Hermans Hermits

Herman’s Hermits was an English pop band, who after I discovered them in 1963, went out as Herman and the Hermits.   They originally played only R & B covers, and I got them a deal on record producer Mickie Most’s R.A.K. label.  He controlled the band’s music output, by always projecting a simple, non-threatening, clean-cut image.

This helped Herman’s Hermits become successful in the early to mid 1960’s but thwarted their craft and their songwriting.  I encouraged them to write songs and co-wrote a few songs with the boys myself, some of which were in fact used either as B-sides or album cuts.

Herman’s Hermits had an edgier side which is evident in a recording (’64) for BBC’s Transcription Service (the ‘other’ Top of the Pops) in their cover of Louis Jordan‘s classic “Ain’t That Just Like a Woman“.

Herman's Hermits are heavier than you think. Before shredding his way to the status of hard rock idol, Jimmy Page was a busy, precocious session player. The guitarist laid licks on everything from girl group records to folk cuts. Both Page and his future Led Zep bassist, John Paul Jones, were studio players on many Hermits hits. "Jim[my Page] played on 'silhouettes' and 'Wonderful World' and, once [Hermits bassist] Karl Green faded, he was replaced on ALL the recordings by John Paul Jones, who also arranged almost everything and was our genius," Noone said in an interview with Forgotten Hits.

Their first hit was a cover of Earl Jean’s “I’m Into Something Good“, written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, which reached No. 1 in the U.K. and No. 13 in the U.S. in late 1964.  They never topped the  U.K. chart again but had two further U.S. No. 1 singles with “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” and “I’m Henry The Eighth I Am“.

The songs were mainly aimed at a U.S. audience with Peter Noone exaggerating his Mancunian accent.  The boys felt ambivalent about these two songs and they were never released as singles in the U.K.

Between April and May 1965, a hat-trick of Manchester-based acts, all signed for management to our Kennedy Street artistes entertainment agency, enjoyed an unprecedented consecutive 6 week spell at No. 1 on US Hot 100 with Freddie and the Dreamers spending two weeks at the top with “I’m Telling You Now” (10–24 April), Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders one week with “Game of Love” (24 April-1 May), and then Herman’s Hermits a further three weeks with “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” (1–22 May) a feat not yet repeated as Peter Noone recalls in his early ’90’s interview of Gerry Marsden and Freddie Garrity.

In the U.S.A. Herman’s Hermits signed to M.G.M. whose modus operandi was to cross-promote their artistes in starring roles in their films as well.

Herman’s Hermits appeared in several M.G.M. movies including “When The Boys Meet The Girls” (1965) and “Hold On!” (1966) and “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” (1968).  They did a World tour including Japan and Australia (Hilton Show) in 1966.

Harvey Lisberg, Peter Noone, Charlie Silverman, Karl Green & Barry Whitwam tour Japan 1966

In 1965 they had five U.S. Top 5 hits “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” (#2), “Silhouettes” (#5), “Wonderful World” (#4), “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” (#1) and “I’m Henry The Eighth I Am” (#1).

U.S. hits in 1966 were “A Must To Avoid” (#8), “Listen People” (#3), “Leaning On The Lamp Post” (#9), “This Door Swings Both Ways” (#12), “Dandy” (#5), “No Milk Today” (#35) and “East West” (#27).

It's no coincidence that 3 of those 7 Herman's Hermits hits in 1966, namely "Listen People", "No Milk Today" and "East West" are composed by Graham Gouldman, 
my in-house songwriter.

In 1967 they had a major U.S. hit with “There’s A Kind Of Hush“(#4) appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show and The Jackie Gleason Show.  Further success in the U.S. had become more elusive with the group recording a final album in the 1960’s called Rock ‘n’ Roll Party, that was never released in the U.S. by M.G.M.

Herman’s Hermits seventh and final E.P. was a promo only issue sponsored by Yardley Cosmetics and featured ‘No Milk Today‘, ‘There’s a Kind of Hush‘, ‘Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter‘ and ‘London Look‘ shown below:

As their star waned in the U.S. they continued to have hits in the U.K. with “I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving” (#11), “Sleepy Joe” (#12), Sunshine Girl (#8), “Something Is Happening” (#6), My Sentimental Friend (#2), Here Comes The Star (#33), Years May Come, Years May Go (#7), Bet Yer Life I Do (#22), and finally Lady Barbara (#13) ominously featuring both “Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits”, a harbinger of their split later that year in December 1970.

A few months later under my management, Mickie Most suggested Peter Noone record an unreleased David Bowie composition* called “Oh! You Pretty Things“, put out in 1971 & hitting No. 12 in the U.K.

* Less well known is the fact that David Bowie played piano and sang backing vocals on this Peter Noone single, recorded at London’s Kingsway Studios on 26 March 1971. He remained uncredited, like Herbie Flowers who played bass, and drummer, Clem Cattini.

For more information on Peter Noone see: https://harveylisberg.com/peter-noone/

In My Life – Peter Noone’s Tribute to John Lennon

For more information on John Lennon see: Andy Peebles & his Famous Interview of John Lennon| Harvey Lisberg