Let me tell you now about Herman’s Hermits. They formed in 1964 and are among the best-selling bands of all time. But most of the public knew precisely one guy: Peter “Herman” Noone. Publicity was all about him, to the point that when the label wanted the band to record new music, they just brought in Peter and hired anonymous musicians at random to do the other vocals and play instruments, correctly guessing that fans wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Peter Noone left the band in 1973. Today, the rest of the band tours and performs as Herman’s Hermits. And Peter Noone … also performs as Herman’s Hermits, except with a bunch of people he never played with in the ‘60s, and since he was the face and the voice of the band way back when, fans flock to see him.
That brings us to 2001, when I was playing with a jazz trio in Florida. During the break of one show, a guy asked if I’d like a job playing with Herman’s Hermits (the one that actually had Herman). The next day, I agreed and he handed me a folder stuffed with sheet music. “There are 40 songs in here,” he said. “You’ve got two weeks to learn them.”