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Arts & Culture

Peter Noone Promises 'Something Good' At The Tobin Center

Peter Noone
Tour Management
Peter Noone

A British Invasion band is headed to San Antonio to perform next week. While Herman’s Hermits was on the second tier of British Invasion popularity, in the early to mid-1960s, they were huge. Singer Peter Noone said their hit “Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter” had a very distinctive guitar riff, and that was by design.

 

"The song was created around the guitar. Because we've got that sound, that's where the song became creative,” he said, verbally mimicking the sound he was talking about. "Bonk-a-lonk, ah bonk-a-lonk..."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlQEQ0BRImc

It was also a smash hit, partially because of that sound created on a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar.

"...which has a little damper between pickups, and they deaden the strings to sort of sound like a dead banjo," he said.

Noone's career with Herman’s Hermits wasn't his first, though. As a teenager, he was an accomplished actor.

“Thank you for saying accomplished. I mean, I played a 12-year-old English boy when I was 13. There were not many stretches involved," he said.

He played a prominent role in the British soap opera “Coronation Street.”

"Having been on the television a lot as an actor, I knew when the camera was on me,” Noone said. “So by the time I got to ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ I knew how to work the cameras."

He got his musical start in British government-sponsored teen dance clubs created to look after the kids of working-class parents until they got off work. In those clubs he and the Hermits created a real following.

"And when you had enough people in your following, you got a record deal. And if you were lucky, you made a record that was a hit. And if you didn't, you went back to high school," he said.

Turns out his leap into music was quick and seamless. He began cranking out the hits, and over time, some of his songs were quirky. The quirkiest was a song about Henry theVIII, and all his wives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GisCRxREDkY

That success in the world of pop music came young. Exceptionally young.

"I didn't think I was young. I thought I was a man of the world. I was 15 and I was in a band and I thought I was very cool, but always living in fear," he said.

If you look at his performance videos from the era, the last thing that comes to mind is fear. He appeared quite comfortable, and the camera loved him. He was a 15-year-old with hit songs and the world on a string. So what was he afraid of?

"I was afraid that the Beatles were so much far superior that we wouldn't get a shot,” he said. “As my father would say, they've got talent. You'll need to work quite a lot harder than that."

Noone said that finally the wisdom that comes only with time now gives him a different perspective on his role in the British Invasion.

"The whole uniqueness of the British Invasion is something to behold because the Herman's Hermits weren't like the Beatles and the Beatles weren't like the Stones. And the Stones weren't like the Who and the Who weren't like the Kinks and the Kinks and the Stones and the Who and the Beatles weren't like Herman's Hermits. And so much, each one of them had a totally unique sound," he said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydfG6t6VL8s&list=RDydfG6t6VL8s&start_radio=1

Since the early days, Noone and the Hermits have sold 60 million albums, making 14 Gold Records in the process. Besides touring, he now hosts “Something Good With Peter Noone” Saturdays on Sirius XM.

“I love the music. And I now have basically a story about every one of the songs. So, you know, I'm never running out of stories," Noone said

Saturday, September 19th he's bringing his live show to San Antonio's Tobin Center, and he says fans will hear all his big songs. He said he usually ends with “Kind Of A Hush.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT4oLQTj7Eg

“When I sing it in the show, you see people hold hands with their wife of, you know, 50 years. And well, there you go. That means something," he said.

 
Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.

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