Wednesday, November 9, 2016
SHG: Herman's Hermits: "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat"
Herman’s Hermits: “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat”
Entered the chart on: 2/20/65
Peaked on: 3/27/65
Weeks at #2: 2
Song at #1: “Stop! In the Name of Love” by the Supremes
Let me tell you the story of Goldie and the Gingerbreads, the first “girl group” to play their own instruments. Goldie (vocals and harmonica), Carole (guitar), Margo (organ) and Ginger (drums), four girls from New York who briefly relocated to London in search of fame and fortune.
It sounds like I’m off on a wild tangent to start this review but stick with me. I swear this connects.
You see, in 1964, the girls’ management offered them a tune called “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat.” Carole hated it and dismissed it as “bubblegum [expletive],” disgusted that it veered so far from their usual style (imagine a distaff version of the Young Rascals). But Goldie said they had to do it because management had the final say, blah blah blah. The result: a top 40 hit in the UK, television appearances, and so on and so forth.
Meanwhile, over on our side of the pond, Beatlemania had spurred a wave of Anglophilia the likes of which had never been equalled. So it makes sense that MGM, eager to cash in, rush-released a cover version by a group of London pretty boys known as Herman’s Hermits to the US market. Goldie and her cohorts were pissed off. Sure, they didn’t like the song, but they felt it was their song. To be cheated out of a hit in their home country had to be frustrating.
I imagine it wouldn’t have been so bad had the artists doing the song were the actual Beatles or something, as opposed to a gaggle of Bobby Rydells with Cockney accents. Obviously, a manufactured group selected for their non-threatening, boyish looks. Even if their lead singer looks like Bobby Brady. Seriously, have you ever seen Peter Noone and Mike Lookinland in the same room together?
Well, I do like the guitar intro to this one, and it has a nice beat to it. Can’t compare to the beat on “Have I the Right” by the Honeycombs, though. And I’ll always be comparing this to the Gingerbreads’ original. Margo’s swinging Hammond organ and Goldie’s raspy, undeniably rock-inflected voice give a little bit of a flair to what’s otherwise a pretty weak song.
You really don’t get any of that with this version. Peter Noone and co. sing fine, technically, but they’re just so twee. This rendition just winds up pretty flat and empty in the end.
And, as previously stated, it was never all that great a song to begin with.