Peter Noone was one of the popular 60’s bands, Herman’s Hermits.
With his thick head of hair and boyish charm, it would be easy to compare him to a Justin Beiber or Harry Styles of today.
However, one distinct difference exists between this former teen heartthrob and those of today…
With his adorable face and equally adorable voice, Peter Noone skyrocketed to stardom in his teens as the frontman of Herman’s Hermits. The band toured both in America and Britain and became iconic.
The band nabbed their first number 1 hit in England in 1964 with “I’m Into Something Good.”
“Herman’s Hermits sold millions of records before anyone even saw us, which just doesn’t happen now,” Noone said.
“I didn’t know what I was doing: my stage persona was a shy little boy, which is basically what I was.”
Noone and the rest of his band released more than 20 hit records and even outsold the Beatles in 1965. Some of their biggest hits included I’m Into Something Good, No Milk Today and There’s A Kind of Hush (All Over the World).
The band received a million-dollar record deal by the time they were 17, and one of the highlights of Noone’s career was when Elvis Presley performed one of their hits–” I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am”–in 1965 on stage.
“He was making fun of me, but who cares?” says Noone. “It was Elvis!”
Even at this young age, Noone was living the quintessential rocker lifestyle.
“Although without the drugs bit,” he insists. “That was never my thing.”
But when asked about all the other typical rock ‘n’ roll habits?
“Sure. We were 16 and 17, and we could easily stay up all night, go on the rampage then be up the next morning to do interviews and go to gigs. It was a brilliant time.”
At 64, Noone is on the road again as part of Britain’s Solid Silver 60s Show. His fellow Hermits veterans will not be joining him, but another musical star of the era will–Brian Poole of The Tremeloes (“Do You Love Me” and “Twist And Shout”) and Brian Hyland (“Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”).
“You never get tired of the buzz of touring,’ says Noone, ‘and it’s good to know we can still pull an audience. People come up to me and sing all the old songs to my face, although I’m never really sure how to respond to that.”
No one has lived in California since the 70s and grew quickly to the healthy living style that characterizes the state.
“Not many people survived the debauchery of the sixties,” he says, “so I feel very lucky and try to look after myself. When I went to Mickie Most’s funeral nine years ago [Most was the band’s producer and a panelist on the TV talent show New Faces], there weren’t many people left. It does make you stop and think.”
“I remember going to the house of one of the Moody Blues and it was considered this real den of iniquity,” he says. “None of the girls smoked dope, so I used to hang out with them. I was a fly on the wall.
“I did like to drink — I used to go out with Richard Harris and try to drink more than him,” Noone laughed.
“I used to love the Beatles and the Stones and I’d always want to hang out with them, even though they were about seven years older.
“We’d go to the Ad Lib club in London, and John Lennon would buy my drinks because he knew I was only 16 and I wouldn’t get drunk and try to beat someone up.”
Noone, who grew up in Manchester, has admitted that one of his major motivations for drinking was to fit in with the others, as he didn’t feel that “interesting.”
It was at the age of 19 that the musician decided to attend his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with his father, also an avid drinker.
“I wouldn’t have classed myself as an alcoholic, but you have to be sensitive to people’s feelings and be able to do the job on stage, so after that, I decided to cut down. I needed to do it for my own sake and haven’t touched a drop for about 16 years.
“I insist that my wife still drinks if she wants to — I wouldn’t stop other people around me doing it.”
The multi-talented entertainer has been married to his wife, Mirielle, for 43 years. They met when Noone was 20, while he was still spending time with various women.
“I think it was probably lust at first sight with Mireille,” he admits. “Then I found out how nice she was and it turned to love.
“She kept turning me down, but she was holidaying in Ibiza with her mum, so I rented the apartment next to them. Her mother liked me because I was respectful. I wore Mireille down.”
The couple married in 1968, had one daughter (Nicole), and Noone quit the band in 1971 at the age of 24.
“Even though all of us in the band were close in the beginning, by the end, we’d been together so long and wanted to do different things.”
His attempted solo career plateaued, and it was in the 80s that he took to a new stage, appearing in a Broadway production of “Pirates of Penzance” and as a host on the U.S. television music show “My Generation”.
Just a few years ago, he appeared as a mentor and voice coach on American Idol.
Speaking on the show, he said, “If the Beatles had entered a TV competition, they’d probably have lost. Simon Cowell seems like a very nice guy, but I think he’s a secondhand Mickie Most, to be honest.”
Speaking on the current tour again, Noone explained, “‘I was probably going to be a clerk at the local NatWest. How lucky am I to still be doing this at 64? I know what I’m doing now, too. I’m not that shy little kid anymore.”
Peter is still so charismatic and cute no matter what age!