♫ I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am ♫

Well, my morning post was a bit dour, but the one bright thing it did was remind me of this song!  It is not my favourite of Herman’s Hermits, but I have to admit it is a fun song with an upbeat melody and lyrics, so let’s start this new year, such as it is, with this, shall we?

Herman’s Hermits are an English beat rock and pop group formed in 1964 in Manchester, originally called Herman and His Hermits and featuring lead singer Peter Noone. Produced by Mickie Most, they charted with number ones in the UK and in America, where they ranked as one of the most successful acts in the Beatles-led British Invasion.

I’m Henery The Eighth, I Am was first published in 1910, and was the signature tune of the great music hall star Harry Champion; the title is a reference to Henry VIII, the much married King of England; the twist is that here the narrator ties the knot with a much married widow.

The original I’m Henery The Eighth, I Am has a bunch of verses, but the Herman’s Hermits rendition has just one, repeated three times (“second verse, same as the first”, which is where I got my idea for the title of my a.m. post). That’s because the band only knew the one verse, which is actually the chorus.

According to Peter Noone …

“I have the original Harry Champion recording of that, on wire.  It’s from a time when people were just lucky enough to be in the music business. If you were at my house you’d get Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Fats Waller and a lot of that hymn stuff that my grandfather liked. Because of the BBC we were exposed to multiple types of music, and rock ‘n’ roll was only 30 minutes a day.”

I’m Henry the 8th
Herman’s Hermits

I’m Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She’s been married seven times before

And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)
I’m her eighth old man, I’m Henry
Henry the eighth I am

Second verse same as the first

I’m Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She’s been married seven times before

And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)
I’m her eighth old man, I’m Henry
Henry the eighth I am

I’m Henry the eighth I am
Henry the eighth I am, I am
I got married to the widow next door
She’s been married seven times before
And every one was an Henry (Henry)
She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)

I’m her eighth old man, I’m Henry
Henry the eighth I am
H-E-N-are-why
Henry (Henry) Henry (Henry)
Henry the eighth I am, I am
Henry the eighth I am yeah

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Fred Murray / R P Weston
I’m Henry the 8th (Re-Record) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

♫ Wonderful World ♫

When you hear the song title “Wonderful World”, you likely first think of the immortal Louis Armstrong … which I played twice last year and once already in June of this year.  I love Louis, love that song … but for tonight, I am playing a different song with a similar title … this one by Sam Cooke, another of my way-back-when favourites.

Wonderful World was originally written by music legends Lou Alder and Herb Alpert, but Cooke added the finishing lyrical touches, and the trio used the songwriting pseudonym “Barbara Campbell,” the name of Cooke’s high school sweetheart. Adler went on from this success to found Dunhill Records and manage big name artists such as Jan & Dean, The Mamas & The Papas, and Carole King. Not to be outdone, his writing partner, Herb Alpert, put the “A” in A&M Records after performing for several years with his band Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

Don’t let the bouncy rhythm and upbeat tempo fool you. According to Craig Werner, a professor of African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the song may have a more politically charged meaning. In his book, A Change Is Gonna Come: Music, Race and the Soul of America, Werner writes that “Wonderful World” may be one of the first examples of Cooke’s crossover into politics, where he informs white listeners that he “don’t know much about history” and “don’t know much biology” as a comment that these are the things to forget about African-Americans, and all they need to remember is love.

Throughout the years, “Wonderful World” has been covered by a number of artists including Otis Redding, Bryan Ferry, Michael Bolton, and Rod Stewart. After Sam Cooke’s death in 1964, there were a rash of “tribute” covers released including a 1965 up-tempo version by Herman’s Hermits, which reached #4 on the US Pop Singles chart and #7 on the UK Singles chart, and a rendition by The Supremes released on their 1965 album “We Remember Sam Cooke.” In 1977, Art Garfunkel put his spin on the hit for his album, Watermark, which featured harmonies by friend, James Taylor, and former partner, Paul Simon.

Wonderful World
Sam Cooke

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Don’t know much about geography
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra
Don’t know what a slide rule is for

But I do know one and one is two
And if this one could be with you
What a wonderful world this would be

Now, I don’t claim to be an A student
But I’m trying to be
For maybe by being an A student, baby
I can win your love for me

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Latatatatata ah
History (Mmmm)
Biology (Well a-tatatatata)
Science book (Mmmm)
French I took, yeah

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me, too
What a wonderful world this would be

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: George David Weiss / Robert Thiele

♫ I’m Into Something Good ♫

For a time in 1965, Herman’s Hermits kicked The Beatles off the charts. And as the Fab Four transitioned into a more serious, studio-only band, there was still an appetite for bright pop songs with a definite British edge, which is where Peter Noone and his band came in.

For some reason, Herman’s Hermits popped into my head earlier today with Listen People, and I could not shake them out at all!  My ears must be clogged!  At any rate, I was going to play Listen People, for I like it, but I could find almost no trivia on it, so I decided instead to go with this one, I’m Into Something Good, which I also like and for which I found some interesting songfacts!

I had no idea that this was written by the songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King who wrote for so many artists including the Monkees, Aretha Franklin, the Drifters and many more! Goffin & King are … the gold standard by most any measure!

This was originally recorded by Earl-Jean (real name Ethel McCrea), who had been the lead singer the R&B vocal group The Cookies. Her version, titled I’m Into Somethin’ Good, peaked at #38 in the US in August 1964.

The song became a British Invasion hit when producer Mickie Most heard Carole King’s demo and decided to cover it with a new British group, Herman’s Hermits. The band was fronted by 16-year-old John F. Kennedy lookalike Peter Noone, who had already appeared in the British TV soap Coronation Street. Released as the group’s first single, it went to #13 in the U.S. in December 1964, but proved wildly popular on their home turf, reaching #1 in the UK in September.

According to Peter Noone …

“On the record you can hear the enthusiasm of this band who believe that they were going to be heard on the radio. When the record was on the radio, we thought we’d made it.”

Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, both future members of Led Zeppelin, played on some Herman’s Hermits songs, but not this one.  This was Herman’s Hermits’ only song to reach #1 in the UK, where it remains their best-known song. After it hit, the band went on tour in the U.S. with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars and made inroads in that country, where they were welcomed as part of the British Invasion. In 1965, they had two U.S. #1 hits: Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter and I’m Henry The VIII, I Am.

I’m Into Something Good
Herman’s Hermits

Woke up this mornin’ feelin’ fine
There’s somethin’ special on my mind
Last night I met a new girl in the neighbourhood, whoa yeah
Somethin’ tells me I’m into something good (Somethin’ tells me I’m into somethin’)

She’s the kind of girl who’s not too shy
And I can tell I’m her kind of guy
She danced close to me like I hoped she would (she danced with me like I hoped she would)
Somethin’ tells me I’m into something good (Somethin’ tells me I’m into somethin’)

We only danced for a minute or two
But then she stuck close to me the whole night through
Can I be fallin’ in love
She’s everthing I’ve been dreamin’ of
She’s everthing I’ve been dreamin’ of

I walked her home and she held my hand
I knew it couldn’t be just a one-night stand
So I asked to see her next week and she told me I could
(I asked to see her and she told me I could)
Somethin’ tells me I’m into something good (somethin’ tells me I’m into somethin’)
(Somethin’ tells me I’m into somethin’, ahhh)

I walked her home and she held my hand
I knew it couldn’t be just a one-night stand
So I asked to see her next week and she told me I could
(I asked to see her and she told me I could)
Somethin’ tells me I’m into something good (somethin’ tells me I’m into somethin’)
Somethin’ tells me I’m into something good (somethin’ tells me I’m into somethin’)
To something good, oh yeah, something good (somethin’ tells me I’m into somethin’)
To something good, something good, something good

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Carole King / Gerry Goffin
I’m Into Something Good lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC