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Pop - Released August 4, 2008 | Parlophone UK

While Herman's Hermits will undoubtedly never get the critical respect afforded other British Invasion groups like the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones, or the Kinks, as a group they weren't as silly as most people remember them. OK, maybe they were -- certainly when on camera -- but they and their producer Mickie Most had the good sense to pick solid songs to cover (the Goffin & King nugget "I'm into Something Good," "Silhouettes," originally done by the Rays, and Sam Cooke's great "Wonderful World"), which allowed them to sustain a hit-making career long past the end of chart action for such rival pop-oriented British Invasion acts as Gerry & the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer. This four-disc set covers the Hermits' years with Most (1964 to 1972) about as well as one could in terms of content, representing everything the group did with him, including a brace of rarities, unreleased tracks, and sides that singer Peter Noone recorded with Most as a solo artist on the producer's RAK label. For most Hermits fans, it will seem like too much of a good thing, as all of the group's hits have reappeared numerous times in compilations too ubiquitous to list -- but they would be making a terrible mistake to pass up this set. Indeed, if anything, this quadruple-disc set is too much of a great thing, if such a thing is possible (though with one important flaw). And that makes it well worth saving up for. One has to say at the outset that anyone who seriously loves the familiar hits will find a huge amount to enjoy and then some in the surrounding LP and EP tracks that comprise most of this set. As one quickly discovers, the Hermits work was an embarrassment of pop/rock riches second only to the Beatles in consistency, if not ambition. One of the secrets behind the Hermits' extraordinary sales success under Most's musical direction was that they never challenged their listenership too much, even on most of their albums; they understood their audience and never outran its expectations. In that regard, anyone who loves the group's hits can feel confident that they'll end up playing this set to death, and get to know a lot more than those hits; and they'll even find revelations such as the Blaze album. Indeed, from the middle of disc two onward, those who only know the group's 1964-1966 AM radio hits may be delighted with the more advanced sounds that start issuing forth, in the form of more ambitious songs, lyrics, and arrangements, all of it still eminently accessible but just a little more demanding of both the group and the listener -- but still fun listening, if that's all the latter desired. Disc four contains most of the rarities and the last of the group's work, plus the Noone solo releases, and it's as enjoyable as the first disc, just more suited to the late '60s and early '70s -- the suite-like "Lady Barbara," for example, shows how this group might well have competed in the era of psychedelic and progressive pop/rock, if only they could have lured that audience. And the sound is fine as well, although some people have criticized the lack of stereo versions of various songs. Mickie Most was a firm believer in mono as the definitive format for a pop single; stereo mixes may have existed on many of the songs, but they were done for expediency's sake -- the mono masters were the ones that counted. Much more of a problem is the threadbare annotation, which makes this set a study in unnecessary frustration. Just because the music is unassuming pop/rock doesn't mean that a lot of work didn't go into making it, or that this isn't worth discussing or analyzing -- and one wonders how any release as thorough as this one is musically could also be treated so superficially? Yes, one recognizes that Peter Noone was, for recording purposes, the entire show, so far as their producer Mickie Most was concerned; the other group members barely (if at all) played on their singles, and likely not on the album tracks either; and, in fairness, annotator Spencer Leigh does mention Keith Hopwood, Derek Leckenby, Karl Green, and Barry Whitwam (i.e., the "Hermits") once in his essay. He never directly addresses the matter of the session musicians who played on their records (which, itself, would be an entertaining subject today) -- Noone brings up the matter of Jimmy Page making a revelatory contribution to "Silhouettes," and that's as far as it goes. Otherwise, there is no real account of the craftsmanship that went into the records, or the efforts at advancing their sound that took place within the group, on the Blaze album and various related matters; or even of Noone's thoughts on the movies in which they appeared, the soundtracks of which are represented here. Additionally, Hopwood and Leckenby (and, to a lesser degree, Green) were composers in their own right, and all had songs recorded by the group; and at one point Barry Whitwam was the sole active member of the group as a performing unit. All of the survivors might well have thoughts and memories to share, especially given that -- as those who saw them in concert can attest -- these guys could and did play and sing really well live, and threw everything into it. This set is a keeper, and it is a wonder, in terms of the listening, but it could have been a lot more, like the ultimate resource on the group's work. That would have been a sign of respect for the music, and perhaps also have begun a process of getting this group the respect it deserves. © Steve Leggett & Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 13, 1997 | Parlophone UK

There are so many Herman's Hermits collections out there now -- including at least two prior "Very Best Of's" from 1980 and 2001 -- that judging the relative worth of all but a tiny handful of them is an exercise in futility; assuming that one avoids re-recordings and stays away from old remasterings (prior to the late '90s), there's going to be some similarity and overlap. That said, this double-CD set does deserve special attention, owing to the fact that it offers a whopping 56 songs in state of the art sound; encompasses every U.S. and U.K. hit single and its B-side, and augments the collection with a few important album cuts -- and all for about the same price as the domestic single-CD collection of the group's work from ABKCO Records. Casual fans may appreciate the range and breadth of this set's programming for the slightly edgier sound that creeps into their work on B-sides such as "For Love" or "My Reservation's Been Confirmed," or simply for the startlingly long chain of excellent 45's represented here. Everything for this Very Best of Herman's Hermits was chosen with the assistance of Peter Noone, and backed up with some good notes by Dave McAleer (although his fudging on the question of instrumental credits -- that "some" of the recordings have musicians other than the group members playing -- gives one pause). The whole package makes an excellent hits companion to Repertoire's expanded reissues of the group's original albums. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 16, 2005 | Parlophone UK

There are so many Herman's Hermits collections out there now -- including at least two prior "Very Best Of's" from 1980 and 2001 -- that judging the relative worth of all but a tiny handful of them is an exercise in futility; assuming that one avoids re-recordings and stays away from old remasterings (prior to the late '90s), there's going to be some similarity and overlap. That said, this double-CD set does deserve special attention, owing to the fact that it offers a whopping 56 songs in state of the art sound; encompasses every U.S. and U.K. hit single and its B-side, and augments the collection with a few important album cuts -- and all for about the same price as the domestic single-CD collection of the group's work from ABKCO Records. Casual fans may appreciate the range and breadth of this set's programming for the slightly edgier sound that creeps into their work on B-sides such as "For Love" or "My Reservation's Been Confirmed," or simply for the startlingly long chain of excellent 45's represented here. Everything for this Very Best of Herman's Hermits was chosen with the assistance of Peter Noone, and backed up with some good notes by Dave McAleer (although his fudging on the question of instrumental credits -- that "some" of the recordings have musicians other than the group members playing -- gives one pause). The whole package makes an excellent hits companion to Repertoire's expanded reissues of the group's original albums. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released November 30, 2015 | Blue Pie Records

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Pop - Released November 3, 1997 | Parlophone UK

The group's debut British album was actually issued six months later than its American counterpart, and two months after its second American album, the LP being treated as far more important in the United States than in England. The contents are actually fairly close to the U.S.-issued Their Second Album! Herman's Hermits on Tour, with a couple of important differences. Among the tracks unique to this album, the Richard/Marvin ballad "I Wonder" is pretty dispensable, but interspersed with achingly beautiful ballads are the group's attempts at somewhat harder sounds on numbers like Carole King and Gerry Goffin's "Walkin' With My Angel" and more basic, slightly edgier rock ballads such as "Dream On" and their cover of Graham Gouldman's "For Your Love." The latter is decent, and lively enough, but the Yardbirds' version, lightweight as it may have seemed next to their blues sides, is so deeply soulful that it completely eclipses this rendition. Spiced with Keith Hopwood's catchy "Don't Try to Hurt Me" and "Tell Me Baby" (which appear on both albums, a testimony to Hopwood's songwriting ability) and ubiquitous fare such as "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter," the result is a pleasantly upbeat and substantial album by a highly underrated group. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 9, 2011 | The Dave Cash Collection - OMP

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Rock - Released March 1, 2004 | Parlophone UK

This is where the EMI's As Bs & EPs series begins to run out of steam, as a series, although this CD is decidedly useful as a Herman's Hermits compilation, apart from any larger catalog survey. Herman's Hermits, after all, were never on the cutting edge of pop or rock music, except in terms of sales; indeed, the later attribute, and their entire raison d'etre -- at least as far as their managers and producers were concerned -- was precisely to avoid the musical cutting edge which, by the end of 1965, had begun to carry the Beatles just a bit away from the warmest in the hearts of listeners (especially girls) ages 11 through, say, 14 (the point where fully enjoying the Beatles' work involved thinking a bit with the listening); rather, their goal was to produce safe, tuneful pop/rock, clever at times but not at all demanding, and which, on the whole, didn't advance musically either very much or very quickly. The 24 songs here pretty much fit into that mold, and there's not a lot of change or movement artistically, just the hits you remember from the radio. But there are a few exceptions among the B-sides that help distinguish this disc -- group members Derek Leckenby and Keith Hopwood's "For Love" is an edgy, dark homage to lust with some vaguely bluesy guitar, a catchy chorus, and good group vocals, representing the seldom heard "dark side" of Herman's Hermits; the same duo's "Gaslite Street," sort of their answer to "Penny Lane," is also worth rediscovering amid the plethora of familiar charting songs. And Led Zeppelin completists may want to check out the early John Paul Jones copyright, "Just One Girl," dating from 1968, an admittedly safe-sounding, sing-songy ballad in a decidedly retro, mid-1960s mode, light-years removed from the repertory he brought to the reconstituted Yardbirds lineup in the summer of that same year. If this release -- which does offer state-of-the-art sound -- exposes those more interesting edges to the group's sound (otherwise only available on Repertoire Records' CD reissues of their LPs), then it serves a purpose; those sides should only get the typical Hermits fan to pick up their "lost" classic album Blaze. The only question for the producers of the As B's & EPs series after finishing with this CD is where it goes from here: the Hollies, and Gerry & the Pacemakers? That is, the Beatles are off-limits, Cliff Richard is now so heavily anthologized that he ought to be off-limits, and remaining rock acts like the Fourmost, the Swinging Blue Jeans, and the Roulettes never generated enough real singles; and they apparently don't even own the Downliners Sect library anymore, even assuming that there was someone employed by EMI brave enough to suggest compiling their work (and it seems there's been no one like that there since Colin Miles left to form his own company). So, apart from Cilla Black, who's heavily anthologized already, from here do they step outside of rock & roll, to Alma Cogan, Michael Halliday, and Peter Sellers? © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 7, 2014 | Zenith Blue

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Pop - Released July 2, 2013 | DPR-TMC

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Rock - Released September 11, 2015 | StarPointe Records

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Pop - Released February 4, 2017 | Weishaupt Music & Entertainment

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Pop - Released May 21, 2019 | White Room Music

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Pop - Released June 25, 2020 | Music Manager

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Rock - Released November 23, 2015 | Blue Pie Records

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Pop - Released October 1, 2011 | Voyage

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Pop - Released April 27, 2010 | Platinum Collection

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Pop - Released May 5, 2016 | CTS Digital

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Rock - Released November 18, 2012 | Carter Lane - OMiP

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Pop - Released March 11, 2013 | Hans Edler Music

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Pop - Released June 8, 2006 | Charly Records