Meaning Behind the Band Name: Herman’s Hermits

Herman’s Hermits have a popular TV show and an English pub owner to thank for their famous band name. Known for hits “I’m Into Something Good,” “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am,” “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” and many others, the English pop band brought their jovial sound and eclectic lyrics across the pond to the U.S. during the British Invasion in the 1960s. But how did the beloved group get the name Herman’s Hermits? Find out the answer below.

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Meaning Behind the Band Name

The band didn’t always start out as Herman’s Hermits. Before joining forces as the legendary pop-rock band, lead singer Peter Noone, guitarists and background singers Keith Hopwood and Karl Green, bass guitarist Alan Wrigley and drummer Steve Titterington were all part of another band called the Heartbeats in England. Meanwhile, future bandmates Derek Leckenby and Barry Whitwam were part of another local band, the Wailers. The two groups melded to form the famous lineup: Noone on lead vocals, Leckenby on lead guitar, Green on bass guitar, Hopwood on rhythm guitar and Whitman on drums.

Before they skyrocketed to fame, the band needed a name, which they found in an unlikely place. Noone recalls when the group members were teenagers rehearsing at a pub in England and part of his aesthetic was wearing thick glasses like Buddy Holly, who was known for his big, black-rimmed glasses. Noone also attempted to mimic Holly’s voice.

“The guy who owned the pub says, ‘What are you doing?’ As if to say, ‘Are you stupid of something?'” Noone tells Talkulture, adding that he replied that he was trying to impersonate Holly. “‘You don’t look like Buddy Holly,'” Noone says of the pub owner’s response. “You look like Sherman from the Bullwinkle show.'”

Noone was 15 at the time when Herman’s Hermits formed. The reference is to the character Sherman, a young boy who is the owner of a genius talking dog known as Mr. Peabody, in the animated series The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, which was popular during the early 1960s. The pub owner also didn’t mince words for Noone’s bandmates, asking them, “What are you laughing at? You should call yourselves the hermits because you look like bloody hermits.”

“But we thought that was hilarious, we thought that was the greatest idea ever,” Noone continues of his bandmates’ reaction to his comment. “I look like Sherman, how great is that?”

The conversation inspired a variety of band names, including Sherman and the Bloody Hermits. They ultimately decided to shorten “Sherman” to “Herman,” calling themselves Herman and His Hermits before landing on Herman’s Hermits. Under the moniker, the band released seven albums in the U.S. between 1965 and 1968. Their first two albums, Introducing Herman’s Hermits and Herman’s Hermits on Tour, both debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. They also scored several top 10 hits, with “Mrs. Brown” and “I’m Henry VIII” hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Herman’s Hermits also starred in three films, When the Boys Meet Girls in 1965, Hold On! released in 1966 and Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter named after their hit song that came out in 1968.

Though Noone left the group in 1971, he is currently on the 2023 Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone Tour with fellow 1960s rock band, The Grass Roots.

(Photo by MGM Studios/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

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