Herman’s Hermits are known — in some quarters, infamous — for such pleasant 1960s teen hits as “I’m Into Something Good” and “There’s …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Herman’s Hermits are known — in some quarters, infamous — for
such pleasant 1960s teen hits as “I’m Into Something Good” and
“There’s a Kind of Hush.”
The Hermits may have been a parent-friendly alternative to more
“dangerous” bands, but to hear lead singer Peter Noone tell it, the
group was proud to be pop — especially if it meant revulsion from
the music press.
“We used that to our advantage,” Noone said of the Hermits’
defiantly clean-cut image. “We refused to play that game. We were
like the first punk band. Our plan was not to have a plan.”
By design or accident, the Hermits emerged in 1964 with a
virtually nonstop arsenal of reliable, radio-geared ear candy. It
was music aimed squarely at younger teenagers — not the
intelligentsia and certainly not over-20 music critics.
In three short years, the Hermits scored no fewer than 11 Top 10
hits as well as many other singles that grazed the upper end of the
Top 20 in England and the United States. For a time, the Hermits’
hitmaking potential rivaled that of the Beatles.
During the mid to late 1960s, as many of their contemporaries
explored their rougher edges and flirted with psychedelia and heavy
guitar rock, the Hermits remained militant in their commitment to
“I don’t think the words Herman’s Hermits ever showed up in
Rolling Stone magazine,” Noone said of his dismissal by the hip
press. “That’s because I wouldn’t pander to them. That’s because I
told them to [expletive] off.”
Noone, 62, and the current incarnation of the Hermits will bring
their decidedly rebellious melodies and love songs to Hudson
Gardens and Event Center in Littleton on June 27.
Herman’s Hermits emerged in Manchester, England in 1963. Noone,
then a 16-year-old child television actor, was recruited on the
spot as lead singer for a band called the Heartbeats when the lead
vocalist failed to show up for a gig.
Noone’s boyish good looks and comic charm quickly caught on at
local dances and teenage nightclubs. The Heartbeats were redubbed
Herman’s Hermits one night at the brusque suggestion of a
Noone, who had a penchant in those days for wearing thick-framed
Buddy Holly-style glasses, recalls the barman giving him a mouthful
about his apparently unsuccessful try at evoking the late
“That’s nothing like Buddy Holly,” the old bartender charged.
“That’s like Sherman from the Bullwinkle show. Call yourself Herman
and the bloody Hermits! You look like hermits!”
And they did.
Before long, the rechristened teens caught the eye of producer
Mickie Most, who was impressed by Noone’s vocals and the band’s
school-boy image and repertoire of earnest pop songs.
The Hermits would soon become leaders of the lighter end of the
British Invasion, the popular influx of English groups that
exploded after the Beatles’ 1964 arrival in the United States.
While the more R&B-oriented Rolling Stones were fashioned as
a bad-boy alternative to the Beatles, the Hermits made the
mop-topped Beatles look menacing by comparison.
“The Beatles were the hard men of rock and roll,” Noone said of
his British music contemporaries. “But the Rolling Stones were
similar to us. They were kind of overeducated for their
With an eye on effective marketing, Andrew Loog Oldham, the
producer and manager of the rough-around-the-edges Stones, advised
the burgeoning Hermits to play up their contrasting clean-scrubbed
“He suggested we be the good guys of rock and roll,” Noone said.
“The Stones would go home and read Aldous Huxley and urinate on gas
tanks. We could do that, but it was never going to be part of our
The Hermits kept within the bounds of law and taste with an
agreeable succession of melodic hits and distinctly British
novelties — “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” and “I’m
Henry the Eighth, I Am” — that were targeted to the American
The formula paid off, quite literally. By the time changing
musical styles had rendered the Hermits a dated curiosity, the band
had laughed last at the bank, selling more than 40 million singles
and albums worldwide.
Even as cultural trends evolved, the Hermits did not. Noone says
the band stayed true to its image largely because the image was
real. The singer does not think the same can be said for a band
like the Rolling Stones.
“I’m not going to walk on stage and be somebody else,” Noone
said. “Imagine if you had to play this angry Cockney guy for 45
years when you’re a grammar-school twit. When Mick Jagger talks in
real life. it’s like ‘I don’t know what to do with my British
In what was at the time standard procedure, some of the Hermits
only occasionally played on the group’s records. Noone’s vocals
were augmented by a team of ace session players that included
guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones.
Noone says he once talked to Jones about becoming a full-time
Hermit. The discussion came just as Jones was considering another
offer to join Page in a new group that had less certain commercial
prospects — Led Zeppelin.
“He wasn’t quite sure he wanted to be in this new band because
this Hermits gig was going to be really lucrative,” Noone said.
“But it didn’t work out. The other Hermits didn’t like the
In 1995 when Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame, the band’s lead singer Robert Plant jokingly chided
his former band mate over his association with the Hermits. The
incident was all too typical for a pop band that has yet to be
embraced by critics or music historians.
Ask Noone if he cares.
“I wouldn’t want to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” he
The singer is more than happy to sing for the fans.
As for dismissive critics, he invites them to “sod off.”
“The last time we were at Hudson Gardens, there were lots of
young kids in front of the stage,” Noone recalled. “We need that
sometimes, you know.”
If you go
Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone will perform June 27 at
6:30 p.m. at Hudson Gardens and Event Center, 6115 S. Santa Fe
Drive in Littleton
Tickets available at shop.hudsongardens.org or by
calling 303-797-8565 Ext. 321.
Adults $22.50. Members $20. Kids (3-12) $10.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.