In the swinging ‘60s, Herman’s Hermits hit the big time.
It was a time when the so-called “British invasion of pop” ruled the airwaves.
Herman’s Hermits had a following that rivalled the Beatles and Rolling Stones.
They were among the era’s most popular bands, along with the likes of The Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Animals, The Kinks and The Who.
Just like those ageless icons of rock and roll, the Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits are still touring – they play a show on Saturday at Wests New Lambton.
The Hermits’ sound wasn’t quite rock and roll. Their pop tunes remind us of the time when bands were filled with well-dressed, radio-friendly, clean-shaven lads.
It should be noted that Herman’s Hermits are from Manchester, a city famous for producing iconic bands like Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis.
The Hermits’ soft pop was a tad different to those types of bands.
Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter was their best-known song.
They cracked the top 10 nine times in a row between 1965 and 1966 – a feat that even the Beatles couldn’t claim, according to Rolling Stone magazine.
And they pushed the Beatles into second place as America's “best single artists” in 1965.
The Hermits’ first hit, I'm into Something Good, topped the UK Singles Chart.
Nowadays, drummer Barry Whitwarm is the only original member of the band.
Some have questioned how the band can still be Herman’s Hermits without Herman.
Herman’s real name is Peter Noone. He continues to play solo shows billed as “Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone”.
Over the years, Whitwarm and Noone have been mired in legal disputes.
But the pair have great yarns from the old days.
Whitwarm spoke recently about meeting Elvis on their American tour in 1965.
“He wanted to know why five lads from Manchester were selling more records than he was,” he said.
Noone told the Daily Express in England last year that the Hermits were mates with other popular bands.
“I knew the Stones, The Who, The Kinks. John Lennon bought me my first drink, a Bacardi and coke,” he said.
“We were all touring and we’d run into each other at some transport caff in the middle of the night. We weren’t competitive with each other.
“We would tell each other about new clubs opening or go and see new groups. You didn’t have to like someone’s music to be their friend.”
Legendary Stones guitarist Keith Richards, notorious for his drug use, once gave Noone a stern warning.
“Keith Richards and the Stones’ manager Andrew Oldham invited me to their hotel in New York and told me in no uncertain terms that if they found me doing drugs, they would beat me up,” Noone said.
“They knew the sort of people I was hanging out with in New York were not good for me.”
Entry to the show is $40 (members) and $45 (non members). Doors open at 7.45pm.
Sir and Madam
Topics has this week called for a ban on the use of sir and madam, except at royal gatherings.
Reader Gwen Tonge had this to say: “In your discussion about retail assistants addressing customers as sir or madam, I am surprised that no mention has been made of the practice in schools of students addressing teachers as Sir or Miss.
“Sir is so respectful. Miss? Not so. But the alternative of having to know whether the female teacher is Miss, Mrs or Ms and adding a surname is quite a challenge. Should kids address her as Madam? Sounds very pompous. I’ll settle for Miss.”
All this talk of respect for teachers is making us think of that Pink Floyd song: “We don’t need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone. Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone! All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.”
Topics is going to get a bit radical now. What if students call teachers by their first names? Would that be so bad? A bit of mutual respect. A bit of equality. No good? Thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.