Tim Parsons, Lake Tahoe Action

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August 14, 2008
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Fans get into something good " Herman's Hermits " at Horizon

Although it brought about the biggest change rock 'n' roll, the army of musicians from the British Invasion really wasn't very large, one of its most notable members said.

Herman's Hermits were a part of the wave of English bands that came to the United States following The Beatles' appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Peter Noone, who was known as Herman, has continued his music career, and he's also an actor. He hosted 180 episodes of "My Generation," a musical history program on VH1 about British artists.

"The big surprise (from doing the show) is that we all knew each other," Noone said. "We weren't each other's competition, which is not the case nowadays for anybody in the music business.

"In those days everybody was unique and had a unique ability. We weren't like the Animals, and the Animals weren't like the Stones, and the Stones weren't like The Beatles. We all played on each other's records."

Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, for example, play on several studio recordings with Herman's Hermits. Jones was even a regular member for a short while.

"John Paul Jones joined the band for one tour in Europe, but Herman's Hermits didn't think much of him," Noone said. "I was the only fan of his at the time. I think they wanted to keep more money for themselves."

Although he was just 15 years old when Herman's Hermits formed, Noone became friends with The Beatles.

"I'd go out for drinks with John Lennon," he said "We'd get the two-drink minimum. I'd get two Cokes, and he'd get two Bacardis. I acted like an adult, even though I was a kid, so you could get away with much more stuff. They pretended that I was much smarter than I am."

Noone's acting career began when he was just a boy. He played a piano player on one episode of a television show, and that's how he received a union card.

"Every time they needed a kid actor, I got that job," he said. "The next thing I'm on the famous TV show, 'Coronation Street.' But no kids watched TV in those days, only moms and dads. So I was still unknown at school."

Noone's passion remained in music, and when he was about 13, he filled one night for a band's singer.

"I knew all those songs " they were the American '50s and early '60s songs," he said. "I sang for that singer than that night, and I was much better than he was, and they asked me to join the band."

The band went through various styles and lineups for a couple of years before becoming Herman's Hermits. They went on to sell more than 60 million recordings and 14 hit singles, including "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" and "The End of the World" and "Dandy."

While Herman's Hermits were always one of the better-known members of the British Invasion, they toured the United States just four times from 1965-69, playing about 150 shows, Noone said.

Problems with a U.S. record label, which are still ongoing, have prevented sales in this country, Noone said. Herman's Hermits music is only available to U.S. consumers on British Invasion compilations. But a four-disc greatest hits package is No. 24 on today's British charts.

Royalties come to the band from songs in movies, including "I'm Into Something Good," in "The Naked Gun," and "I'm Henry VIII, I Am," in "Ghost."

Noone has remained busy in theater and television. He recently ended a run as a character in the soap opera "As The Word Turns."

"I had no idea how hard those people worked until I got involved," he said. "It's only a 30-minute show, but they change your lines up until five minutes before the show begins."

With an entirely new backing band, Noone resurrected Herman's Hermits in 1992.

"We started doing 20 dates a year and it has just exploded from there," said Noone, who added that he plays 60 dates a year as both a soloist and with the Herman's Hermits.

He played last week at Reno's Hot August Nights, but doesn't remember playing at South Shore. He said his only Tahoe performance was in 1986 at North Shore's Cal-Neva.

"We do get around, and I live in Santa Barbara," he said. "It's amazing we've never played there.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 14, 2008 01:44AM Published Aug 14, 2008 01:44AM Copyright 2008 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.