If you are seventeen and have a cherubic smile and look as if you wanted to be mothered, it’s a hundred bucks to a bent pin that you’ll go down a bomb with the mothers of America, whatever the American teenagers think of you. I doubt very much if Peter Noone, the juvenile actor who left the stage to become Herman, appreciates the idea that he looks as if he wants to be mothered, because he is a remarkably confident and self-sufficient professional, but there is little doubt that in spite of himself, his looks have sent the older Americans crazy over him, and his music has sent the younger Americans crazy about that too, so much so, that at one time it looked as if Herman was going to topple The Beatles out of the honour of being the “Most Loved English Group”.
He didn’t quite, because The Beatles’ ’65 tour of America just about saved them from that, nevertheless on a points system awarded for each week’s position in the American charts, Herman did in fact come top of the poll.
In spite of his tremendous success Stateside, Herman hasn’t really made much impact in England since his first hit-record. Most of his records make the charts somewhere around the lower end but you can’t say the English really love him.
If the English fans don’t buy Herman’s records in the quantities the Americans do, they do have at least one favourite occupation as far as Herman is concerned, and that is to marry him off.
So far, I think Herman has been rumoured to be engaged to almost every girl on the British pop scene, from Twinkle to Jackie Trent, the latter being hardly likely since she is already happily married.
I asked Herman about this one day when I met him at the Alpha Studios in Birmingham where he was appearing on a “Lucky Stars” programme.
“As for marrying me off, the fans are nuts. I believe the rumour regarding Twinkle began because we were on the same bill a couple of times and I was spotted taking her out to dinner after the show. Then I was on ‘Juke Box Jury’ once, and I happened to be criticizing a record by Lulu and I happened to say ‘I love Lulu, of course, but…’ and next morning the papers had me practically buying Lulu an engagement ring.”
“Mind you, I do love Lulu, everybody does, she is a wonderful and sweet person, but that doesn’t mean wedding bells are ringing for me or for anyone else. In fact I’m much too young to get married, I’m having a wonderful time and I don’t think a man should get married much before he is twenty-five anyway.”
Actually Herman never had any intention of becoming a singer. It all started when he was given the part of a young boy who had to sing, so he started singing lessons. Peter liked going to a youth club and listening to an amateur group which played under the name of The Heartbeats. One day they were short of a lead singer and Herman, or Peter Noone as he was then was, asked to fill in. Later he joined The Heartbeats on a permanent basis and they billed themselves as Herman and The Heartbeats. Of that original group actually only Karl Green remains with The Hermits.
Their big-time careers started when they were heard by Mickie Most, the man responsible for the hits of The Animals and The Nashville Teens, who travelled up to Bolton to hear them, liked what he heard and put them under contract. The result was “I’m Into Something Good” which was a tremendous smash hit.
Following their enormous success in the American charts, it was inevitable that Hollywood would beckon, and beckon with an offer that even the “not wanting to be an actor any more” Herman would find hard to resist. The Hermits have made several small features but their first big-budget picture was made towards the end of 1965 and is due for release in Britain about the time this Annual is published. At the time of writing, very little has been released about the film and even the title seems to be not yet finally decided.
Anything can happen in a picture, of course, but there is little doubt that with Herman in it, the fans will flock to see it.
Reading through this article, one can hardly help noticing that throughout I have referred to Herman in the singular and have made very little mention of The Hermits. This is not so strange really, for I don’t think there is any other group walking the scene in which the other members have attracted less attention. Right from the start of “I’m Into Something Good” the spotlight has been turned entirely on Herman and I think it will always remain there.