My crack researcher, Steve Miura, told me about Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, who was performing at the Blue Note last week.
Peter Noone has a long history with the fans of Hawaii, Miura said. He first came to Hawaii with Herman’s Hermits on Aug. 15, 1965, when he was 17 years old, and performed before a sold-out crowd at the Blaisdell Arena (then called the Honolulu International Center).
The group’s big hits at the time were, “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am,” “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” and “I’m Into Something Good.”
“Henry the Eighth” was a 1910-era British music hall song about a guy whose wife had married eight men, all named “Henery.” She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam.
Peter Noone said his career began several years earlier at 12 when he got an acting job on a British TV show. He told Hawaii Public Radio’s Dave Lawrence in a phone interview that he used his income to form a rock ‘n‘ roll band, first called the Cyclones.
One day, the group members saw the Beatles perform and that inspired them to put 100% of their energies into the band. In 1965 they put on 360 concerts, cut several records and even made a movie, Noone said.
Over 1,000 screaming fans greeted them at the airport. “We love you Herman,” they shouted. A throng of overzealous kids pushed through a gate and rushed the Hermits, but police restrained them, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported.
Noone said he loved Hawaii but thought he might be allergic to the lei he was wearing. He hoped to get some surfing in before their show.
“After their Honolulu concert, Noone stayed in Hawaii for a few days of vacation,” Miura said. “Tom Moffatt, who was the promoter of that concert, knew that Noone was a big fan of Elvis Presley and had a lifelong dream to meet him.”
By coincidence, Elvis was on Oahu filming his latest movie at that time,“Paradise, Hawaiian Style,” at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie.
“Paradise, Hawaiian Style” was Elvis’ third and final movie filmed in Hawaii. In the film, Elvis plays a reckless helicopter pilot whose skirt-chasing might cost him his flying license.
Moffatt called Colonel Parker, Elvis’ manager, and arranged for Noone to meet Elvis on the movie set on Aug. 18, 1965. When Noone arrived for the meeting, Parker, presented Noone with a letter typed on his personal stationery, welcoming Herman’s Hermits to Hawaii on behalf of Elvis.
“Everybody in England wanted to meet Elvis Presley,” Noone recalled. “It was kind of scary. He was the most handsome guy I had ever seen in my life.”
“Six months later, on February 20, 1966, Tom Moffatt was on the air at K-POI when he got an urgent call from Harvey Lisberg, who was the tour manager for Herman’s Hermits,” Miura continued.
Herman’s Hermits had arrived in Hawaii for a one-week vacation after a tour of Asia and Australia. However, there was a mix-up with their hotel reservations at the Kahala Hilton and they had nowhere to stay.
“Moffatt, who had a big house in Nuuanu, invited them to stay with him for a couple of days, until hotel rooms became available.
“They gladly accepted Moffatt’s offer, with the understanding that they had to stay in the house at all times, because if word leaked out and their fans found out where they were staying, it would cause a pandemonium,” Miura said.
Later that year, on July 1, 1966, Moffat brought Herman’s Hermits back to Hawaii for a third time and they performed before a sold-out crowd at the Blaisdell Arena.
Their opening act was The Animals. The ticket prices for this event were $5, $4, $3 and $2.
Elton John on Maui
Miura also told me that another well-known musician put on a memorable performance in the islands.
“On July 17, 1977, Elton John put on a free solo acoustic concert at a nightclub named The Blue Max, that was located at 730 Front St. in Lahaina, Maui,” Miura said.
This event was a benefit for Greenpeace Hawaii, the environmental organization. There was no charge for admission, but donations were accepted.
“Elton, who was vacationing on Maui, performed alone on a white baby grand piano that was somehow carried up the double staircase of the club to the second story stage that overlooked the ocean.
The Blue Max was owned by John and Sharon Lawrence, who also started the clothing store named Otaheite. The old location of The Blue Max is now the Lahaina Pizza Company.
The manager of The Blue Max was Bobby Lozoff, who told the Lahaina News that John was taking a break from show business at the time and was hanging out for a few days at his bar on Front Street.
John said he “hadn’t done anything in a long time and would like to perform. His only requirement was a grand piano.” Moving the piano through Lahaina set off a wave of interest.
“The Blue Max normally seated only 125 customers,” Miura continued. “However on that night, hundreds of people showed up for the concert. This created a traffic jam that caused the closure of Front Street.”
One waitress named Coco said that, “when he started playing, the town just stopped. You couldn’t move on the sidewalk. It was packed. Cars could not move. They were either parked or stuck where they were.”
John began his performance with “Your Song” and continued on with hits like “Take Me To The Pilot,” “Sixty Years On,” “Rocket Man,” “Candle In The Wind,” “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word,” and “Bennie And The Jets,” before being called back for an encore of “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.”
“Everybody knew the words to all his hits,” Coco recalled. “They were dancing, yelling, singing, hugging and carrying on.
“The music was fabulous. I remember him standing on top of the piano. He got close enough to the ceiling fan that I think it knocked his hat off!”
Lozoff, the Blue Max manager, has another claim to fame. He invented the Tequila Sunrise, made with tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup.
Lozoff was bartending at the Trident bar in Sausalito, Calif., just north of San Francisco in the early 1970s.
Concert promoter Bill Graham threw a private party for the Rolling Stones at the Trident in 1972, when they were on their “Exile on Main Street” world tour.
Mick Jagger ordered a margarita from Lozoff. He suggested Jagger try something new, also with tequila. Jagger and Keith Richard liked it so much that it became the unofficial cocktail of their tour.
A year later, the Eagles had a hit record about the Tequila Sunrise.
Have a question or suggestion? Contact Bob Sigall, author of the five “The Companies We Keep” books at Sigall@Yahoo.com.