Monday, 1 August 2022


Imagine a news flash over 50 years ago “Today the pound hit a new low against the dollar” followed by the tuneful

“Woke up this morning feeling fine
I've got something special on my mind” 

That’s actually what  happened in 1964 with that Herman’s Hermits hit, I’m into Something Good

Herman's Hermits | Discography | Discogs

Herman’s Hermits had loads of UK hits and 18 top 40 hits in the USA selling over 80 million records. Lead singer Peter Noone described their name as being a huge disadvantage – The Beatles, Stones, Animals or Who all had names allowing them a breadth of repertoire and were all hard-core, genre-changing bands. In contrast Herman’s Hermits sounded a just a bit silly and they only produced hits about young love but most of all were feel-good. 

Isn’t “feel-good” what we all desperately need now? Hence I suspect one of the problems the BBC has. Their interviewers are really good at being nasty and gloomy. 

BBC political editor's threat to kill noisy cockerel outside holiday home 

On Times Radio recently an interviewer of a Labour Shadow Frontbencher failed to get a straight answer to any of her polite questions. Afterwards she lamented her performance saying she’d tried her best. Her crestfallen humility was in pleasant contrast to most of her peers.

It's hard for us to compare 1964 with today. In almost every respect today is better in terms of health, wealth, education, opportunities and our general infrastructure. We’re spoilt for choice with hundreds of TV channels  and free music and everything shows we have it better now than we did then. 

Back in the 1960s “mental health” was not a topic of general conversation but had it been I suspect casualties to it would have turned out to be just as great as they are today.

So where do we get our feel-good pick-me-ups today?

Fact: the commercial world for music has changed. Example: The Arctic Monkeys are going on tour soon – 59 gigs in 19 different countries in 4 ½ months. Ticket prices range from £140 to £300 and way beyond. They’ll be very tired and richer when they get home after Christmas.  Tunes will be the last thing on anyone’s minds. 

It's About Damn Time for a New Lizzo Video

Near to top of current best sellers: Lizzo and “About Damn Time”? Terrific song and video but not the pink-scrubbed-clean sound of a Herman ditty. Kate Bush is currently the third best-selling song with “Running Up That Hill.” But it’s 37 years old.  And it doesn’t have a catchy tune. Back in the day of Herman they used to say if you heard a milkman whistling your latest single that you had a hit on your hands.  I haven’t heard anyone whistle anything recently. It went out of vogue about the same time as smoking. 

But don’t we all need a tuneful song to ease the pressures of an overheated world.  An upbeat tune to remove the black-dog grumpiness in the news?  We used to have Herman and the Hermits, the Hollies and Joe Brown. Now we have videos and musical extravaganza.

By the way, talking of tunes and feel-good I see Joni Mitchell was persuaded to sing at the Newport Rhode Island Jazz Festival  - it was very emotional stuff. And it struck me she once had a “woke up” song too:

“Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
And the first thing that I knew
There was milk and toast and honey
And a bowl of oranges, too
And the sun poured in like butterscotch
And stuck to all my senses

Oh, won't you stay, we'll put on the day
And we'll talk in present tenses”

Joni Mitchell Reclaims Her Voice at Newport - The New York Times

Ah. I feel so much better already.

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