Sunday, 13 October 2013

Hermans Hermits 1964

Remembering a band from 1964  HERMAN'S HERMITS with their massive hit I'm into something good, A band that made a big splash on the music scene with PETER NOONE as the lead singer ! What a fab band , Although the band is still about today , The line up is different, Please read info bellow ...Herman's Hermits Biography

Herman's Hermits When the Beatles first soared to the top of the American music charts in early 1964 they opened the gates for dozens of British bands to follow. But missing from that first wave was a band that would rise to become one of the biggest-selling “British invasion” groups—Herman's Hermits—initially left behind because of lack of a recording contract.
Unlike the Beatles, who did their best to disguise their accents while singing, Herman's Hermits took delight in their decidedly working-class dialect that was evident in their first hit, “I'm Into Something Good,” a Gerry Goffin/Carole King song that had been a minor hit in the United States for Cookies' vocalist Earl-Jean McCrea. The Hermits'single was released August 7, 1964, and quickly reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom, and No. 13 in the United States.

American audiences couldn't get enough of this new sound from across the sea, and Hermans Hermits were enamored with American pop music. Capitalising on their British accents, Herman's Hermits travelled to America for the first time in December 1964. They had just released in the United Kingdom their first EP (extended play) 45 RPM disc, Hermania , which featured American hits “I Understand,” a song first made popular in 1954 by the Four Tunes and later by Freddie and The Dreamers; Frankie Ford's No. 14 hit in 1959, “Sea Cruise;” and Ernie K-Doe's 1961 No. 1 hit “Mother-In-Law.”

While in America, the group was invited to make a cameo appearance in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's (MGM) teen movie When The Boys Meet the Girls, starring Connie Francis and Harve Presnell. Hermits Peter Noone, Karl Green, Keith Hopwood, Derek “Lek” Leckenby and Barry “Bean” Whitwam joined the likes of Louis Armstrong, Liberace and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs—who, like the Hermits, had recording contracts with MGM—and introduced their “Listen People,” which hit No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart in February of 1966.

With seven consecutive hits—“I'm Into Something Good; “Can't You Hear My Heartbeat?”; “Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter”; “Silhouettes”; “Wonderful World”; “I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am” (a 1911 music hall song); and “Just A Little Bit Better”—Herman's Hermits records sales in 1965 exceeded record sales by the Beatles' receiving Billboard magazine's award for most sales.

Peter Noone was fascinated by the giddy tune “Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter,” written by actor-playwright Trevor Peacock and first recorded and sung by British actor Tom Courtenay. The Hermits featured the song in their stage performances as a novelty number, recording it only reluctantly. Hermits' producer, Mickie Most, rejected the idea of releasing it as a single, but when advance orders approached 1 million, he relented.

Three days after an American DJ began playing “Mrs. Brown,” MGM received 70,000 requests for the single, which was released in early 1965. The song spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, topped Australian charts, and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.

Fuelled by the success of “Mrs. Brown,” Herman's Hermits selected songs for United States release with a Vaudeville flavor, including “I'm Henry The Eighth (I Am),” distinguishing them from other British Invasion acts of the time.

Herman's Hermits began in Manchester, England, as an outgrowth of a group called the Heartbeats, which originally was named the Cyclones and consisted of guitarists Karl Green and Alan Chadwick, bassist Alan Wrigley, and drummer Steve Titterington. When the group's vocalist failed to show up for a gig, 15-year-old Peter Noone filled in and joined in 1963 using the name Peter Novak. The Heartbeats became Pete Novak and the Heartbeats until Peter changed his stage name to Herman after band members said he resembled Sherman in the “Mr. Peabody” segment of the TV cartoon The Bullwinkle Show . He misheard the name as Herman and adopted it.

But that version of the band they called Herman and His Hermits didn't last long. Karl Green recalls, “Al Chadwick left, because his girlfriend didn't like him being in a band, so Keith joined. Then we went for a couple of recording tests with different people, and everybody seemed to be saying, ‘The band's all right except for the bass player and drummer.' But we didn't have enough balls to say to them, ‘You're out of the band. We want someone else.' So the whole lot just split up.”

Harvey Lisberg, who had been manager of the dissolved Herman and His Hermits, decided to salvage the group by consolidating it with another band. He sought out a group called the Wailers, which included members Barry Whitwam, Derek Leckenby and a bass player who went by the name of Big Wal. “We said we didn't fancy it, really, because we'd seen the band once before, and we didn't really like them,” says Whitwam. “But then Harvey showed us their diary, their date sheet, and they were actually working seven nights a week. So we thought about this—‘well, it's not too bad after all.' So then we auditioned for Harvey Lisberg and his partner, Charlie Silverman, in the basement, and we played a few numbers there.”

One of the songs that impressed Lisberg was the Wailers' version of the Jewish celebratory song “Hava Nagilah.” “We did a great version of it, slowly started it, then we'd speed it up to a frenzy,” says Whitwam. “So we played this, and they were over the moon. So we got the job. Thank God for ‘Hava Nagilah'! But Big Wal's father wouldn't let him become a professional musician.”

The group re-formed in the spring of 1964 with Karl Green on bass, rhythm guitarist Keith Hopwood, lead guitarist Derek “Lek” Leckenby, drummer Barry “Bean” Whitwam and lead vocalist Peter Noone. Harvey Lisberg then booked some time for the reconstituted band in a recording studio. He sent a demo of the recording to Mickie Most, producer of hits for the Animals and the Nashville Teens. Most had previously auditioned the early version of the Hermits and was unimpressed, but he was interested in recording the new group. “Mickie liked the new sound,” said Whitwam. “It was a lot better musically.”

The band members decided they needed to separate themselves from the crowd. “Lek and I suggested we change the name from Herman and His Hermits to Herman's Hermits the day we joined, so the fans would know it was a different band with two new members in it,” said Whitwam. “Herman's Hermits was a more modern name, because there were a lot of bands at that particular time—Freddie and the Dreamers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and so on. And that was the arrangement. I think it was the beginning of April 1964 when we changed the name.”

When Keith Hopwood first joined Herman and His Hermits, the group was working four or five gigs a week. He recalls, “Television producer Johnny Hamp of Granada TV in Manchester gave us a TV spot on a little local program. And we did that one, and then he sort of took a shine to us and gave us about four more TV slots. We hadn't had a record at this point. We were still a local band. And not only did he give us the TV slots, but he used to send in an outside broadcast unit to film us. We were playing at the Cavern in Liverpool, and he'd sent the crew down there to film us all day. So we built up a very big following with all this television exposure. The local shows were going fantastically well, although our name didn't mean anything once you got 50 miles from Manchester.”

Most, who managed to land a deal with EMI's Columbia label, thought Peter resembled the late President John F. Kennedy and wanted to make him the group's focal point. In July of 1964, Most brought the band into the studio to record “I'm Into Something Good.” In September the song spent two weeks at No. 1 on the British charts, and by October of '64, after its release in the States on MGM, “I'm Into Something Good” earned the No. 13 spot in America on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, which was already crowded with “British invasion” acts.

Herman's Hermits spent most of 1965 in the United States. Karl Green recalls the exhilaration he felt being a young pop star traveling to America for the first time. “The mayhem of arriving at Austin airport, or Ft. Worth, or Dallas, and having hundreds and hundreds of people invade the tarmac at the airport, and having to be taken from the airplane straight into cars and taken off to wherever we were going. It was just complete enough mayhem,” says Green. “And for a guy 17 to have all these gorgeous girls after him, it was an unbelievable ego boost!”

But all of the traveling and exposure had its price, according to Green. “During the '60s the bands would earn the least money because they were on the road doing all the work while the managers sat in their comfortable offices earning 25 percent with no expenses,” he explained. “I mean, when we were on tour, we were paying for all the airplanes that the managers and agents were traveling on, and paying for all the hotel rooms. They had no outlay. We were paying for everything.”

While other British groups were striving to sound like Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and other American recording artists, for five years Herman's Hermits turned out hit after hit capitalizing on their heritage and cockney dialect.

“Herman's Hermits was different from all the other groups,” says Peter Noone. “If you want to know about Herman's Hermits, ask the Beatles, and they'll tell you that it was a great, fun idea that we did the opposite kind of songs of everybody else. Nobody was doing songs with English accents like ‘Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter.' We went to a place where no one else wanted to go. So the perception might be that we were just one of those bands from the '60s. Well, we were, but the reason that we sold 50 million records is because we didn't attempt to compete with the Beatles, or the Stones, or anybody else. We made our own style.”

Herman's Hermits' first visit to the United States in the fall of 1964 coincided with the release of “I'm Into Something Good.” The group spent a week in New York visiting various radio shows, including an appearance on the influential Murray the K show on WINS. The following spring of 1965, Herman's Hermits joined the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars, a touring ensemble of emerging pop stars on a grueling schedule of one-night appearances.

Keith Hopwood recalls, “It was a bus tour, but not what you'd call a tour bus nowadays. It was like the No. 33 school bus. It was structured so that every other night you got to sleep in a motel, and every other night you had to drive all the way through the night to the next gig. So it was pretty uncomfortable.”

Barry “Bean” Whitwam agreed. “If you pulled the short straw and had to sit next to Billy Stewart or Round Robin, there wasn't much room, based on the spillover from that seat to yours,” he laughed. “We were so thin in those days, we could actually sleep in the overhead compartments where you put the baggage. We squeezed up in there so we could lay out.”

Most Caravan of Stars performers had scored only one or two hits—sufficient to appear on a multi-star bill, but not to draw audiences of their own. But by the time the Caravan reached Philadelphia, Herman's Hermits had four top-five records on the chart—“I'm Into Something Good,” “Can't You Hear My Heartbeat,” “Silhouettes,” and “Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter.” The tour had been booked months prior when the group had only one hit record. Keith Hopwood recalls, “So this promoter, in his wisdom, had obviously booked the Dick Clark thing and then got cold feet about filling this theater. Unbeknownst to anybody, he booked the Rolling Stones as well. But he didn't tell anybody. So we all turned up, and it was quite an entertaining afternoon, because backstage and up the stairs you've got us camped out on one side, and on the other side you've got the Stones, and there was this huge argument about who was going to close the show.”

Accompanying Herman's Hermits on the bus tour were Freddie Cannon, Bobby Vee, Reparata and the Delrons, Billy Stewart, Round Robin, and Little Anthony and the Imperials. “The bus was quite full,” says Hopwood. “You've got Round Robin, who was 22 stone [equivalent to 308 lbs.]. And Billy Stewart, who was 22 stone. And Reparata's manager was 25 stone [350 lbs.]. But what prompted us to say that we're not going on the bus anymore was we came out one morning, and there had been a bit of an altercation in the motel and a gun appeared at the front of the bus.” So we said, ‘Excuse me. I think we're going to travel by car.”

Whitwam also recalls the incident. “About halfway through the tour, Billy Stewart and Round Robin had a disagreement over a woman, I believe, and pulled guns out at each other. Billy Stewart was at the front of the bus and Round Robin was at the back. It was like the wild West. They were pointing guns at each other, and we were in between this,” he said. “So we got off the bus and we rang Dick Clark and said, ‘We don't mind doing your tour, but we're not getting involved in gunfights.' So he provided us with a station wagon and a driver. It wasn't much better. There was the six of us and all the bags in a station wagon.”

While Whitwam enjoyed the excitement of being in a different city every night, at times he found the traveling to be a grind. During a two-week break in the Dick Clark tour, Herman's Hermits performed some shows of their own in Texas, “Just as we were doing those shows, ‘Mrs. Brown' went straight to number 1, and all a sudden we were playing to thousands and thousands of people, overnight,” said Whitwam. “We had to go back and finish the Dick Clark tour. And we still had the overnight traveling in the station wagon. The distances were quite far apart. So we finished that tour, and then we started doing tours of our own.”

The Hermits continued to churn out hits through 1966 and 1967. But along with music-hall flavored ditties such as “Leaning on the Lamppost” in the spring of 1966 and “Dandy” (written by Ray Davies of the Kinks), that fall they began recording more sophisticated material. They made memorable recordings of three ballads by British songwriter Graham Gouldman—“Listen People,” “East West,” and “No Milk Today,” as well as “This Door Swings Both Ways,” a mature portrait about contrasts in life—the jubilance and agony of life and the choices that must be made. But the band members were perhaps at their best in 1966, when they recorded the lovely Geoff Stephens-Les Reed ballad “There's a Kind of Hush All Over the World.” The song, which rose to No. 4 on the American pop charts, earned the Hermits their third and final gold single—a double-sided hit backed with “No Milk Today.”

Peter Noone has many fond memories of performing in the '60s. “The whole thing was actually quite a very good time. We were young guys, so everything was a new experience. We played in Hong Kong, Israel, America, the Philippines, France. Every day was a new experience,” he says. “We had some of the greatest experiences that any kid could possibly have. So whether we got paid or not, the experience is worth billions of dollars, and I'm grateful for it. If money is the item in the music business, then you'd never make it anyway. If it had been for money, we'd have never been in show business. We would have become doctors.”

Peter Noone left the group in late 1970 and starred in numerous stage, TV and film productions, during which time he had met David Bowie. Bowie had written Noone's first British solo hit “Oh You Pretty Thing,” and played piano on the recording. During the '80s, Noone fronted a new-wave band called the Tremblers, and released a solo album called One of the Glory Boys .

Following Peter's departure, Green, Leckenby, Hopwood and Whitwam carried on as Herman's Hermits. Says Green, “And then we were offered to get back with Peter for a tour in the states with Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, the Searchers, and various other bands. And we said, ‘yeah.' And it was good fun at the time.”

But then things began to sour. Following the reunion tour, Noone decided to form another band and call it Herman's Hermits. Karl, Lek and Barry, who had been performing as Herman's Hermits throughout the 1970s, filed a lawsuit to gain legal ownership of the name. The initial judgment came on behalf of Green, Leckenby and Whitwam. Even though a legal settlement had been handed down, the disagreement at the root of the lawsuit continued to generate animosity among the Hermits and Peter.

After performing for three decades with the Hermits, Derek Leckenby died on June 4, 1994, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer. He left his wife, Leonie, who was at his side when he died, and their two children.

Two version of the band: Whitwam's Hermits and Herman's Hermits with Peter Noone continue to perform concerts worldwide.

Herman's Hermits has sold more than 60 million records since 1964.


Debut Peak Title Label

10/64 13 I'm Into Something Good MGM

1/65 2 Can't You Hear My Heartbeat? MGM

4/65 5 Silhouettes MGM

4/65 1 Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter MGM 
(Certified Gold)

5/65 4 Wonderful World MGM

7/65 1 I'm Henry VIII, I Am (Certified Gold) MGM

9/65 7 Just A Little Bit Better MGM

12/65 8 A Must To Avoid MGM

2/66 3 Listen People MGM

4/66 9 Leaning On The Lamp Post MGM

7/66 12 This Door Swings Both Ways MGM

10/66 5 Dandy MGM

12/66 27 East West MGM

2/67 4 There's A Kind Of Hush (Certified Gold) MGM

2/67 35 No Milk Today MGM

6/67 18 Don't Go Out Into the Rain MGM

8/67 39 Museum MGM

1/68 22 I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving MGM

5/68 61 Sleepy Joe MGM

Epilogue: Barry Whitwam

Barry “Bean” Whitwam is proud to say that one of his finest achievements has been “staying power”—the ability to remain with one band through all of its trials and tribulations for well over three decades. And one of the bonuses he recognizes is the realization that audiences today are as excited about seeing Herman's Hermits as they were during the 1960s. With all those years of experience under his belt comes excellence in his craft. His precision drumming reflects the refinement of all those years of practice.

Barry picked up his nickname “Bean” in 1950. “I was always inventing and building silly things, so a close friend of my father's, Frank Evans, christened me Billy Bean after a cartoon called ‘Billy Bean and His Funny Machine.' A few years later, it was shortened to ‘Bean.'”

Barry recalls becoming interested in music at about the age of 10, after hearing Buddy Holly records. “A friend of mine had the records, and he played a guitar and he sang,” recalls Whitwam. “At about 12, I had the opportunity to join a group of local boys playing in a band. But they wanted a drummer with a drum kit, and I couldn't play the drums and they didn't have a drum kit. And so I persuaded my mother to buy me a secondhand drum kit, which came to about $60 in those days, which was quite expensive. And I joined the band, but I couldn't play the drums. Eventually after about six months I got some kind of rhythm together. After struggling for about two years I took some lessons for 18 months when I was about 14.”

Eager to learn popular music, Barry would listen to a record and copy the drumming in it the best he could. “It worked out pretty well in the end,” he says. “It's like riding a bike, really. Once you've got your balance and you can separate your feet from your hands, it becomes a lot easier. It's just getting over that first barrier, separating your limbs.”

His drum lessons proved to be a very valuable experience, especially in discipline. “Most of the time I played just on a rubber pad. I wasn't on the drum kit. I was studying the Buddy Rich snare drum rudiments. And that was very good, indeed. I still use that book. I've still got the original I had. It's real beat up, but I've still got it, and I go back to it every now and again, just for fun, because it is enjoyable playing these patterns on a rubber pad.”

Barry's first band was a five-member group called the Demons. “We first started playing instrumentals—songs by the Ventures and the Shadows and things like that, and old classical instrumentals revamped. Then we got a singer, and we were called Danny and the Demons, and we were doing copies of American singers—Elvis, Buddy Holly, and Dion.

Fifteen-year-old Whitwam was performing two to three days a week with the Demons for youth clubs and workingmen's clubs. “Nobody ever asked us how old we were,” he laughs. The band, which retained the same members, changed its name from the Demons to the Hellions, and then to the Wailers.

Born Jan Barry Whitwam on July 21, 1946, in Prestbury, Cheshire, Barry says, “Prestbury is in the country. It was sort of a place used in the war so no babies were born in Manchester in case they were bombed. It's a very nice house. It's still there.” He grew up in Didsbury, a suburb of Manchester, and graduated from Ladybarn Secondary Modern in Manchester. He then entered into a college for women's hairdressing in the center of town.

“I didn't want to go into a factory or be like everybody else. I wanted to try to get into a career where there was hardly any competition. My mother fancied me going into it as well because she could get free haircuts,” he laughed.

Barry took a six-month course in hair styling. The owner of the college, who had several shops in Manchester, thought having a male hair stylist would help to increase his business since there weren't many men in that profession at the time. “He took me aside, and I was supposed to be the whiz kid in the shops. So he gave me an extra three months' training at no cost.

But Whitwam's hair styling career proved to be short-lived. He worked as a stylist at a shop in Manchester for almost two years, before deciding it wasn't a career he wanted to continue. “It was hectic, really,” he says. “It's like cooking seven different meals at the same time—one woman's got the color on, another one's got the perming lotion on, another with bleach. If you get the timing wrong, you can lose somebody's hair.”

Whitwam decided he'd much rather pursue a career in music and asked his father if he could spend some time concentrating on becoming a professional drummer. “My father said he'd think about it, and I didn't know this 'til 20 years later, but he'd had a word with my boss. He asked him if I could take some time off to get this drumming out of my system. And if it didn't work, could I have the job back? So the two of them made an arrangement,” says Whitwam. “There was one condition: When my father went out to work at about 8 o'clock in the morning, I took practice for four hours, had a good lunch, and practiced for another four hours. So I wasn't just sitting at home. I was actually practicing the drums for eight hours a day. The next-door neighbor didn't like that, really.”

Barry's father George Vincent, who died in 1985, had made a living as a refrigeration engineer. His mother Elsie, who had worked as a seamstress, died in 1992. Both parents were very proud of Barry's musical success. His only brother, two years his senior, died of electrocution at the age of 14. He had been playing a record while taking a bath.

In coping with stardom, Barry recalls, “We were sort of brought down to earth very quickly with our second record. It only got to No. 20 in the charts in England, and the press really went to town on us. You know, ‘we're a flash in the pan,' ‘one-hit wonders,' ‘you will never see Herman's Hermits again.'”

But the band carried on, and it wasn't long after the negative publicity the Hermits returned to the studio and recorded “Silhouettes,” which quickly reached No. 2 in England and No. 5 in the United States. The next four years would be spent touring the world.

“Stardom really doesn't affect you individually;” says Whitwam. “It affects your friends more than anything. You go back into the local bar and have a drink and your friends all seem to be saying ‘you've changed' because you can afford to buy a drink and they expect you to buy them one. Your friends sort of disappeared slowly. And you really didn't make any, because you were always on the road. You'd make friends with other bands, then, who were in the same situation.”

Some of Barry's fondest memories of performing with Herman's Hermits during the 1960s include a Royal Command Performance show in London in front of the Queen Mother and Royal Family, and meeting and talking with Elvis Presley while in Hawaii. “We had just finished one of our U.S. tours in Hawaii, in 1966 or '67. Elvis was making a film, Paradise Hawaiian Style. We were due to fly out, and the night before Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker, phoned us and said Elvis was filming, did we want to meet him. And we said, ‘dead right, yeah!' But three of the boys went home, and just Peter and I stayed behind. And that was something the rest of the boys truly regretted,” he says. “We talked with Elvis about nostalgia music, the different way our hair was, and how we liked his songs and films. He was real cool. I have a picture of myself and Elvis on my wall of fame, as it were, at home.”

Today, Whitwam tours with his Herman's Hermits band for about 12 weeks a year in America and around the world, including Japan and the Middle East. The rest of their time is spent touring Europe and Scandinavia. Whitwam's Hermits include Gary Powell, Graham Lee, and Geoff Foot, who wrote the first single for the band after Peter Noone left in 1971.

“Geoff Foot joined the band in the '80s after the Hermits recorded one of his songs ‘She's a Lady.' Geoff toured with the Hermits in the U.S., Germany and Scandinavia before leaving to raise his family, and now he's been back in the band,” says Whitwam. Foot had been a member of Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, and Mike Sweeney and the Thunderbirds.

A friend of the band for more than 30 years, Graham Lee played lead guitar with Herman's Hermits on a five-week tour of Sweden in 1992 while Derek Leckenby was undergoing chemotherapy. Lee had been a member of the Scorpions in 1965 and moved to Holland where the band had a No. 1 hit with “Hello Josephine,” and went on to make four albums and seven chart hits.

Whitwam's Hermits regularly tour the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Scandinavian countries, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Although a large part of their show is made up of the ever-popular “oldies' tunes, they throw in a few of their more recent creations.

Barry has made Herman's Hermits his sole career since 1964; however, he says, “Business slowed down in America after about 1969, when MGM was putting out the records, and we got into a litigation with them. During that 18 months of litigation the Monkees replaced us. Our fans were young teenagers. They got straight stuck into the Monkees. They liked them. I liked them too. But we carried on doing songs and tours in Europe, up until Peter Noone left. Then we continued onwards without him, and we've never stopped.”

Whitwam believes that Herman's Hermits fared financially better than most '60s bands, whose profits were mishandled or scooped up by greedy managers. “Our money wasn't handled by management. It came in when we did a tour and it was just split up into individual bank accounts. They had managed projects or investments. Management helped organize insurance and endowment policies and introduced us to people in very reputable companies, and we invested our money with them,” he said. “Once we made a bit of money, we all bought our parents houses.”

Whitwam lived with his parents for about three years while the band was touring. “But I was hardly ever there. I was always on the road, traveling,” he said. “We upgraded the house. We used to live in a semi, which is sort of a house you add on to another one. We bought a big detached house, about a six- or seven-bedroom house. And then I got stuck into cars. I used to love cars. I'd buy a car for three months and change it. I think up to now I've had about 60 cars, but between 1964 and '70 I must have had about 30 cars. We used to say, when the ashtrays were full, you'd change it and get a new one. I used to have Jaguars, Aston-Martins, Daimlers, sports cars. I used to love them.”

Barry was married to his first wife in 1967. His daughter, Emma, was born in 1969, and son, Richard, was born in 1974. Both of his children are married and have children of their own. Emma has two sons—James was born on Christmas 1998, and Harry was born January 2001. Richard has a daughter, Meghan, who was born during the summer of 1996, and a son, Sam, who was born in 2000.

When Emma was born, Barry was on the road a lot. “I remember coming home and my daughter was sort of hiding behind my wife's legs—you know, like, ‘Who's this man?' ‘It's your father.' After you've been away three months, it was a strange feeling. I had to sort of break the ice again.”

Both children have dabbled in music, but made their careers in other areas. “Richard plays the drums but he is also manager of a Quick-Fit—a big exhaust and brake franchise. My daughter is a teacher, and she played the violin and piano very well as a teenager,” said Whitwam.

Barry met his current wife, Patricia Prendergast, when their children were going to the same school. The couple has been married since 1987. “I had a golden retriever and she had a big German shepherd. And we'd take the kids to school. On my way back there's a big park, and I'd take the dog for a run, and the two dogs met first fighting. So we separated them, and got to know each other. Then eventually I got divorced and married Patricia.”

Patricia, who has a son named Jonathan, born in 1974, owns her own air cargo business, arranging for air shipment of animals worldwide. “We have two cats,” said Whitwam. “We didn't have any animals after the dogs passed away. Then we had a house cleaner and she got sort of involved with distressed and abandoned animals. And she said, ‘I've got this fabulous cat,' so she brought it 'round, and it was the ugliest thing you've ever seen. It had obviously been badly treated, so we took it on. It was about two years before you could even stroke the thing. It was wild. It's good now, though. And we've got another one from a rescue center. They're great. But I think we'll end up with another dog, though, a German shepherd. Cats are a bit distant. They only come around when they want some treat. And they don't fetch sticks or anything. You can't take them for a walk.”

When he's not on the road, Barry enjoys playing golf. “I've just joined a club for the first time,” he says. “I've been playing for many years, but I've never been around long enough to join a club.”

Patricia accompanies Barry when the band plays resort areas or when he expects to be away for a week or more. “Patricia came to San Diego when we were playing there for two weeks. In 2001, she actually won the air travel on a TV show phone-in. She was asked to pick a number between 1 and 5, and that represented how many you think the panel will score, and I think she picked none. The panel was hopeless,” laughs Whitwam. “We also went to Death Valley, and that was fabulous!”

Whitwam still hopes to achieve another hit record. He says, “We're still writing new songs, and we've had one released in Europe in early 2000.”

The group members collaborate on songs while they're on the road. “It works well,” he says. “We've written some great songs together. It's difficult getting a record company to back Herman's Hermits, but we're hopeful.”

Herman's Hermits made two films during their career. The 1966 movie Hold On! was filmed in America. Barry explains, “The space program, NASA, decided to let the children of America name the next rocket to go up, and the kids chose the name Herman's Hermits. So then the FBI and special agents had to follow the group around to make sure we were worthy of our name going on a rocket.” The group also made a movie in England in 1968 called Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter.

“Basically, we had to act like ourselves. The director said, ‘here's your lines. Just do them the best you can,' and we had a good laugh with it.” said Whitwam. “ Mrs. Brown was probably better than Hold On! It was about a greyhound dog. The dog was called Mrs. Brown. And the puppy was Mrs. Brown's daughter. I get the movies out for a laugh every now and again. Basically MGM wanted to make the films. It was in the contract so they'd sell more records, soundtracks.”

Barry says he feels his greatest enduring talent is playing the drums. “It's probably the best thing I do. I think my best ability is to look at the world and take it with a pinch of salt. Don't take it too seriously, or you'll worry yourself to death in this business.”

Any misperceptions? “No. Everybody knows that Peter Noone is not in the band. People who come see us expect not to see him, because Peter's done a good job saying he left the band by 1971, especially when he did his VH-1 TV show. So everybody knows that Peter's not in the band and everyone has a great time enjoying the music.”

Barry says the individual who made the biggest influence on his musical career was Elvis Presley. “When I saw Jailhouse Rock, the video clip of that was incredible. That changed my whole way of looking at music. It was incredible. It was like three rows of cells, and they were dancing along it. That was brilliant.”

Whitwam observed there are three generations of Herman's Hermits fans. “When we do a state fair, where there's no alcohol served and kids can go in, we get a lot of young kids, from 5 years old, upwards.” With them are their parents, who are typically the children of baby boomers. “And then we obviously get the old fans who want to see us again. But it's really good to see like 5-year-olds that know the words to ‘I'm Henry VIII, I Am.'”

When asked “What kind of person would you say you are?” Barry responds, “I'm a typical Cancerian, I think. I was born on the 21st of July, so I'm nearly a Leo. So I'm a bit of an extrovert. I think I approach excess with caution, shy sometimes. My wife would say I'm a safe old dog. Always by the side. I don't cause any trouble. I have a wonderful sense of fun.”

You can read about more great Bands / Singers / Musicians / Music etc on this blog 
or go to Paul Burns Music 
or Go to The Rockhouse Music Project Page on facebook ( please like my page)
Thanks for your support and for reading this blog.

    (Music Blog )


No comments:

Post a Comment