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Album: Herman's HermitsReleased: 1965Charted:
This novelty song was the seventh single by Herman's Hermits; it was released in June 1965 backed by "The End Of The World," but although it has a 1960s feel, it was actually written by R.P. Weston and Fred Murray. Weston, who died in 1936, is best remembered as the songwriting partner of Bert Lee; the two met in 1915 through the publishing house Francis, Day And Hunter, and went on to produce literally hundreds of songs.
"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"). That's because the band only knew the one verse, which is actually the chorus.
Herman's Hermits recorded this song after their track "Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter
" shot to #1 in America. Looking to follow it up with another old-timey single, they thought of "I'm Henry The VIII, I Am," which they had played before on stage. It worked, and the song shot to #1, knocking The Rolling Stones "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
" off the top spot.
Music Hall songs like this one were part of the English culture, so it wasn't a stretch for Herman's Hermits to record it. "I have the original Harry Champion recording of that, on wire," Peter Noone said in his Songfacts interview
. "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."