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By Ian Dipple Thursday 29 May 2014 Updated: 29/05 16:19
A BAND that outsold The Beatles is marking 50 years in music with a stop off at the Palace Theatre.
Herman’s Hermits were a key part of the soundtrack to the 1960s and will be rocking out the hits to old and new fans alike at the Alcester Street venue on Friday, June 6.
The band formed on April 1, 1964 and in their time have chalked up more than 23 top twenty singles - including their only UK number one I’m into Something Good - ten hit albums, three major movies and countless television shows and concerts.
But life could have turned out very different for drummer Barry Whitwam - the only remaining member of the original line-up - had their music career not taken off.
“I used to be a ladies hairdresser and I turned pro when I was 17 and a half and I thought well I’ll do this for a couple of years and if it doesn’t work out I’ll go back to hairdressing,” he told the Standard.
“Back in those days everybody had a day job to fall back on but 50 years on we’re still here and it’s been a fantastic journey for me.”
The band were part of the invasion of America by British bands during the 1960s, battling it out for top spot with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, actually outselling both during 1965 and 1966.
“It was amazing, we went over towards the end of 1964 to do a promotional tour and between New York and California we must have done 200 television and radio shows,” he said.
“The fans used to scream so loud you could not hear yourself drum.
“We met the Stones once on tour and it was not a pleasant experience. We had been put on a bill in Philadelphia together and there was a row between the management about who should close. There were 15,000 fans and 10,000 of them were there for Herman’s Hermits. In the end it was agreed we would go on there would be a 45 minute interval and then the Stones. All the time we were playing the Stones were on the sidelines telling us to get off we were a load of rubbish.”
Their fame even brought them to the attention of the legendary Elvis Presley who invited them to meet him on the set of his movie in Hawaii.
“He was so charismatic we were mesmerised by him. He was a real gentleman but I think he wanted to know how a group of pretty scruffy looking lads from Manchester were such recording stars and selling more records than him.”
The band are still picking up new fans 50 years on and Barry believes it’s due to the enduring appeal of the distinctive ‘60s sound.
“They were just great tunes.”
The show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £18.75 and £16.75 for discounts. To book call the box office on 01527 65203.
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