16 June 2021

Herbie's People - One Little Smile/ You Never Know


Bilston beat boys back on the blog again 

Label: CBS
Year of Release: 1966

Herbie's People are no strangers to this blog - back in 2015 we covered their debut single and near-hit "You Thrill Me To Pieces". "One Little Smile" was their follow-up effort.

To summarise, they were unlucky coves, being the first group to record "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James" before watching in horror as Manfred Mann nabbed the song shortly afterwards and sent it sailing chartwards. They were therefore denied one near-certain hit and didn't manage to stumble into an equally strong opportunity again. 

To aficionados of popsike, they're probably best loved for their excellent final single under the name Just William, "I Don't Care/ Cherrywood Green", issued on Spark in 1968. Their earlier material is much beatier and chirpier and lacks those moody, quirky harmonies. The Carter/Lewis penned "One Little Smile" is evidence of this - it's commercial pop music from the days when songs with few mixed messages or negative undertows could rule the roost. You meet someone, you fall in love with their smile, you write a two minute chirpy pop song about it. The pure innocence of it would probably have already seemed slightly quaint by April 1966 and it undoubtedly does now, but it passes the old grey whistle test with flying colours.

Sadly, despite this it sold incredibly poorly and did not build on the momentum created by their first disc. They would issue another single for CBS, "Humming Bird", in February 1967 before being dropped by the label and finding themselves on Spark the following year. 

If the previews below aren't working properly, please do go right to the source.


Michael Alden said...

Good pop group!

Arthur Nibble said...

Herbie's People recorded "Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. Jones", which Manfred Mann retitled because their vocalist Paul Jones had recently left and they didn't want him to think they were taking the mickey with the song's title.

rntcj said...


Thanx for this one. A "new" artist here = "new" hear here.

Ciao! For now.