Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone Rolls Into Riverhead’s The Suffolk

Peter Noone performing in 2007. (Cindy Funk)
Peter Noone performing in 2007. (Cindy Funk)

The British Invasion that swept through the U.S. in the early ’60s will reignite audiences as one of the premier groups of the day, Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone rolls into The Suffolk in Riverhead on March 19 for one night only.

Herman’s Hermits along with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Dave Clark Five and so many other British bands were all the rage through the ’60s. The Hermits had the distinction of selling more than 50 million records with 14 gold singles, seven gold albums and 20 Top 40 hits including “I’m Henry VIII,” “I Am,” “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” “I’m into Something Good,” “Silhouettes,” “Just A Little Bit Better,” “A Must to Avoid” and “Listen People.”

The band appeared on all the top television shows including Ed Sullivan which they did three times, June 6, 1965, the same year they sold more records than The Beatles, with a return on June 19, 1966, and a third time September 18, 1966.

Their success is attributed to the heartthrob lead singer, Peter Noone, with his blonde mop top, charismatic smile and sweet voice that made the girls swoon back in the day and has maintained momentum with a multi-generational fan base. Noone’s credits include Broadway, playing Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, which he parlayed into productions in London, a U.S. tour and international touring companies.

Noone married Mireille Strasser on his 21st birthday, November 5 in 1968, and they have one daughter, Natalie. In September 2019, Noone started hosting on the SiriusXM station ’60s Gold broadcast “Something Good,” a title derived from Herman’s Hermits’ hit song, “I’m into Something Good.”

Before Noone performs at The Suffolk, he stopped for a chat with Dan’s Papers:

You are touring constantly. You have 108 concerts planned in 2023. What’s it like living out on the road?

I kind of enjoy it. It’s what I do. My job takes me out on the road. It’s like being a pilot on a plane or something. I go to a place then I go home. It’s the only thing I know how to do. I’ve done it all my life.

What can audiences expect when they come to your concert?

Hopefully, they will hear the songs that made me popular, sing along and have a fun evening. It’s very rewarding for the singer of the song if the audience knows it and they sing it with you.

What do you see as the greatest reason for your longevity in the music business?

Basically, I just outlived all the competition. I never imagined becoming anything else. I never imagined becoming an accountant or a hairdresser or something. I’ve always been a live entertainer. I was one of those lucky entertainers who got some hits.

You were only 17 years old when you appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. Do you attribute that show to making you a household name in America?

Not really. We didn’t know much about Ed Sullivan. We were told he was a big shot, and The Beatles and all of that. We never thought of stuff like that. We were on a trip with no beginning, middle or end. We were on a nonstop ride. We didn’t know where we were going to be. We were like tourists everywhere and aghast at everything. I think he asked us to be on the show because we were so popular. We were a live performing band and when you got put on the front page of 16 magazine, you had made it as a teen idol. Ed Sullivan was just another person to us. He was a lovely guy, we loved him. He was so nice to us, a real gentleman. Before we were on The Ed Sullivan Show, I was in Time magazine, so it must have been good timing for him.

What was it like being a teen idol at 15 years of age and having all those girls screaming for you?

I never took myself too seriously. I’m not that kind of a person. I was just lucky to be in a band where all of the guys were attractive to different types of people. When you got a hit record, more girls screamed at you, but wherever I was, I was still Peter Noone. I was just me. I was always a little bit embarrassed by that screaming girl thing.

Since your name is Peter Noone, how did it evolve into Herman’s Hermits?

We were playing in a pub. We were doing a Buddy Holly song and I was wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a guy came up and said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I’m doing Buddy Holly.” And he said, “You don’t look anything like Buddy Holly. You look like Herman from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.” Of course, he meant Sherman and Professor Peabody, but he said Herman from the Bullwinkle Show. So, I became Herman, then he said to the band, “Herman and the Heartbeats, you don’t look like the Heartbeats, you should be called Herman and the Hermits.” And the name was born. We liked it because we believed no girl would ever scream the name Herman. We didn’t want to be that band with girls screaming. That lasts for a year then is replaced. We wanted to keep it going for a long time.

Are you in touch with the surviving founding members of Herman’s Hermits -Keith Hopwood and Karl Green?

Yes, Keith Hopwood and I speak almost every day. He’s got a new record out so we’re helping him promote that. And Karl Green and I speak sometimes. He retired.

Is there anything else you would like to tell fans?

Yes, we’re looking forward to playing Long Island.

Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits will play The Suffolk on Sunday, March 19, 4 p.m. Tickets are $59–$79. 118 East Main Street, Riverhead. 631-727-4343, suffolktheater.com

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