Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone still like to play the hits
For five decades, singer Peter Noone has lived the dream.
He’s still working and visiting "all of these nice places" because of the songs he’s known for singing in the group Herman’s Hermits.
Noone said he is looking forward to bringing his band Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone to Park City for a three night run from Feb. 5 to Feb. 7 at the Egyptian Theatre.
"We’re called Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone because we do loads of Herman’s Hermits songs, and, um, I’m the star," he laughed during a mid-errand phone call from California. "We think of ourselves as athletes and we think of the concerts as the game. So, if you stop hitting those home runs, you go to some horrible minor team. Because of that, the most important part of the day is the concert. We all believe in the music."
When Noone and his band play Park City, audiences will hear the hits: "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," "The End of the World" and "Dandy," to name a few.
"They all still kind of work," Noone said with another laugh. "In my version of ‘I’m Into Something Good,’ I sort of become that 16-year-old boy again making that record."
Noone still remembers first singing the song in the studio and remembers where the studio was and how the band got there.
"I also have fun with ‘Henry the VIII’ because I make the audience sing it," he said. "And when I say ‘millionth verse, same as the first,’ it’s probably around the right number now, no joke. It’s not ad nauseam. It may be ad infinitum, but not nauseam."
Another part of the secret is that Noone sets up scenes in his head that go with the songs.
"When I did ‘Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,’ I created this character and a scene for myself," he said. "I guess it’s kind of Stanislavski-esque. I still believe the scenes, so they make sense to the audience."
If the hits aren’t enough for fans, the band will also play some more obscure songs.
"There are a couple of songs like ‘Just a Little Bit Better’ that kind of disappeared and hasn’t been played on the radio for 40 years," Noone said. "But you know, I look into the audience and see someone sing along with it. So I make sure it stays in the show, because when I see people sing a song that they remember, it’s a high. It’s a buzz."
When the teenaged Noone and his band, the original Herman’s Hermits, known originally as Herman & the Hermits, hit the scene, they knew they had to find their own niche.
"We had to be unique because you couldn’t work in Liverpool or Manchester if you looked like everybody else," Noone said. "The audiences had already started their scorecards. They had The Beatles, The Stones, The Who and The Kinks and every one of them was different from each other. So, we had to be different than all of them."
Noone and the band decided to be what they really were.
"We became a boy band, before they were really invented," he said with a laugh. "We were the youngest of them all and because we were so young, everybody was kind to us. They knew it wasn’t necessary to like our music, but they liked us."
That was a good move because the band earned respect of some of the top players.
"Jerry Lee Lewis told me he was a fan because I made a choice to sing those songs in a certain way," Noone said. "He knew it wasn’t just to dress up and pretend to be one of The Beatles. Hundreds of bands did that and they all disappeared."
Noone also gained respect from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
"I used to ingratiate myself on them," he said with a laugh. "I mean, they didn’t want to hang around with this uncool Herman guy, but they liked me."
Still, Noone knew that it was more than image that would help the band reach success. It was the music.
He was inspired by the music his older sister listened to — Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers, Sam Cooke, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.
"Stuff happens to you when you’re a kid that makes an impression and I realized when I was 11 that the songs my sister listened to meant something to her," Noone said. "It wasn’t just that she liked the tune. The lyrics and the content had meaning."
Noone took that to heart and has seen first hand what music can do. He’s made Mick Jagger laugh by playing "Jumpin’ Jack Flash" and honored Tom Jones by playing "It’s So Unusual."
"I have a great band that knows a lot of music and we have been known to pull songs out of the hat," Noone said. "We have a list of 300 songs we can play because we’re very old. When you have a band of old people who love music and are fans of music, it’s great."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone from Friday, Feb. 5, to Sunday, Feb. 7. The Friday and Saturday concerts will begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday’s performance will start at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $39 to $65 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com .
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