Peter Noone was born on November 5, 1947 in Manchester. His father was a semi-pro musician and keen that his son should follow in his footsteps, so Peter was sent to study singing and acting at the Manchester School of Music and Drama. He was something of a childhood star, playing Len Fairclough's son in the soap opera Coronation Street as well as in the lesser known Knight Errant and Family Solicitor. He combined this with local stage appearances, too. An acting career seemed inevitable but instead of becoming a film star he became a pop star.
In 1963, he joined Manchester beat group, The Heartbeats, after their vocalist failed to show for a gig. He used the name Peter Kovak. The change to Herman came after the band remarked on Peter's resemblance to the charactoer Sherman in the TV cartoon 'The Bullwinkle Show', although he misheard the name as Herman. So the group, who by now were a popular dance hall and youth club attraction changed their name to Herman and The Hermits, although it soon became abbreviated to Herman's Hermits.
The song, I'm Into Something Good, got up the charts and spent two weeks at No. 1 in September 1964 and gave them their first million seller. For their third single the group covered with a Carter/Lewis song, Can't You Hear My Heartbeat. This gave them their second million seller. Their next 45 was a slick revival of Sam Cooke's Wonderful World, which rose to No. 7 in 1965.
Their really big breakthrough in the US came when an American DJ heard Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter on their first US album, introducing Herman's Hermits and persuaded their US record company, MGM, to release it as a 45. It sounded like an old music hall song (though it wasn't) with Noone's George Formby-style vocals and the banjo guitar sound, and frankly sounded corny. Realising this the group prevented its release but in the US the song spent three weeks on top fo the Charts, earning them another gold disc. It also topped the Australian Charts and sold 14 million copies worldwide. This success coincided with the group's first full US tour.
Their success seems to have been partly due to the fact that many of the first wave British invasion groups had already peaked in terms of sales (with only The Beatles and Dave Clark Five consistently selling vast quantities of vinyl) and partly because, fuelled by the success of Mrs. Brown.., they selected songs for US release that had a music hall and vaudeville edge to them. Not only did this set them apart from other UK beat acts of the time, it also fulfilled the American stereotype of what British life was like. So, whilst in the UK the band enjoyed another Top 20 hit with Kenny Young's bouncy Just A Little Bit Better (which later made it to No. 7 in the US), across the Atlantic another US only single, I'm Henry the Eighth (I Am), a revival of a 1911 music hall song gave them another No. 1 and million seller.
Their final 45 in 1965 was a fine, jangling P.F. Sloan/Steve Barri song, A Must To Avoid, which got to No. 8 in the States. In the US, MGM issued another album, The Best of Herman's Hermits, Vol. 1, which included most of the year's 45s and some earlier album tracks.
In March 1966, the band issued another US-only single. Listen People was a slow ballad and took them to No. 3, earning another gold disc.
If it seemed that their fortunes were beginning to ebb when they were revitalized by Graham Gouldman's No Milk Today. This was an excellent pop song and their first 45 to employ an orchestra. It gave them their first Top 10 hit in the UK for over a year. In the States, No Milk Today appeared on the flip side of a strong version of the Kinks' Dandy, which put them back in the US Top 5. In November 1966, Noone also appeared in the US TV movie, The Canterville Ghost.
On the 45 front, in late 1966, they bounced back with a beat ballad, There's A Kind Of Hush which made No. 4 in the US and No. 7 in the UK. Definitely one of their best songs, it also became the title track of their next album. However, it was in America with the advent of the Monkees and the onset of the psychedelic era that their fortunes declined most rapidly. Kenny Young's Don't Go Out Into The Rain, became their last US Top 20 hit.
In their final years, the band concentrated on the mainstream pop market and enjoyed further big UK hits with I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving, Sleepy Joe and singalong ditties like Sunshine Girl and Something's Happening. The one area of US success in this phase of their career was the group's appearance in the film Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter, in which Noone played a lead role.
In November 1968, Noone married a French girl, Mireille Strasser, and the following month he formed a business partnership with Graham Gouldman, which led to the opening of a New York boutique called Zoo.
In the final analysis, Herman's Hermits were one of the more lightweight pop acts of the sixties but they were one of our most successful exports to the States and released several good three minute pop singles.
His latest release "On The Road" is a compilation of greatest hits recorded live around the world. It includes new material and a guest vocal appearance from daughter Natalie. Peter is currently touring the United States, Canada and Great Britain. He continues to delight fans with his vocal abilities, wit and charm.