Peter Noone, performing in Park City this weekend, was at ground zero of the British Invasion
Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone
8 p.m. Thursday, May 16, through Saturday, May 18; 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 19
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
Thursday tickets range from $43-$65. Friday tickets are $49-$70. Saturday’s and Sunday’s tickets are $53-$75.
Peter Noone was just 17 when his band, Herman’s Hermits traveled, from England to tour the United States in 1965.
He was one of the youngest artists to be part of the British Invasion, which included bands such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and The Who.
For Noone, whose Herman’s Hermits will play four nights at the Egyptian Theatre this weekend, the term “British Invasion” didn’t mean a thing at the time.
“We didn’t know there was a British Invasion because we lived in England,” he said with a laugh. “We just knew there was a new opportunity to go to America.”
Still, Noone said the period between 1964 and 1968 was “strange.”
“The reason why it was strange is because we all knew each other,” he said. “England is a very small country, you know. And the music scene was even smaller.”
The bands and artists, which also included The Who, the Dave Clark Five and Gerry and the Pacemakers, would read a couple of music trade newspapers to keep tabs on each other.
“Through those publications, we all knew who we were going to see on the TV show ‘Thank the Lucky Stars’ with us,” Noone said.
Once the bands hit the United States, they began to rely on each other for information about promoters and venues.
“We would hear which ones we had to watch out for,” Noone said. “There was a lot of camaraderie. It was like we were all sailors on the same ship that sailed to America.”
The friendships also stemmed from the fact that the bands didn’t feel they were competing against each other for American audiences.
“In order to get work, we all had to sound unique, and that was easy because everyone had a different type of style,” Noone said. “The Stones weren’t like the Beatles. The Beatles weren’t like The Who and the Who weren’t like Herman’s Hermits and we weren’t like the Zombies.”
Herman’s Hermits, which is known for the hits “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” “I’m Into Something Good” and “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am,” performed romantic pop songs.
“For the most part, all the songs we sang had happy endings,” Noone said. “They were all teen stuff.”
While Noone’s youthful appearance also added to the nuance as he sang those songs, he also tapped into his acting training.
Before he became a singer, Noone studied at St. Bede’s College and the Manchester School of Music and Drama.
“It is sort of Stanislavsky-esque to me, because I feel in order to sing a song well, you have to believe what you’re singing,” he said. “You have to believe there was a Mrs. Brown, and my background in acting made me more comfortable on stage.”
For the past few decades, when Noone wasn’t touring with his band, he dove into acting.
He appeared in the TV shows “As the World Turns,” “Married with Children” and “Quantum Leap,” and performed in the Broadway production of “Pirates of Penzance” in the 1980s.
“When I’m on stage at any given time, everything I’ve ever done in my whole life is represented in that one moment,” he said.
Noone, who is also the host of ‘60s music program “Something Good” on SiriusXM, is currently workshopping a musical called “My Very Own British Invasion,” which recently closed a limited run in New Jersey.
“It is a story about a nightclub in London and features people who perform as me, John Lennon, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull,” Noone said. “The play is a pretty good idea about people who were in groups and became songwriters and artists. We’re doing a rewrite and we hope it will go to Broadway within a year.”
In the meantime, Noone is devoting a lot of time to Herman’s Hermits.
“I’m sort of a spoiled brat,” he said laughing. “I never perform a song that I don’t like to perform, but I do want to make sure the audiences get their money’s worth.”
Noone said he knows people are having a good time when he looks into the audience and sees people singing along with him.
“It’s very gratifying,” he said. “When I was a kid and you went to see Jerry Lee Lewis, everyone knew the words. I never thought that would ever happen to me.”
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