Saturday, June 23, 2012
HERMAN'S HERMITS - IT'S ALRIGHT NOW
By 1969, Herman's Hermits weren't the hitmaking machine they once were, at least in the US. They hadn't had a Top Ten hit here since "There's A Kind Of Hush" in early 1967. But in the UK, the group continued to have major success - their previous single to this one, "My Sentimental Friend", was their second biggest hit in the UK (behind "I'm Into Something Good"). As a result, this was the last US Herman's Hermits 45 on MGM.
The A-side, "(Here Comes) The Star", was a cover of a #1 hit in Australia recorded by TV show host and singer Ross D. Wylie. Herman's Hermits toured there in the fall of '69, and decided to record the song for themselves. It hit #33 on the UK charts, but completely missed over here.
Too bad, because if you flip this little biscuit over, you get one of the Hermits' most savagely rockin' sides! I know, I know, Herman's Hermits aren't exactly known for their hard rockers, but when you realize that most of their early singles had session musicians on them like Jimmy Page on guitar and John Paul Jones on bass....well, the potential was there, anyway. Even though a lot of their hits are pretty lightweight, check out tracks like "My Reservation's Been Confirmed" (which was the US B-side of "Dandy"), "Wild Love" (from the Hold On soundtrack LP), their KILLER rendition of Frankie Laine's "Jezebel" (on the There's A Kind Of Hush LP), and this one.
The record starts off with a killer guitar riff (that gets repeated through the entire song) over four-on-the-floor drums. Then Peter Noone's voice comes in, echoey and phasey as all get-out, singing what passes for lyrics; I mean, dig this - "It's alright/It's alright/Doin' it all, really havin' a ball/It's alright."
DUMB. But great!
The record pretty much goes nowhere after that, but that guitar riff just gets more and more insistent, so much so that by the end of the record the drummer is beating the holy bejeezus out of his kit. In a way, "It's Alright Now" foreshadows the pounding, stomping sound of UK pop of the early 1970s on records by Gary Glitter, among others.
Herman's Hermits - It's Alright Now (MGM 14100) - 1969