February 15, 2015

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 93: The Best of Herman's Hermits ~ Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter

The Best of Herman's Hermits
top: Peter Noone 
bottom, left to right: Karl Green, Derek Leckenby, 
Barry Whitwam & Keith Hopwood
reel-to-reel tape box cover detail
cover photo by Rama
detail photo by Styrous®



In addition to my 20,000 Vinyl LP collection I'm selling, I have reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes for sale. If interested, contact me by email please, not by a comment. 

I have the Best of Herman's Hermitsreel-to-reel tape for sale on eBay. I have others for sale on eBay now (see links below).    

~ ~ ~

50 years ago

I was 25 when I heard the song, Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter. I will never forget the sound of Peter Noone's adenoidal voice. The song was completely bubble-gum, innocuous and adorable. I was still close enough to those days of innocence and the discovery of love so I adored it. 

Mrs. Brown was written by British singer-songwriter Trevor Peacock and originally sung by actor Tom Courtenay in The Lads, a British TV play of 1963 and released as a single on UK Decca F 11729. The version by the Hermits reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 in May, 1965. The band never dreamed it would be a single let alone hit number one in the US.

According to Noone and Hopwood, the song was recorded as an afterthought in two takes – using two microphones, with a unique muted rhythm guitar by Keith Hopwood, Green on bass guitar and Whitwam on drums. Noone and the band deliberately emphasised their English accents on the record, never intended to be a single. Hopwood recalls playing a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar in the studio, with its strings muted to create the distinctive sound. When playing the song live Hopwood often used a Rickenbacker guitar with a rag under the bridge to duplicate the sound, which can be seen clearly in old performance clips (see link to YouTube below). 

According to Noone the song was well known to British bands; it would often be performed at birthday parties, substituting the name of the girl whose party was being celebrated, i.e., "Mrs. Smith" or "Mrs. Jones" instead of "Mrs. Brown". 


The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape box cover 
cover photo by Rama
photo by Styrous®


The next song by the Hermits I loved was, I'm Henry Vlll I Am. It was silly, frivolous and tons of fun. I saw him perform it on TV once and it was so much fun to watch him bounce around to the rhythm of the tune (see link to YouTube below).

I'm Henry Vlll I Am (also I'm Henery the VIII, I Am or I'm Henry VIII, I Am; spelled "Henery" but pronounced "'Enery" in the Cockney style normally used to sing it) is a 1910 British music hall song by Fred Murray and R. P. Weston. It was a signature song of the music hall star Harry Champion. In 1965, it became the fastest-selling song in history to that point when it was revived by the Hermits becoming the group's second number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The lead solo on the Hermits' version was played by the group's lead guitarist Derek "Lek" Leckenby. Noone's Irish grandfather had been in the habit of singing the song when Noone was young. 



The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape box cover detail
cover photo by Rama
detail photo by Styrous®


Herman's Hermits is an English beat (or pop) band, formed in Manchester in 1962. Originally called Herman & The Hermits, they were discovered by Harvey Lisberg. Lisberg introduced the group to Mickie Most who became the group's record producer, controlling the band's output. He emphasized a simple, non-threatening, clean-cut image. This dampened the band's songwriting; Noone, Hopwood, Leckenby and Green's songs were relegated to B-sides and album cuts.  


The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape box cover detail
cover photo by Rama
detail photo by Styrous®


The Hermits' 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.


The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape box back
photo by Styrous®


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


The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
photo by Styrous®


The original members of the band were Keith Hopwood (guitar, vocals), Karl Green (guitar, vocals), Alan Wrigley (bass guitar, vocals), Steve Titterington (drums), and Peter Noone (lead vocals). The youngest member of a remarkably young group, 15-year-old Noone was already an experienced actor on the hugely popular British TV soap opera Coronation Street. Derek "Lek" Leckenby (guitar, vocals) and Barry Whitwam (drums) (born Jan Barry Whitwam, 21 July 1946, in Prestbury, Cheshire) joined later from another local group, The Wailers. Whitwam replaced Titterington on drums, Green switched to bass guitar (replacing Wrigley), and Leckenby took over for Green as lead guitarist. After Leckenby joined the band, the group made a deal with producer Mickie Most and signed with EMI's Columbia label in Europe and MGM Records in the United States. 



The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
photo by Styrous®



In 1965 and 1966, the group rivaled The Beatles on the US charts and was the top-selling pop act in the US in 1965. On The Beatles Anthology video, there is a brief interview with a young girl in the audience attending The Beatles' second appearance at Shea Stadium. When asked why The Beatles did not sell out the venue this time, she replied that they were not as popular any more and that she preferred Herman's Hermits. 



The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape box back detail
photo by Styrous®


When Noone left the group the Hermits continued on, first with Peter Cowap. Hopwood and Leckenby eventually started a music company, Pluto Music, which is still in business as of 2011 working primarily on commercial and animation soundtracks. Hopwood has since become a composer of scores for film and television. Green has become a manager of sound systems for concert venues along London's South Bank. Leckenby died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1994, leaving Whitwam as the only continuous member of the band. He continues to tour with Herman's Hermits joined by new musicians.


The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape
photo by Styrous®


Noone eventually returned to touring and continues to play billed as "Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone". Legal disputes between Whitwam and Noone have forced the former to rename the band "Herman's Hermits starring Barry Whitwam" when they tour in North America, but they remain billed as "Herman's Hermits" worldwide.  In 2014, Karl Green started touring again for the first time in 34 years, playing the music of Herman's Hermits. His band includes veteran musicians such as Bob Abrams formerly of The Buckinghams, Mike Bruccoleri, formerly of Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone, and Gina Knight of The Blooze Brothers.



The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape detail
detail photo by Styrous®



In March, 2015, the German label "Bear Family" will release a 2-CD 50th Anniversary set containing 66 of their most significant recordings, 59 of them are in first-time-ever stereo, mixed by Ron Furmanek, a well known CD reissue producer. 



The Best of Herman's Hermits
reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous®


Tracklist:

Side 1:

1 - I’m Henry VIII, I Am - 1:49
2 - Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter  - 2:46
3 - Mother-In-Law  - 2:21
4 - I'm Into Something Good  - 2:31
5 - Silhouettes  - 1:57

Side 2:

1 - Just A Little Bit Better  - 2:57
2 - Can't You Hear My Heartbeat  - 2:15
3 - The End Of The World  - 2:57
4 - Sea Cruise  - 2:08
5 - I Gotta Dream On  - 2:04 
6 - Wonderful World  - 1:57


Personnel:

Label: MGM Records ‎– MG 4315
Format: reel-to-reel tape
Country: US
Released: 1965



Herman's Hermits discography
Herman's Hermits website






The Best of Herman's Hermits, reel-to-reel tape, is for sale on eBay 

Other reel-to-reel tapes for sale on eBay     




Thanks for the fun times, fellows!


Styrous® ~ Sunday, February 15, 2015


 on YouTube  



Styrous® ~ Sunday, February 15, 2015


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