Herman’s Hermits in session for NRK in Oslo, broadcast on March 4, 1967. Hard to imagine that’s it’s 50 years since this original broadcast was aired. Harder still to imagine it was 53 years ago that Herman’s Hermits were part of that initial wave of British Invasion bands which practically dominated the U.S. charts between 1964 and early 1966.
For a time, they were undisputed hitmakers; with a string of singles and albums in the top-10 and Grammy awards starting in 1965. They were also part of that hit-making machine envisioned by Mickie Most, who was one of the major forces in the flood of acts coming from the UK in the mid-1960s.
Herman’s Hermits had a wide-ranging appeal. They evoked a certain clean-cut appearance (unlike The Rolling Stones or The Pretty Things) and, along with groups like The Dave Clark Five, spread a certain wholesomeness which led them to mainstream popularity quite easily. Their popularity in the U.S. was cemented by frequent appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show as well as The Dean Martin Show and The Jackie Gleason Show.
But 1967 would be, for all intents and purposes, their last good year of a run that began three years earlier. Tastes changed, and even though they had huge hits with A Kind Of Hush and No Milk Today, but their album, Blaze was only issued in the U.S., barely cracking the Hot 100 and wasn’t issued at all in the UK. Their time as one of the major acts of the British Invasion era was all but over and the era of psychedelia had begun.
By 1971, Peter Noone (the erstwhile Herman) left the band in 1971 to pursue a solo career and the remaining members soldiered on for a while longer.
But this Norwegian TV appearance is the band in the early part of 1967, where No Milk Today was the hit single and they still got a lot of mileage out of their older material. From the sound of this, it appears to be a mixture of pre-recorded vocals and live vocals and some pre-recorded instrumentals (strings) – making it a bit difficult to sort out how much is live and how much isn’t.
But it’s an enjoyable glimpse into a band that was enormously popular during a time when British acts, following in the footsteps of the Beatles, were enjoying a wild and successful ride, but were also talented musicians in their own right.
A lot of you won’t know who this band is or anything about them. Check them out – it’s history and it’s important musical history from a time where a lot of things were changing and music was coming from a lot of different places. Pop music might have been considerably different had there not been a British Invasion – here is one of those examples.