HERMAN'S HERMITS have become as big as The Beatles, in the States - a feat which a few months ago wouldn't have seemed possible in view of the absolutely fantastic way the Liverpool boys took America by storm.
And just back from being with the group over there is 20-year-old freelance disc jockey from Manchester, Dave Lee Travis, a long-standing personal friend of Herman.
"It's been unbelievable! We're all knocked out by the reception they're getting. 'Mrs. Brown' is still the biggest record - even though it's not at the top anymore. I'd say they're easily as big as The Beatles now," he told me.
Everywhere the Manchester boys have been - they're part of the "Dick Clark Caravan of Stars" - they've had the red carpet treatment. The fans have gone completely wild. At one time as many as 30 cars, packed full of girls, chased Herman's huge Chevrolet estate car back from the theatre to their hotel.
"It's Herman and no one else they're after," added Dave. "They follow him everywhere he goes - offering to drive him about and show him the sights.
Mad!"They go a little mad at times, too, though! Once Herman and I got left behind at the theatre in Jacksonville, Florida. We didn't make the car in time and the seething mass of kids outside would have torn him to bits if he'd as much as stuck his head out the door.
"The plan was for them all to dash off the stage at the end and out of a door at the front - to avoid the crowds at the rear. The Hermits made it in time, but Herman and I had to retreat back into the theatre as the crowd swamped the car . . . . which had been daubed from end to end with lipstick messages and had mirrors, etc. ripped off.
"It was almost an hour before they dispersed and I had a hard time convincing them that Herman wasn't in the theatre. In the end the local police chief brought round an ordinary car and we beat it in that!"
In the rare periods of spare time, the boys have usually split up to go sightseeing, shopping
and round the nightclubs - and spend a lot of time swimming. Said Dave: "They're mad for swimming. As soon as we get back to the hotel it's straight into the pool, which is all lit up. Then, after about three quarters of an hour, they go back to their room to relax, read and listen to records."
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