single on UK Decca.

Despite the group's competent musicianship, some subsequent singles employed session musicians – including Big Jim Sullivan, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Vic Flick and Bobby Graham  – with contributions from the band, although the role of session players on Herman's Hermits records has been exaggerated in the rock media[ citation needed ] and in liner notes on their ABKCO Records Retrospective (which does not credit the Hermits' playing). Mickie Most used session musicians on many records he produced; this was industry practice at the time. Even such respected groups as The Yardbirds were required by Most to use session musicians (except Jimmy Page) on their Most-produced recordings. [5]

Continuing acrimony among former members of Herman's Hermits has increased the amount of misinformation about the group's role on their records; the late Derek Leckenby, in particular, was a skilled guitarist.[ citation needed ] Mickie Most commented on the VH1 My Generation: Herman's Hermits episode that the Hermits "played on a lot of their records, and some they didn't." The group played on all their US and UK No.1 hits ("I'm into Something Good", "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter", and "I'm Henry VIII, I Am"), on most of their Top Ten US singles, on a number of other singles and most album cuts. According to Peter Noone, Leckenby played the muted lead on "This Door Swings Both Ways". [6] The riff in "Silhouettes" variously has been credited to Jimmy Page, Big Jim Sullivan and Vic Flick; however, according to Keith Hopwood and Karl Green, Leckenby replaced Flick in the studio and played the signature riff under Most's direction. [6] According to Hopwood, Green and Noone, Jimmy Page played on the single "Wonderful World" (although Big Jim Sullivan lists the song as part of a session he played); both may have added to the backing track. Several writers have claimed that session players played on "I'm into Something Good"; according to the surviving band members, the song was recorded on a two-track recorder, with only a piano player in addition to the Hermits. [6]

Karl Green has noted that he preferred harder rock, but was grateful for the hand he was dealt. [7] The band's singles were written by some of the top songwriters of the day, but Noone, Leckenby, Hopwood and Green contributed lesser-known songs such as "My Reservation's Been Confirmed", "Take Love, Get Love", "Marcel's", "For Love", "Tell Me Baby", "Busy Line", Moon Shine Man", "I Know Why" and "Gaslight Street". "I Know Why" enjoyed a limited "A"-side release. [8]

The group was nominated for two Grammy awards in 1965 for "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter". According to Noone and Hopwood, the song was recorded as an afterthought in two takes – using two microphones, with Hopwood on guitar, Green on bass guitar and Whitwam on drums. Noone and the band deliberately emphasised their English accents on the record, never intended to be a single. Hopwood recalls playing a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar in the studio, with its strings muted to create the distinctive sound. When playing the song live, Hopwood often used a Rickenbacker guitar with a rag under the bridge to duplicate the sound, which can be seen clearly in old performance clips.

Ray Davies of The Kinks wrote "Dandy" – a 1966 US Top Five hit for Herman's Hermits. Graham Gouldman wrote "No Milk Today", Herman's Hermits first UK Top Ten hit in over a year in late 1966, backed with "My Reservation's Been Confirmed". [9]

For the US release of "No Milk Today" in 1967, MGM backed it with "There's a Kind of Hush". Even though MGM put it on the B-Side, American radio stations realized "There's a Kind of Hush" was the Herman's Hermits style US audiences preferred, and it became the "hit" side, climbing to No. 4, though "No Milk Today" was also played on many radio stations and reached No. 35. [10]

The 1967 album Blaze received critical acclaim,[ citation needed ] but barely made the Top 100 in the US and was not released in the UK. Highlights, according to some, included original songs by Leckenby, Whitwam, Hopwood, Green and Noone, including "Ace King Queen Jack" and the psychedelic "Moon Shine Man".

1971–present

When Noone left the group in 1971, the Hermits continued on, first with singer Pete Cowap. They signed with RCA Records in the UK and, as "The Hermits", recorded two singles at Strawberry Studios and an unreleased album (under the name "Sour Mash") produced by Eric Stewart. They subsequently cut singles for Buddah, Private Stock and Roulette, with little success. After a short-lived reunion with Noone, Whitwam, Leckenby and Green (who took over lead vocals until he retired in 1980) continued to tour with newer members, including Rod Gerrard (formerly with Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders and Salford Jets).[ citation needed ]

Hopwood and Leckenby eventually started a music company, Pluto Music, which is still in business as of 2019 working primarily on commercial and animation soundtracks. Hopwood has since become a composer of scores for film and television. Green has become a manager of sound systems for concert venues along London's South Bank. [11]

Leckenby died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1994, leaving Whitwam as the only original member of the band. The band's current lineup consists of Whitwam, lead singer and bassist Geoff Foot, guitarist Paul Cornwell, and keyboardist Tony Hancox. Noone continues to play solo shows billed as "Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone". Legal disputes between Whitwam and Noone have forced the former to rename the band "Herman's Hermits starring Barry Whitwam" when they tour in North America, but they remain billed as "Herman's Hermits" worldwide. [12]

Discography

Studio albums

Filmography

Band members

Original members are listed in bold.

Current members
Former members

Timeline

Herman's Hermits

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References

  1. Allmusic.com biography. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  2. "Herman's Hermits – Magazine Articles". Hermanshermits.com. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  3. MacInnes, Colin (1965) "The Old English Music Hall Songs Are New." The New York Times, 28 November 1965, p. SM62: "Henry—which hit the top of the record lists and, according to one American expert, was 'the fastest-selling song in history'—was in fact an old English music hall song enjoying a new lease on life."
  4. Noone interview, Hopwood personal correspondence
  5. Davis, Stephen, Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga
  6. 1 2 3 Noone interview: Herman's Hermits Listen People DVD Reeling in the Years (2009)
  7. VH1 My Generation: Herman's Hermits
  8. EMI and MGM catalogs
  9. Classicbands.com Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  10. Joel Whitburn (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research, Inc. p. 312. ISBN   0-89820-155-1.
  11. "Big L RSL 2001 in Clacton – Photogallery of the Stars". Radiolondon.co.uk. 6 January 1965. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  12. "Hermits stateside for Riverfest, other shows". MyWebTimes.com. Retrieved 10 April 2012.