Harvey Lisberg

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Harvey Lisberg was important to Manchester rock, of the pre-Factory and pre-Fall kind, as manager for Herman's Hermits and 10cc. At the onset of the British Invasion, he signed Herman's Hermits and placed…
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Harvey Lisberg was important to Manchester rock, of the pre-Factory and pre-Fall kind, as manager for Herman's Hermits and 10cc. At the onset of the British Invasion, he signed Herman's Hermits and placed them with Columbia UK and producer Mickie Most. As is well known, Herman's Hermits were one of the British pop groups of the time, like the Dave Clark Five, Peter & Gordon, and Chad & Jeremy, that ultimately had a more successful career in the United States than at home. Lisberg did his part to propagate their success by sticking with them even when other trends threatened to make them passe, and getting them into B-movies to supplement their income.

Talent-wise, Lisberg's most significant client was singer/songwriter Graham Gouldman, also from Manchester. In the mid-'60s, he signed Gouldman's group, the Mockingbirds, which couldn't manage to get a hit despite releasing five singles, even aided by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Oldham (who briefly had them on his Immediate label) and Yardbirds producers Giorgio Gomelsky and Paul Samwell-Smith. At the same time, however, Gouldman's career as a songwriter was blossoming, as his songs were covered for hits by the Yardbirds, the Hollies, Herman's Hermits, and Wayne Fontana. Gouldman and Lisberg had tried to have Gouldman's "For Your Love" released as a Mockingbirds single, but it was rejected by Columbia, and also rejected by Mickie Most as a candidate for a single by Herman's Hermits. Fortunately for the sake of posterity, it was picked up by the Yardbirds, who likely did a much better job with it than Herman's Hermits ever could have done.

Lisberg stuck with Gouldman as the singer/songwriter tried unsuccessfully to launch himself as a performer as a soloist and with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. Lisberg even helped Gouldman find work as a songwriter for the Kasenatz-Katz bubblegum factory in New York for a while. This at least gave Gouldman the advantage of valuable experience, which he expanded when he returned to England and worked for Kasenatz-Katz with the assistance of Godley and Creme, which got all three of them more experience in the studio. This trio finally became the nucleus of 10cc, which achieved considerable success in the U.K. and then the States, Lisberg still engaged as manager.

Lisberg also tried his hand at more way-out progressive rock with Julie Driscoll in the early '70s, although at that time the singer was not interested in singing and performing, making the relationship more symbolic than profitable. He also managed Barclay James Harvest for a while, and the Manchester band Sad Cafe, which had a few hits in England in the late '70s.