Herman’s Hermits

  • British beat rock band formed in 1964, from Manchester England. The original band members were Peter Noone (lead vocals), Derek Leckenby (lead guitar), Keith Hopwood (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Karl Green (bass guitar, lead and backing vocals) and Barry Whitwam (drums). Whitwam is the lone original member still performing today with the group. Their hits were written by other songwriters, but lesser-known songs were written by Noone, Leckenby, Hopwood and Green.
  • Hopwood and Green were members of a band called The Heartbeats, while Leckenby and Whitwam were part of a group named The Wailers. Noone became a Heartbeat after filling in for their regular vocalist, and Whitwam and Leckenby joined when the drummer and guitarist for The Heartbeats left that group. They played at youth clubs and dances, and were noticed by managers who got them signed to a recording contract in 1964. They were kids – Noone and Green were barely 17 years old at that time.
  • Their managers changed the group’s name – apparently Noone had a resemblance to Sherman in the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon, so Sherman was shortened to Herman, and they were called Herman and his Hermits, which then was shortened to Herman’s Hermits.
  • Their debut single was released in the summer of 1964. I’m Into Something Good, written by Carole King/Gerry Goffin, reached #13 on the Hot 100 and #1 in the UK. Its success led to the release of their first album in 1965 – titled Introducing Herman’s Hermits in the U.S., and just Herman’s Hermits in the UK. As was common in the mid-60s – much of the album was Noone’s vocals with studio musicians playing most of the other instruments. Two of those session musicians were Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, who later would be part of Led Zeppelin.
  • Between January 1965 and April 1967, Herman’s Hermits released 11 songs that were in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, from 6 different albums. Two songs reached #1 – Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter and I’m Henry VII, I Am – these songs are borderline novelty songs, both featuring a heavy Cockney vocal by Noone. Neither song was released at a single in the UK, as they were produced to leverage the momentum of the British Invasion to the U.S., which was in full force in the mid 60s. They also took Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat to #2 and Listen People to #3.
  • Herman’s Hermits were the “Easy Listening” version of the British Invasion, though some of the later songs reflected a harder rock, psychedelia sound.
  • By 1967, the curiosity of Herman’s Hermits had run its course. Albums released in 1967 and 1968 sold poorly, and only 2 more songs reached the top 25 in the U.S. – Don’t Go Out Into The Rain and I Can Take or Leave Your Loving. As they lost popularity in the U.S., several of their songs managed to be in the top 10 in the UK.
  • In 1971, Noone left the group. A replacement singer was brought in for some recordings that went nowhere, and Noone himself rejoined briefly in 1973. The group has continued to perform on nostalgia tours – Noone tours using the name Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone, while Whitwam and others tour using the name Herman’s Hermits starring Barry Whitwam in North America, and just Herman’s Hermits in the rest of the world.
  • Here is the band performing their biggest hit, Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter. Pretty sure you won’t mix them up with their British Invasion cousins, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones.

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