Herman's Hermits comprised one of the British Invasion bands of the 60's, putting well over a dozen hits on the top forty chart in the United States.
The group began as the Heartbeats and brought in Peter Noone, who had studied singing and acting, and had appeared in plays and on television, as lead singer.The group was formed in Manchester, England in 1963 with Peter ("Herman") Noone as lead singer, Karl Green on guitar and harmonica, Derek "Lek" Leckenby and Keith Hopwood on guitar, and Barry Whithman on drums; Noone also played piano and guitar. All were born in 1946 or 1947 and came from Manchester, except for Leckenby who was born in 1945 and came from Leeds, and Green who was from Salford. The group performed in Manchester and came to the attention of record producer Mickie Most. Most had already had success promoting another British pop band, the Animals, and would go on to have success with other British recording artists such as Donovan, Lulu, and Jeff Beck.
Most secured a recording contract for the newly-named Herman's Hermits, and polished their act in an attempt to make them a commercially viable British Invasion band, at a time when the Beatles and the Animals and other British acts were beginning to draw notice. Recording for MGM, their first single was I'm Into Something Good, written by the Brill Buiding writing team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It went to #1 in the United Kingdom and #13 in the USA in late 1964, and the group was on it's way.
Herman's Hermits would place seventeen more top forty singles in the USA pop chart over the course of the next 3-1/2 years, and they placed twenty such singles in the UK. All of their hits in the US were on the MGM label, all in the UK were on EMI/Columbia, and all were produced by Mickie Most. Those that went top ten in the US are listed here:
Herman's Hermits was a bit set apart from the other British bands that were so popular in the US in the 1960's, many of which seemed to be concerned with emulating some of the music of the great R&B artists from the United States. Herman's Hermits, on the other hand, presented a sunny disposition, always seemed to be cheerful, and had a perky, engaging lead singer in Noone -- who was known to many simply as "Herman." The group had derived its name from the character Sherman on the television cartoon The Bullwinkle Show.
I'm Henry VIII, I Am had been written as far back as 1910, and at that time the song had been made popular in England by music hall star Harry Champion. Silhouettes was a cover of a hit song by the Rays from 1957 and Wonderful World was a recording of a song that had been a hit for Sam Cooke in 1960. Some of the group's recordings were featured in movies: Listen People in the film When The Boys Meet The Girls and A Must To Avoid and Leaning On The Lamp Post in Hold On!. Dandy, in 1966, was written by Ray Davies of the Kinks. Herman's Hermits' best selling singles in the US, both of which reached #1, were Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter and I'm Henry VIII, I Am. It was fashionable for some groups in the 60's to make a major motion picture starring the members of the group, and Herman's Hermits followed suit with a movie of their own, Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter, in 1968. In their time they sold many records, both singles and LP's, in the US and the UK.
The group had it's last top forty hit on the US chart in 1968 and in the UK in 1970. Peter Noone left the group and had a hit as a solo artist in the UK in 1971 with a recording of Oh! You Pretty Things, written by David Bowie. The rest of the band continued without him, and made some recordings on Buddah that did not sell well. On occasion Noone would get together with his old bandmates for revivals. He moved to Paris for a while and hosted a television show in the UK. Later in the 70's Noone attempted a comeback with a new wave band formed in Los Angeles called the Tremblers. He appeared on Broadway in The Pirates of Penzance. From 1989 to 1993 he hosted VH1's My Generation. Noone moved to Santa Barbara where he became friends with his neighbor, actor/talk show host Dennis Miller.
Herman's Hermits earned their niche in 60's pop music as the British Invasion band with a difference. Some of their memorable hits include Can't You Hear My Heartbeat, Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter, I'm Henry VIII, I Am, Listen People, Dandy and There's A Kind Of Hush.
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