Herman's Hermits

Herman's Hermits performing at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Herman's Hermits were formed in ca. February 1963 in Urmston, Manchester, Lancashire as Peter Novak and the Heartbeats with a line-up of Keith Hopwood on rhythm guitar, vocals (b. Saturday, October 26, 1946, Park Hospital, Davyhulme, Manchester, Lancashire, UK), Karl Green on lead guitar, vocals (b. Karl Anthony Green, Thursday, July 31, 1947, Park Hospital, Davyhulme, Manchester, Lancashire, UK), Peter Novak on lead vocals (b. Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, Wednesday, November 5, 1947, Park Hospital, Davyhulme, Manchester, Lancashire, UK), Alan Wrigley on bass, vocals and Steve Titterington on drums.

At some point in ca. March 1964 the band changed their name to Herman's Hermits and Peter Novak changed his name to Herman (Peter Noone).

Later on Wednesday, April 1, 1964 the band was joined by Lek Leckenby (b. Derek Leckenby, Friday, May 14, 1943, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK d. Saturday, June 4, 1994, Manchester, Greater Manchester, UK, of non-Hodgkin lymphoma) and Barry 'Bean' Whitwam (b. Jan Barry Whitwam, Sunday, July 21, 1946, Prestbury, Cheshire, UK). Whitwam replaced Titterington on drums, Green switched to bass (replacing Wrigley), and Leckenby took over for Green on lead guitar.

Noone had been to Wellacre Primary School in Flixton in Manchester, St Bede's College in Manchester and Stretford Grammar School in Granby Road, Stretford, Manchester. Noone formed his first band The Cyclones and was later asked by some older boys at Stretford Grammar to join their band which was called The Heartbeats and included Green, Hopwood, Wrigley and Titteringham. In this band Noone used the name Peter Novak and mainly played piano and guitar. The band became Peter Novak and the Heartbeats. 

Leckenby was educated at William Hume's Grammar School in Manchester and went on to do a degree course in civil engineering at Manchester University before leaving to become a professional musician. Whitwam had started out in a band called The Demons with Whitwam on drums, Robert Ainsworth on lead guitar, Lawrence Jordan on rhythm guitar and Ian 'Wal' Waller on bass. When Ainsworth left he was replaced by Lek Leckenby. They later added Brian X on lead vocals and changed their name to Danny and the Demons. Brian X and was replaced by Malcolm Roberts (b. Malcolm James Roberts, Friday, March 31, 1944, Blackley, Manchester 9, Lancashire, UK d. Friday, February 7, 2003, Addlestone, near Chertsey, Surrey, UK, heart attack) and changed their name again to The Hellions. They played at The Twisted Wheel Club in Manchester. Later Jordan left and was not replaced. After that Roberts left and was replaced by lead vocalist Geoff Mullin (b. Geoffrey Mullin, 1945). In 1962 the band changed their name again to The Wailers with Whitwam and Waller, but without Mullin who left. They played at the Manchester Cavern Club at 11 Cromford Court off Market Street, Manchester 4. 

Some Herman's Hermits concerts:

  • Saturday, March 14, 1964: The Cavern Club, 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK, with The Mark Four, The Fallons, Junior Cavern Club, lunchtime session 
  • Saturday, March 14, 1964: The Cavern Club, 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK, with The Mark Four, The Pilgrims, L'Ringos, evening session
  • Tuesday, May 5, 1964: The Cavern Club, 10 Matthew Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK
  • Saturday, July 18, 1964: The Coffin, Ivegate, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK, with The Mutineers, 7.30pm - 11.30pm
  • Saturday, February 27 - Wednesday March 10, 1965: The Del Shannon and Herman's Hermits Tour, also on the tour was Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders (who left the tour after Salisbury), The Four Just Men, Jerry Stevens, Dodie West (who joined the tour at Dundee), The Soul Savages featuring Paul Dean and The Dollies, The Zephyrs (who joined the tour at Southampton)
  • Saturday, February 27, 1965: The City Hall, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK, first date of the tour 
  • Sunday, February 28, 1965: The Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK 
  • Monday, March 1, 1965: The Town Hall, Birmingham, Warwickshire, UK 
  • Tuesday, March 2, 1965: The Gaumont, Wolverhampton, Warwickshire, UK 
  • Wednesday, March 3, 1965: The Odeon, Manchester, Lancashire, UK
  • Friday, March 5, 1965: The Capital, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK
  • Saturday, March 6, 1965: The Caird Hall, Dundee, Aberdeenshire, UK
  • Sunday, March 7, 1965 at The City Hall, Newcastle, Northumbria, UK
  • Tuesday, March 9, 1965: The ABC Northampton, Northamptonshire, UK 
  • Wednesday, March 10, 1965: The Odeon, Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK, after this date The Fontana's had to pull out of the tour as their singer Wayne Fontana was taken ill with nervous exhaustion. They were replaced by The Zephyrs
  • Thursday, March, 11, 1965: The Gaumont, Southampton, Hampshire, UK
  • Friday, March 12, 1965: The Capitol, Cardiff, Glamorgan, South Wales, UK
  • Saturday, March 13, 1965: The Colston Hall, Bristol, Somerset, UK
  • Sunday, March 14, 1965: The Coventry Theatre, Coventry, Warwickshire, UK
  • Tuesday, March 16, 1965: The Gaumont, Wolverhampton, Warwickshire, UK
  • Wednesday, March 17, 1965: The Gaumont, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
  • Thursday, March 18, 1965: The City Hall, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumbria, UK
  • Friday, March 19, 1965: The Gaumont, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK
  • Saturday, March 20, 1965: The ABC, Blackpool, Lancashire, UK
  • Sunday, March 21, 1965: The Empire, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK 
  • Friday, July 30, 1965: The Convention Hall, Miami Beach, Florida, USA 
  • Saturday, July 31, 1965: The Birmingham Coliseum, Birmingham, Alabama, USA 
  • Sunday, August 1, 1965: The New Orleans, Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA 
  • Thursday, August 5, 1965: The Seattle Auditorium, Seattle, Washington, USA 
  • Saturday, August 7, 1965: The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, USA
  • Sunday, August 8, 1965: The Convention Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Monday, August 9, 1965: The Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA
  • Tuesday, August 10, 1965: The Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA 
  • Wednesday, August 11, 1965: The Steel Pier, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA 
  • Thursday, August 12, 1965: TV Taping, New York City, N.Y., USA 
  • Friday, August 13, 1965: TV Taping, New York City, N.Y., USA 
  • Saturday, August 14, 1965: The San Francisco Auditorium, San Francisco, California, USA 
  • Sunday, August 15, 1965: The Convention Centre, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA 
John H. Warburg- 23/3/14


Herman's Hermits formerly played as The Heartbeats and were amazingly popular on Friday night gigs at Springhead Youth Club. One Friday night in the summer of '63 they turned up to play as The Heartbeats, Before they went on stage, Peter N told us that they now had a new manager who had changed their name to Herman and The Hermits, our response was 'You're joking! It'll never catch on!'

The rest, as they say, is history!

Gordon Ripley - 13/2/11 

Simon Van Downham has left the group after one year to pursue his own career.

Mike Ammatt was lead guitarist for Shane Fenton/Alvin Stardust and Wayne Fontana in the late 60s and early 70s. He then went on to become a successful International solo artiste including regular contracts to perform in South Africa’s famous/notorious Sun City.

On returning to the UK Mike wrote, presented and composed the music for his own BBC TV series ‘Mop and Smiff.’ This was followed by 2 more successful kid’s BBC TV shows before he was commissioned to write and perform the theme tune to the now “cult” BBC TV Series, ‘Jossy’s Giants’. Following the success of the Television Series, Mike wrote the songs for the stage production of Jossy’s Giants. During this same time at the end of the 80s Mike was a regular main presenter on BBC TV’s Playschool.

Having played the guitar since he was 12 when he studied with Professor James Morley at the Manchester School of Music, Mike now enjoys country guitar pickin’ and classical guitar … during private moments. But his first…. and probably his last love are those timeless classics he embraced and “rocked-on” to as a teenager in the 60s

During the late 60s, Mike Amatt started his musical career as lead guitarist with The Rogues a Manchester based band. Shortly after this, Geoff Foot joined The Rogues, and they changed their name to "Sunshine" when they went fully professional.

A year or two later Mike and Geoff combined forces to open a fledgling recording studio in Salford, called "Snorkel Studios". (A memorable visitor to these studios was Roy "Kinell" Jay, he wore a convict's suit and used the catchphrase "Slither Hither". Sadly he's no longer with us!) Shortly after this Mike and Geoff parted ways to pursue their own individual careers as composers, songwriters and performers.

Little did they know then, that they would later be musically re-united as members of Herman's Hermits.

Olaf Owre - 28/11/12
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Herman's Hermits in the USA 

Opened in 1898, the Steel Pier billed itself as "The Showplace of the Nation." Built mainly of steel pilings with a wooden top, it jutted a quarter-mile out to sea, and offered movies, clowns, acrobats, dancing bears, boxing kangaroos and high-divers, in addition to bands, singers and Vaudeville acts.

It hosted performances from big band leaders such as Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, and movie stars such as Bob Hope and Charlie Chaplin. Abbott & Costello honed their "Who's On First?" routine there. Fred Astaire, Mae West, Ricky Nelson and The Three Stooges all packed 'em in at the pier.

The pier burned in a 1982 fire. 

If you look at the posters, they include the Diving Horses (a very famous US act), Poncie Ponce (actor in "Hawaiian Eye") and the Four Seasons.

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