Sunday, March 22, 2009

Herman's Hermits - Hold On (1966)

Herman's Hermits were one of those odd 1960's groups that accumulated millions of fans, but precious little respect. Indeed, their status is remarkably similar to that of the Monkees and it's not a coincidence that both groups' music was intended to appeal to younger teenagers. The difference is that as early as 1976, the Monkees began to be considered cool by people who really knew music; it has taken 35 years for Herman's Hermits to begin receiving higher regard for their work. Of course, that lack of respect had no relevance to their success: 20 singles lofted into the Top 40 in England and America between 1964 and 1970, 16 of them in the Top 20, and most of those Top Ten as well. Artistically, they were rated far lower than the Hollies, ... Read More...

01-Hold on02-The George And Dragon03-Got A Feeling04-Wild Love05-Leaning on a lamp post06-Where Were You When I Needed You07-All TheThings I Do For You Baby08-Gotta Get Away09-Make Me Happy10-A must to avoid
Reviewby Joe Viglione
More than another Herman's Hermits album with two hit songs, "Leaning on the Lamp Post" and "A Must to Avoid," this MGM soundtrack features the original version of "Where Were You When I Needed You," the first of 14 hits for the Grass Roots, which landed in the Top 30 four months after Peter Noone sang it. This version, like everything here, sounds very British Invasion, Mickey Most's production emulating early Beatles. Four of the tunes, including the title track "Hold On" and the hit "A Must to Avoid," were written by the team of Steve Bai and P.F. Sloan, the original pairing which helped launch the Grass Roots. This is the West Coast meeting the U.K. in a very pleasant way, and the combination is impressive. Five of the lesser tunes were penned by F. Kargor/B. Weisman/S. Wayne, including the best of that bunch, "Make Me Happy," sung by actress Shelley Fabares. Fabares hit with the song "Johnny Angel" in 1962, and this has that same pop feel. Credited as Shelley Fabares with Herman's Hermits, it is basically Fabares solo with the same backing musicians, presumably, that Noone utilized. Fabares was married for a time to Lou Adler, who was also involved with the Grass Roots, the forces at play creating a unique blend of pop styles for the soundtrack to this '60s film. Peter Noone injects more of that pop into "Where Were You When I Needed You," the thin guitar and boisterous backing vocals making for a great party cut, much different from the Grass Roots' hit. "Leaning on the Lamp Post" is not as strong as "A Must to Avoid," but was a genuine hit as well. No songwriter listed here, "Leaning on the Lamp Post" is credited to a songwriter named Gay on The Best of Herman's Hermits, Vol. 2, where it was reissued along with "A Must to Avoid" and the title track, "Hold On." A short but fun disc, and essential for the fans of Peter Noone.
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