Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Talk about a short show!


Today's post is about Herman's Hermits first U.S. concert.  You probably haven't heard that much about it because it lasted all of two songs!  The show took place April 16, 1965 at Manville High School, Manville, NJ.  Gene Kaye, disc jockey at WEAB in Allentown, PA hosted concerts in Manville, NJ in the 1960s and had signed the Hermits for a modest fee to perform at Manville High School.  As the date for the show neared, the band's management tried to get out of the contract since their first American single, "I'm Into Something Good" was skyrocketing up the charts and their appearance fee had grown substantially.  Kaye demanded that the band honor their contract and they reluctantly did so.

But as they mounted the stage, the crowd of 2,000 surged forward.  Police and school officials attempted to push them back and the Hermits did manage to get through two songs before the screaming girls burst through the meager security and took the stage grabbing for Peter Noone and any other Hermit they could get their hands on.  Since they weren't all that thrilled about the show to begin with, the band ran off stage and into waiting cars to head towards a more lucrative booking in Bethlehem, PA.  That show took place at the Bandstand, Notre Dame High School.  The reaction was just as volatile as the crowd there also took the stage and and took the band's equipment as souvenirs.

A few days later, Herman and the Hermits are aboard a bus touring the country as part of Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars and by August, they are headlining the Rose Bowl in front of 60,000 fans!

Monday, March 30, 2015

1984 British Invasion Tour

Back again with another British Invasion reunion tour of America.  This tour took place a decade after Richard Nader’s watershed tour in 1973.  Billed as the “20th Anniversary of British Rock,” this tour featured Gerry Marsden, Billy J. Kramer, Herman’s Hermits, the Troggs, and Badfinger featuring Joey Molland.  Organized by Talent Consultants International, Executive Producers: Empire Communications, Inc., NYC, NY -- Ray Reneri and Marvin Mann.  This version of Herman’s Hermits contained only Lek Leckenby and Barry Witwam of the original band along with Garth Elliott and Paul Farnell.   This tour booked the package into more modest venues and definitely did not hit all the major markets.

Billy J. Kramer, Gerry Marsden and Joey Molland in Washington DC
July 4, 1984
Boston, MA
August 1, 1984
Baltimore, MD
This show was cancelled
August 2, 1984
Hilton Hotel Ballroom, Washington, DC
August 4, 1984
Rio Theatre, Valley Stream, NY
August 5, 1984
Lupos Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI
August 7, 1984
Club Casino, Hampton Beach, NH
August 8, 1984
Birch Hill Swim Club, Old Bridge, NJ

TV crews from all three major networks plus MTV are at the show to film and interview the bands.
August 10, 1984
Lanierland Music Park, Cummings, GA

August 11, 1984
Aqua Theater, Greensboro, NC
August 14, 1984
Auditorium, West Palm Beach, FL
August xx, 1984
Fort Lauderdale, FL
August 16, 1984
London Victory Club, Tampa, FL
August 18, 1984
Celebrity’s, Lafayette, LA

August 21, 1984
Civic Center, Peoria, IL

August 23, 1984
Park West, Chicago, IL
August 25, 1984
Veteran’s Memorial Hall, Columbus, OH
August 26, 1984
Downtown Festival Tent, Rochester, NY
August 29, 1984
Memorial Gardens, Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

August 30, 1984
Fort William Gardens, Thunder Bay, Canada
A sparse crowd of 829 attend this show.
September 3, 1984
Music Tower, Playland, Rye, NY
September 4, 1984
Bottom Line, New York City, NY


Saturday, January 31, 2015

The British Invasion Revisited

A strange notion struck me the other day while I was writing up some research notes for my upcoming book on the British Beat Boom-British Invasion.  Modern versions of these classic bands have now been performing for 3 times as long as their original forms.  Think about it!  With the exception of the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Searchers and the Hollies (who have had hiatuses but never broken up), most other British beat groups ended their original runs of success by 1968 and broke up. 
The nostalgia craze in the mid-70s brought many of them back to life and they’ve been going out on tour ever since in fits and spurts.  For example:
Gerry Marsden went back on tour in 1973 and has remained there on and off ever since - original group 1959-1967  revived group 1973- present.
Freddie Garrity broke up the Dreamers in 1971 after being together since 1960.  He reformed the group in 1976 and continued to perform until 2000, when he retired due to ill health.
Herman’s Hermits, formed in 1962, lost Peter Noone to a solo career in 1971 and became Sour Mash in 1972.  They revived the band later that year and have continued to perform ‘til the present day headed by drummer Barry Witwam.  Peter Noone returned to perform his hits in the 1980s and continues to pull in big crowds.
Today’s blog is dedicated to the 1973 British Invasion tour promoted by Richard Nader. This tour was the first substantial nod to the budding nostalgia craze in America.  New York promoter Ron Delsener had the idea and contacted agent Danny Betesh about securing the talent.  Betesh had handled a number of acts back in the day, including Freddie and the Dreamers who he still handled.  Unfortunately Freddie had a summer season booked in Great Yarmouth so he was unavailable.  Dave Clark turned down an offer but Peter Noone was interested and pretty soon a package was put together.  It was at that point that Delsener had to bow out.  He was dealing with the summer-long Shaeffer Music Festival in Central Park and had no time to devote to the tour.  Oldies producer Richard Nader stepped into the breach and promoted the tour.
An amazing reunion resulted from this tour and Peter Noone reunited with the Hermits.
In addition to Herman’s Hermits and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, other bands on this tour included Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, and Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders.  Billed as “The British are Coming Again” the 21-date nationwide tour of the U.S. and Canada began on the East Coast and worked its way to the West before working their way back to the Midwest. 
In addition to the tour, Nader arranged a booking with TV producer Burt Sugarman to do a British themed Midnight Special.  The filming took place on July 15th after the LA and San Francisco shows were cancelled and included all of the acts on the tour in addition to the Hollies and the Bee Gees, show hosted the show.  It aired on August 10, 1973.
June 26, 1973
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, NY
 A reported crowd of only 1,500 attend the show.
 June 27, 1973
Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
 A whopping 13,000 attend this show.  Although only half the Garden’s capacity, it was a huge uptick from the previous night’s show.  Even Rolling Stone chose to review it and gave some positive notes.  Melody Maker sent Michael Watts to New York and his review gave Noone and Kramer positive reviews while questioning the efforts of Fontana and the Searchers, who performed a cover of Neil Young's Cowgirl in the Sand with a lengthy guitar solo.
June 28, 1973
Maple Leaf Garden, Toronto, Canada
June 29, 1973
Civic Center, Springfield, MA
June 30, 1973
Coliseum, Providence, RI
July 1, 1973
Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, MA
July 3, 1973
Frank Renshaw of the Mindbenders
Steel Pier, Atlantic City, NJ
Jerry Lee Lewis performs the following day and most of the cast attend his show.
July 6, 1973
Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD
July 7, 1973
Yale Bowl, New Haven, CT
July 9, 1973
Pine Knob Pavilion, MI
July 10, 1973
Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, KS
July 11, 1973
Minneapolis, MN
July 12, 1973
Sioux Falls Coliseum, Sioux Falls, IA
July 13, 1973
Forum, Inglewood, CA
Cancelled due to low ticket sales
Lyn George of the Seekers lived in Los Angeles hosted a party for the tour and it nearly ends in tragedy when Pacemakers' drummer Brian Clarke nearly drowns in the pool.  When discovered, Clarke was lying on the floor of the pool.  Karl Green of the Hermits dove in to save him.
July 15, 1973
Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA
 Cancelled due to low ticket sales
July 16, 1973
Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg, Canada
July 17, 1973
Civic Center, Bismark, ND
July 18, 1973
Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
July 19, 1973
Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI
July 20, 1973
Musicpark, Columbus, OH
July 21, 1973
Fairgrounds, Cedar Rapids, IA
July 22, 1973
St. Louis, MS
The tour was apparently extended by an additional date in the Hamptons at an unidentified resort.  Frank Allen's excellent book "The Searchers and Me" accounts a rather downbeat end to the tour.