You've Got a Friend: Classic Heartthrobs on MySpace, Vol. 1
No milk today: Herman's Hermits perform the Graham Gouldman classic in glorious black and white. (Click image to view video.)
Ladies, let's be honest--if you were once a 12 year old girl with a raging crush on a pop star and a wild imagination, you had that "celebrity pen pal" fantasy. You know the one--you'd write this amazing fan letter, a letter that would somehow reach him as he lounged by the pool, resting between photo sessions for 16 Magazine and those breezy recording sessions they showed on sitcoms, where the singer waltzed into the booth, sang the whole thing in one take, and waltzed on out again.
After a few heartfelt letters back and forth, you'd send your photo (of course, by then he'd be so hypnotized by your devoted prose that the Olan Mills image of 12-year-old you, braces gleaming, by a cheesy wooden fence backdrop would detract not at all from your inner beauty) and your phone number (praying that your bratty brother wouldn't answer the phone) and when he next did a concert in your town, he'd call, you'd meet and...bingo! On to that other 12-year-old girl fantasy, the Vegas wedding and the honeymoon in Hawaii...
Ahem. Not that I'd know anything about all that, of course, as I was busy reading my own fan mail. I was my neighborhood's homegrown Brooke Shields at 12!*
Fast forward to today--did we have any way of knowing that, through modern technology, we could become the "friend" of our favorite Hermit/Brady/New Kid with one touch of a button? These guys may not be topping the charts these days, but plenty of your favorite TV and transistor boyfriends have found a home on MySpace, where the music's still rockin', the concert halls are gratifyingly full, and for some of the fans, the "celebrity pen pal" dream lives on in glittery, animated 21st century style. First up--the legendary Peter Noone.
Hermans Hermits starring Peter Noone
What few of Peter Noone's screaming fans knew back in the mid-60s was that there was an incredible British wit (and lots of show business smarts) behind the twinkling blue eyes and shaggy blond hair. Add "internet savvy" to the mix and you've got a recipe for an ongoing party. Peter's website, PeterNoone.com, is an absolute joy to browse, and his blog is a must not to avoid, unless you're swearing off giggles for the new year. His MySpace is characteristically busy, lighthearted and businesslike, with handy links to his online store, where some pretty cool stuff awaits. (Unfortunately, the link to one of their very best albums, 1967's must-hear Blaze, doesn't work at all, but it's still listed at Amazon--I have this one on vinyl and if you like their later sound, you'll love it on the bonus-track-filled CD.)
Some of Peter's MySpace friends: Alice Cooper, the GooGoo Dolls, Blake Lewis (American Idol runner-up last year)
Best Hermits songs you don't hear on the radio any more: the splendid pop tune "Busy Line", "My Sentimental Friend" from 1969 (great deeper vocals, and check out that haircut.)
Grooviest clip by far: "Something Is Happening" from the Tom Jones Show, complete with very mod dollybirds in major hairpieces, flirting with the Hermits as they sing. (All that Dynel, and Karl Green still had the best hair on the stage.) Stick around for the little closer with Tom and Peter--Peter's marketing savvy is nothing new!
See him now: Your next chance to get that long-desired autograph (or just enjoy a great show), is January 12th, when Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone play the Weill Center for the Performing Arts in Sheboygan, WI (tickets available at Ticketmaster).
More heartthrobs soon--don't touch that dial...
*So not true.