They were a sweet-songed mid-pop 60's phenomenon who occupied a special place in the hearts of many. And true to their name, they never met.
According to a new book, the Hermits hated the work, lived totally isolated lives when not on tour, and never spoke or made eye contact in a 23 year career that took them from Top of the Pops (Silhoettes, 1963) to the end of the Pier, Lytham St Annes (1971, chip supper included)
"It was a tough call, creatively, a pop group made completely of people who otherwise chose lives of absolute solitude," recalls Peter Noone, who dropped his hyphen to avoid anonymity. "Yes, I started out as Peter No-one, but I wanted to be somebody" he writes in his book, "The Band that Never Met" I wanted to be the somebody that got together an impossible dream.
No-one called himself Herman, then combed the country for men he could call hermits with a capital herm.
The four he assembled, a stone mason, a philosopher, a buddhist monk and a spy on the run lived double lives. During time off they lived alone in remote craggy locations But as pop stars they used separate dressing rooms, tour buses, hotels and towels, and even in the studio or on stage never made eye contact or spoke to each other, or anyone else. A special system of masks, paper bags and on stage blinkers meant the men stayed true to their solitude, even during the harmonising in "Something tells me I'm into something good"
"After so many years I feel I have to tell the tale," said Noone. Me and the lads often meet up and laugh about those days," he told the Daily Mail.