His friend John Lennon
sang "Remember remember the fifth of November" in the song "Remember" off of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
album, and on that day in 1947, the eternally young Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone
was born in Manchester, England. The son of Joan Blair Noone and Denis Patrick Noone, he was raised in a Roman Catholic family that included five children of diverse ages, brother Damon along with sisters Denise, Suzanne, and Louise.
In a multi-dimensional career that has garnered respect from his colleagues and millions of fans worldwide, Peter Noone is the professional's professional. As a child, he appeared on the British television shows Coronation Street, Knight Errant, and Family Solicitor, and went on to study acting at the Manchester School of Music and Drama. In 1963, he joined a Manchester beat group, the Heartbeats, whose name was changed shortly thereafter to Herman & the Hermits and eventually shortened to Herman's Hermits." His career with that popular recording act sold well over 50 million records, at times eclipsing the Beatles themselves in sales. But it was Noone's voice and personality that distinguished him apart from the band he fronted; indeed, some of the recordings were Noone's performance on sessions produced by Mickie Most with other musicians providing the accompaniment. He charted in Britain as a solo act, recording a David Bowie tune with Bowie appearing with him on the U.K. show Top of the Pops. In the years that followed, there were former members of Herman's Hermits touring as well as Noone causing some confusion, but in 2001 Noone -- "the artist formerly known as Herman" -- obtained the rights to the name and is listed in Pollstar magazine in the new millennium as both Herman's Hermits and Peter Noone. The hassles with labels illegally putting out product was the kind of thing that befuddled fans and created frustration for the singer, a good example being the Slam release that featured both the band Herman's Hermits on the CD without Noone, along with the unauthorized use of live Noone material tagged on the end to create the illusion that it was Herman's Hermits and Peter Noone. With the name going back to its rightful owner, the man who sang on all the Herman's Hermits hits can put the voice together with the trademark for the general public not aware of deceptive practices that frequent the touring industry.
As stated, his career is multi-dimensional, with critically acclaimed stage performances in two Broadway shows during the 1980s, including The Pirates of Penzance, to his roles on the silver screen. He appeared as Herman in two films, 1966's Hold On and 1968's Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter; was one of the few bright spots in 1978's Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; and performed in 1982's Rockin' the Night Away: Life From Palm Springs, 1996's Hullabaloo, Vol. 8, and 2000's The British Invasion Returns. In 1999, he sang the end theme to the Kirk Douglas film Diamonds.
Also in the 1980s, Noone did a remarkable thing and fronted a new wave group called the Tremblers before re-joining Herman's Hermits for a time. The Tremblers ensemble, released on Beach Boy Bruce Johnstone's CBS distributed label, was a blending of the Herman's Hermits pop with the new wave edge of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. Noone was especially proud of the Boston stop on the tour on September 21, 1980, because the fans in that region were more hip to his new direction and showed their appreciation by not calling for Herman's Hermits hits. The show was lively and precise and had the Tremblers released a half dozen albums or so, they no doubt would have made more of a mark. A Noone solo album from the day, One of the Glory Boys, featured covers of material by Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, as well as the Spiral Starecase and was the Tremblers in reverse, it took the sound of the "new wave" and brought it back to a more fully developed pop attitude. He co-produced the album Graham Gouldman Thing in 1968 for the legendary songwriter who would become part of 10cc, and was asked by his friend, Baywatch star David Hasselhoff to produce an album for him, but he couldn't because of time constraints. Noone has produced new recordings on his own No.One Records imprint, a clever double entendre of "Noone" and number one.
A quick Internet "search" is impossible as there are a plethora of sites created by his following. Whether you enter the fan page called "The Asylum" or Noone's official site, it is all a truly funny, as well as informative journey, the facts blurring with Noone's witty dry humor creating a sense of discovery (or helplessness) for music historians as they plow through the postings from followers which proliferate on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. The man who hosted VH1's prestigious My Generation series (which lasted four years), and who can be serious when he chooses to be, has boundless energy and endless ideas.
A good measure of Noone's popularity is that Ebay or Half.Com show hundreds of items for sale at all times, from his out of print classic solo recordings to stacks of Herman's Hermits material. One of the keys to Noone's success is his love for his fans and their staunch loyalty to him. While some concert attractions will invite a dozen or so guests into the inner sanctum before or after a gig, Noone and his current version of Herman's Hermits will take the time to sign every autograph sought by those who attend his shows. And the shows are truly great; when one thinks about singing the same material night after night for decades, and how the routine has affected other acts, Noone displays genuine enthusiasm for his repertoire. "There's a Kind of Hush," a tune that is one of pop's undisputed classics, is always fantastic, part of that elite class of timeless songs performed with perpetual enthusiasm. Ian Hunter, Marty Balin, Bobby Hebb, and Mark Farner have all been able to sustain the magic with their respective major hits, "All the Young Dudes," "Miracles," "Sunny," and "I'm Your Captain," but they, like Noone, are part of a very exclusive club of serious artists who care about their audiences. When Patrick Swayze drove Whoopi Goldberg, as well as the theatergoers, crazy with his obnoxious rendition of "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am" in the film Ghost, it was the humor of the movie that brought the idea home. The ecstasy of a Herman's Hermits audience shows Swayze how it really should be done. They always join in with Herman on the indelible chorus and become part of the show, bringing new life to a simple standard that doesn't have the usual twists of other pop tunes. Balancing himself precariously on a cement fixture singing at a Rhode Island open air concert in 2001, to the chagrin of the security of that venue, Noone's ability to charm is a reason his fans come back year after year. A look at Pollstar has the artist as one of the most consistent performers of the new millennium, appearing around the world in over 200 concerts a year.
His ongoing authorized biography -- ever expanding and open to the public on his website -- is as remarkable as his guest appearances on the celebrated soap opera As the World Turns in March of 2002. Noone is one of the few artists from the '60s in control of his artistry and preserving it for future generations, a total entertainer with business savvy, an elusive combination in the world of rock & roll, for sure. The performer who has conquered stage, screen, and television, along with selling more records than most artists can ever dream, is one of the first to have a good grasp of the frontier known as the Internet. The man whose face graced the cover of Time magazine in April of 1965 and who has appeared on such diverse television programs as Quantum Leap, My Two Dads, Married With Children, The Ted Knight Show, and Laverne & Shirley, among others, and creating art in a world where the major recording companies can't seem to find a groove, is poised to bring his ideas to multiple formats and new mediums. Don't underestimate one who can headline a Teen Idols Tour, perform on Broadway, and stay in such close contact with his enormous following. Peter Noone has created a model which other '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s stars would be wise to study and follow. ~ Joe Viglione, Rovi