|HERMAN'S HERMITS-My Sentimental Friend/My Lady Germany Columbia C006-90151 1969|
By 1969 you'd think Herman's Hermits had all but evaporated but they had not. Somehow they came through psychedelia unscathed in the U.K., though their U.S. hit days were long gone. Today's subject, April 1969's "My Sentimental Friend" is a watershed of sorts on varying levels for the band. It was the band's highest charting single in England (#2) since their debut "I'm Into Something Good" (#1) and though they had at least half a dozen Top Ten U.K. hits still in the wings the band were clearly feeling the strains of five years in the industry.The fact that unlike most previous other U.K. 45's that it did not garner an American release in fact marked the end of any more singles by the band being released in the States (where they were third highest selling U.K. act behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones). It also ushered in a period (as evidenced by the b&w TV clip below) where lead singer Peter Noone was being pushed forward that would lead to the eventual billing as "Peter Noone & Herman;s Hermits" for their last 45 together (November 1970's "Lady Barbara") before both parties went their separate ways, Noone to a few solo hits (including a pre-Ziggy era cover of Bowie's "Oh You Pretty Things", #12 in the U.K. in June 1971) and the cabaret/State fair grind for the Hermits.
"My Sentimental Friend" is sort of schlocky. It's a ballad but the orchestration and the melody get me in the same way The Easybeat's "Hello How are You" (also a schlocky ballad) does. In fact the arrangement reminds me a lot of the '69 era Bee Gees stuff with it's grandiose production/orchestration. "My Lady" is not one of their best and really doesn't do it for me, it's not The Troggs/Jet Harris track of the same name and it's mood (and this awful flute)reek of variety show and cabaret.
The band miming to a re-recorded version w/ Noone singing live on "This Is Tom Jones" 1969