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Herman’s Hermits’ lead singer still rocks; to perform at SMCPA
Tuesday, 04 June 2019 11:30
By JOHN NORTH
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FRANKLIN — Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone will perform their hits and those of other British Invasion bands at 7:30 p.m. June 28 at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. 

In a May 28 telephone interview with the Daily Planet, Noone, 71, speaking from a golf course in Santa Barbara, Calif., voiced his enthusiasm about returning to Franklin, where he has performed several times, noting that “it’s beautiful country” with friendly people.

“We don’t have a setlist for the show — it’s what it is that night,” Noone, the group’s lead singer, said. “Of course, we have to do the hits — and that takes up most of the show. But we respond to the audience,” otherwise, to perform other songs it most prefer.s “We know 300 songs,” but obiously cannot perform them all at the SMCPA.

He added that “I’m Into Something New” always is paired with “Wonderful World” — and that “I’m Henry the VIII” is paired with “There’s a Kind of a Hush.”

Further, Noone asserted, “I make fun of songs. Then we might do a Monkees’ song. We do a Rolling Stones’ song. And people sing along. When we do a Beatles song, like ‘All My Loving,’ everyone sings along at the top of their lungs.”

Noone was born in Manchester, England, where he studied voice and acting at St. Bede’s College and at Manchester School of Music and Drama. 

At the age of 15 in the mid-1960s, Peter achieved international fame as lead singer for Herman’s Hermits, an iconic British Invasion band. 

The group’s classic hits included: “I’m Into Something Good” “Mrs. Brown, you’ve Got A Lovely Daughter,” “I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” “Silhouettes,” “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat,” “Just A Little Bit Better,” “Wonderful World,” “There’s A Kind of Hush,” “A Must To Avoid,” “Listen People,” “The End of the World” and “Dandy.” 

Ultimately, Herman’s Hermits sold more than 60 million recordings. In all, 14 singles and seven albums achieved gold status. Moreover, Herman’s Hermits twice was named Cashbox’s Entertainer of the Year. 

As far as his music career is concerned, Noone told the Daily Planet, “I was ‘busy’ from (age) 13... So I’ve been around a bit.”

So how did the group get the name of Herman’s Hermits?

“We were playing in a pub in England,” Noone replied. “And I was doing a Buddy Holly impersonation. I was wearing horn-rimmed glasses” and Holly’s unusual outfit.

As the show proceeded, “The pub owner asked, ‘What’s he doing?’” Noone said one of the bystanders replied, “Obiously, (a) Buddy Holly” impersonation and tribute. 

Afterward, the pub owner approached Noone and quipped, ‘You look like Herman from the ‘Bullwinkle Show’” on television.

With a laugh, Noone said the pub owner meant “‘Sherman’ — not ‘Herman.’” Regardless, “everybody in his band laughed.

“Then, the pub owner turned and said, ‘And as far of rest of you, you should call yourself, — given their mod appearancea —  “like ... the bloody Hermits.” And that’s how band names came to be in the ‘60s,” Noone said.

Just for that night, the group, finding the pub owner so amusing, called itself Herman and the Bloody Hermits, but later shortened it to just Herman’s Hermits, Noone said.

As for his elevation to world-famous pop star status at age 16 (with the 1965 No. 1 hit “I’m Into Something Good,” Noone said, “I think I was overeducated for the position. I didn’t take advantage of anyone.”

He chuckled when he recalling those occasions where a woman would approach him, Noone said he thought it was because she really loved him, which he gladly accepted, and not for other reasons.

Noone said he avoided many of the vices that claims the lives of other music stars. And that “it took me 30 years to get to AA,” a reference to Alcoholics Anonymous. He added that he is proud that he has “not been a drinker for 24 years.”

As for the 1960s, he said, “I grew up in a period when women became emancipated.,” adding that society was loosening up in its treatment of minorities, too — and the era’s music reflected that societal revolution. “And I think the Beatles were a cultural revolution.”

He added, “In my little world, I saw things getting better. “ Noone told of being raised in humble economic circumstances. “My family grew up on one sugar sandwich, as a treat,” which he and his siblings thought was fine because “we didn’t know that we were poor.”

And what is Noone’s favorite song by Herman’s Hermits?

“‘I’m Into Something Good,’ he quickly replied. “Because I was just (age) 16 when it was recorded. It went straight to No. 1.”

However, he quickly added that “I like equally ‘There’s a Kind of a Hush.’ With a chuckle, Noone noted that when he and his group perform that song, it always works out that he can sing the first words, “There’s a kind of a hush” followed by the fired-up audience members singing back to him the next part of the lyric, “all over the world.”

His favorite musical genre remains that of the British Invasion era (mid-1960s). Ironically, he said, “The British Invasion — it’s all American music.”

British Invasion bands chose to base their music off various American musical icons, such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cook, Mddy Waters and Muddy Waters, he said.

“We went for the pure, beautiful simplicity of Buddy Holly... Herman’s Hermits is a country band, you know.”

Noone said he stays fit with weight-lifting and other athletic activities and, as for his future as a performer, “I think 10 more years — that’s the motto of the band.”

However, Noone joked, “People should buy a ticket (to the SMCPA show) because we (Herman’s Hermits) might not last 10 more years!”


 



 


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