Connecting Jon Peter Lewis to the right 60s pop star from Manchester. As noted last night, Quentin Tarantino likened JPL to 60s British pop star Freddie Garrity (of Freddie and the Dreamers). And I agree that Freddie was awfully geeky, in fact, way more geeky than JPL. And JPL isn't really more geeky than anyone since Freddie: David Byrne was geekier than JPL (and so were a lot of those 70s new wave guys). Freddie tied back to the Buddy Holly line of popdom, and in fact, emphasized his resemblance to Holly by wearing the same type of glasses. We know JPL's favorite 50s star is not Holly, but Elvis, based on key song choices, such as last night's Jailhouse Rock. His dance style is an homage to Elvis (even as it is a touching and open acknowledgement of the impossibility of being Elvis).
The 60s Manchester pop idol that JPL actually resembles, who was much less geeky then Freddie, was the teen-boyfriend cute Peter Noone--"Herman," of Herman's Hermits. Oh, how I loved Herman's Hermits. I still enjoy listening to their greatest hits CD. They should do a British Pop 60s night on American Idol so JPL can sing "I'm Into Something Good."
Manchester bands were an interesting contrast to the Liverpool (and London) bands in the 60s. For some reason, at that time, Manchester produced poppier bands. The greatest one was The Hollies. (How can you not enjoy a Hollies greatest hits CD? Look Through Any Window, Bus Stop, He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother, etc.). Another Manchester band was Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders. I didn't care about them, but the Mindbenders had one truly sublime single after Fontana left the group. I'll never forget the single with the light blue label that I played over and over: "Groovy Kind of Love."
UPDATE: Perhaps a love of Buddy Holly rather than Elvis actually is the explanation of the difference between the Manchester and Liverpool bands of the 60s. The Beatles' love of Elvis is very well known. Freddie's connection to Holly is noted above. The Hollies connection to Holly is right there in the name. How about Herman's Hermits? One of their earliest album tracks was a perfect rendition of Holly's "Heartbeat," which was nice because they also had a hit called "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat?"
FURTHER UPDATE: And now JPL is gone! Goodbye, JPL!