Herman’s Hermits

Herman’s Hermits are an English beat rock and pop group formed in 1964 in Manchester, originally called Herman and His Hermits and featuring lead singer Peter Noone. Produced by Mickie Most, they charted with number ones in the UK and in America, where they ranked as one of the most successful acts in the Beatles-led British Invasion. They also appeared in four films, two of them vehicles for the band.

Their chart debut was a cover of Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “I’m into Something Good” (a then recent US Top 40 hit for Earl-Jean). In September 1964 it replaced the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” at number one in the UK singles chart and in December reached no. 13 in the US. The Hermits never topped the British charts again, but in America in 1965—when Billboard magazine ranked them America’s top singles act of the year (with the Beatles at no. 2)—they topped the Hot 100 with both “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” and “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am”. The latter two releases were aimed at a US fan base, with singer Peter Noone exaggerating his Mancunian accent. The no. 12 debut of “Mrs. Brown” on the Hot 100 in April 1965 was the decade’s third highest (behind the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and “Get Back”).

Between late 1964 and early 1968 Herman’s Hermits never failed to reach the Top 40 in the States. Six of their 11 US Top Tens were not released as A-side singles in their native UK including the two afore-mentioned number ones, plus “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” (US no. 2), “Listen People” (US no. 3), a cover of Noel Gay’s 1937 song “Leaning on a Lamp-post” (US no. 9, under the title “Leaning on the Lamp Post”) and their version of Ray Davies’s “Dandy” (US no. 5). Conversely they hit big in Britain between 1968 and 1970 with several major hits which failed to register in America, among them the four Top Tens “Sunshine Girl” (UK no. 8), “Something’s Happening” (UK no. 6), “My Sentimental Friend” (UK no. 2) and “Years May Come, Years May Go” (UK no. 7). Their final UK hit, “Lady Barbara” (UK no. 13), released in the autumn of 1970, was credited to ‘Peter Noone & Herman’s Hermits’.

Signature transatlantic Herman’s Hermits chart hits include “I’m into Something Good” (1964), their covers of both “Silhouettes” and “Wonderful World” plus “Just a Little Bit Better” (all 1965), “A Must to Avoid” (1965/66), “This Door Swings Both Ways” (1966), “East West” (1966/67), “There’s a Kind of Hush” (1967) and perhaps their most acclaimed recording, “No Milk Today” (UK 1966/US 1967).

The band’s US records were released by MGM Records, which often showcased its musical performers in MGM films. The Hermits featured opposite Connie Francis in When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965) and starred outright in Hold On! (1966)—featuring one song performed by co-star Shelley Fabares and nine by the Hermits including the title track—and Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter (1968). They also featured in the 1965 British music revue film Pop Gear.

Peter Noone left the band in 1971. Herman’s Hermits reunited in 1973 to headline a British invasion history of the US, culminating with a performance at Madison Square Garden and an appearance on The Midnight Special. A later lineup without Noone but featuring lead guitarist Derek Leckenby and drummer Barry Whitwam opened for the Monkees on their 1980s reunion historys of the US. The band continues to history today, with Whitwam as the only remaining member from the original lineup.