Two friends of Mark's very kindly gave us two tickets to see Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits in concert. The concert was at the Ram's Head Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland. Neither Mark nor his friends knew that this had a very special meaning to me. Fifty years ago this month I bought my very first record album. I had bought many singles but at the age of 13 I had never bought an album. My birthday is in November and I always asked for money instead of gifts for my birthday as a teen. I received enough money to buy two albums for this birthday. So what did I buy? People who know me they will probably guess The Beatles first and then maybe The Rolling Stones second. And they will be wrong. The first album I bought was The Best of Herman's Hermits. I still had enough money from my birthday to buy a second album. For this I chose The Beatles VI.
I loved these albums. I played them many many times over and over. Today Paul McCartney still tours to stadiums filled with fans. Ringo Starr still tours large concert halls. Peter Noone is singing at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland. Like everyone else time has treated us all differently.
I was a big fan of Herman's Hermits. They were not as cool as The Beatles or as rough as The Rolling Stones. But Peter Noone and his band came to my turntable in my room so many times and brought me so much joy. I never would have thought that fifty years later in another November I would be sitting at a small table right next to stage listening to Peter Noone sing all those familiar songs that I memorized back in my room as a teen. I knew Peter was five years older than me. I learned this fact in Gloria Staver's 16 Magazine back in 1965.
During the concert Peter mentioned his birthday was November 5. So he had just turned 18 when I bought his greatest hits at age 13. But tonight we were two old men in a small tavern setting sharing our 63rd or 68th birthdays. The concert was great fun. Peter's voice at 68 was actually much better than it had been at 18. He had fun playing with the audience and making jokes about all the old people in the hall. I am sure he was amused at all the older ladies in the audience still wearing Herman tee shirts and still acting like giggling school girls.
He finished the show with a very high energy version of I'm Henry The Eighth I Am. He had the audience sing along and spell out the H E N R Y for the chorus. And then it was all over and he prepared to leave the stage. But as all fans expect the star came back for one last song. He came back to finish the show with There's A Kind Of Hush. All the ladies sighed. All the men clapped. And this old fan just smiled and was glad to have relived the age thirteen once more for an hour. As Peter left the stage he passed directly by our table as we were seated right at the very end of stage. He had walked around the stage waving to the ladies. He was telling everyone goodbye and then he reached out and shook my hand. Of course he had no idea that fifty years ago this month I had bought my first album and that it was his album. But for me it was a great moment. Fifty years later celebrating our birthdays together in small concert hall. Two old men shaking hands. Take that Paul McCartney. As much as I love The Beatles this could never have happened at one of your stadium concerts. And so I am kind of glad now that fifty years ago I bought Peter's album first.