Herman’s Hermits are an English beat (or pop) band, formed in Manchester in 1962.
Originally called Herman & The Hermits, they were discovered by Harvey Lisberg, who signed them up to management. Lisberg sent a return plane ticket to Mickie Most so that he could come up from London to see the band play in Bolton. Most became the group’s record producer, controlling the band’s output. He emphasised a simple, non-threatening, clean-cut image, although the band originally played R&B numbers. This helped Herman’s Hermits become hugely successful in the mid-1960s but dampened the band’s songwriting; Noone, Hopwood, Leckenby and Green’s songs were relegated to B-sides and album cuts.
Their first hit was a cover of Earl-Jean’s “I’m into Something Good” (written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King), which reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart and No. 13 in the US in late 1964. They never topped the British charts again, but had two US Billboard Hot 100 No.1s with “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” (originally sung by Tom Courtenay in a 1963 British TV play) and “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am” (a British music hall song by Harry Champion dating from 1911, which Peter Noone’s Irish grandfather had been in the habit of singing when Noone was young). These songs were aimed at a US fan base, with Peter Noone exaggerating his Mancunian accent.
In the US, their records were released on the MGM label, a company which often featured musical performers they had signed to record deals in films. The Hermits appeared in several MGM movies, including When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965) and Hold On! (1966). They also starred in the film Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter (1968) and appeared in the 1965 anthology film Pop Gear.
Herman’s Hermits had four Top 3 hits in the US in 1965, with the aforementioned No. 1 hits and “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” (US No. 2). They recorded The Rays’ “Silhouettes” (US No. 5), Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” (US No. 4), “Just a Little Bit Better” (US No. 7), and “A Must to Avoid” (US No. 8) in 1965; “Listen People” (US No. 3), George Formby’s “Leaning on a Lamp Post” from Me and My Girl (US No. 9), and the Ray Davies song “Dandy” (US No. 5) in 1966; and “There’s a Kind of Hush” (US No. 4) in 1967. On WLS “Mrs. Brown” and “Silhouettes” were 1–2 on 14 May 1965 and exchanged positions the next week, a distinction matched only by The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” during 14 February – 6 March 1964. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show and The Jackie Gleason Show. Continued success in the US proved elusive beyond 1967, although they had as many Top Ten hits in Britain (five) in the period 1967 through 1970 as they had had there in the years of the mid-‘sixties when the band were wowing American audiences and British audiences seemed more diffident. By the time the group recorded their final album of the 1960s, Rock ‘n’ Roll Party, the band’s success in the US was history and the album was not released by MGM there. Peter Noone and Keith Hopwood left the band in 1971. Herman’s Hermits reunited in 1973 to headline a successful British invasion tour of the US culminating with a standing-room-only performance at Madison Square Garden and an appearance on The Midnight Special (without Hopwood). Later, a version of the band featuring Leckenby and Whitwam opened for The Monkees on reunion tours of the US. Noone declined an offer from tour organizers to appear, but later appeared with Davy Jones on a successful teen-idols tour. Karl Green began performing again in 2014, playing the hits of Herman’s Hermits for the first time since 1980.