No Milk Today

Album: There's A Kind Of Hush All Over The World (1966)
Charted: 7 35
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Songfacts®:

  • This song about a love that is lost was written by future 10cc member Graham Gouldman. Among other '60s hits written by Gouldman were "Bus Stop" by the Hollies and "For Your Love" by the Yardbirds.

    The lyrics were inspired by Gouldman's father. The songwriter explained to Mojo magazine in 2011: "He'd been to visit a friend of his and noticed the milk bottle on the doorstep with the note, 'no milk today'. He came back and said to me, 'You should write a song called No Milk Today,' and I said 'What's so interesting about milk?', and he said, 'It's nothing to do with milk! There's nobody in the house, the house is empty, the love has left the house.' He helped me see it from a whole different point of view. Thanks, dad."
  • This was released as a single in the UK in 1967, reaching its chart peak of #7 in November. In America, it was first released as the B-side of "There's a Kind of Hush" in 1967, but "Milk" also became a hit, reaching #35 in April.
  • This was Herman's Hermit's first single to employ an orchestra.
  • In the US, this appeared on the B-side of Herman's Hermits cover of The Kinks' "Dandy," which peaked at #5. However in the UK, this was released as the A-side, the flip side "My Reservation's Been Confirmed," being a self-penned rocker.
  • According to the Stylus magazine (June 2006), this "Is quite possibly the most compacted structure of any song from the period. Not that you might notice. The tune is so clever that it manages some perceptual tricks. If you are at all familiar with 'No Milk Today,' you may be surprised to learn that it is comprised of 16 sections."
  • In an interview with the Forgotten Hits newsletter, Hermit's lead singer Peter Noone said: "Personally I think 'No Milk Today' is Herman's Hermits' best recording, and perfectly captures the moment and the feel of Manchester terraced houses and what was the end of a British era. I recall it was made at Lansdown Studios and that we recorded a few other songs that day, probably 'There's A Kind Of Hush,' 'Dandy' and 'No Milk Today.' This was in the period where we (Mick and I) had just stopped using The Hermits on the recordings and were using the best musicians available to us to try to keep up with what had suddenly become The British Invasion. We were supposed to deliver 48 tracks a year to MGM so we were always scrambling to catch up. I recall that John Paul Jones played bass guitars (an upright and a fender bass) on the tracks and was also responsible for the arrangements which I dare say are brilliant on all three tracks but I know he liked 'No Milk Today' and I would suggest that his arrangement turned this perfect Graham Gouldman song into a hit. I think that after we had the tracks down then I did the lead vocal and then Karl Green, Keith Hopwood and I did the backgrounds, the songs were mixed and that was it."

Comments: 26

  • Jim from London, CanadaI well remember flying into Manchester airport in the mid-70s and seeing rows and rows of "terrace" houses - or row houses as we Canadians might call them. Nearly every one of these were designed with two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. In fact, before indoor plumbing, the older terrace houses had the lavatory outside on the terrace. Many of these structures have been re-designed today by innovative architects and find themselves in great demand by young people starting out. Even so, the prices of these startle most Americans. A unit with less than a 1,000 sq. ft. can go for more than a million POUNDS. Today, about 3% of the UK’s fresh milk is delivered directly to the doorstep by milkmen and women. That’s not all – some milkmen and women have diversified their businesses and now offer everything from cheese and eggs to water and even compost! No s--t today?
  • Paul Travis from Hilliard OhioThis is a very poignant song. I was lucky enough to hear Peter Noone perform this in concert...
  • Fred from Laurel, MdLyrics correction:
    Last line of the bridge should read, "Just two up, two down", rather than, "Just two up to down." - this appears twice.
    "2 up 2 down" is, I believe, a description of the floor layout of the house or flat. Any Brits that can weigh in to correct this Yank? Or have I got it?

    PS: I also meant, in my last, to mention the chord structure, which I find catchy, interesting, delicious, and effective.
  • Fred from Laurel, MdI liked several of their earlier, "bubble-gum" fare well enough, but when this came out, it really caught my ear.
    I liked the tune, the story, and the wonderful 'shuffle' pattern the lyrical repetition makes. The song goes into a fade-out ending, once it has established the full-cycle of that repetition. Truly a wonderful song!
    "The bottle stands forlorn — a symbol of the dawn."

    PS: Hi, Stef! Glad to see you're still on here, after the site re-make(s).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 11th 1878, in New York City, milk was delivered in glass bottles for the first time; prior to that, milk had been ladled out of the milkman's container into each customer's container...
    Here's the tie in; on February 12th, 1967 "No Milk Today" by Herman's Hermits entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on April 8th, 1967 it peaked at #35 (for 1 week)...
    As already stated, here in the U.S.A. it was the flip-side of "There's A Kind of Hush", which reached #4 on the Top 100...
    Herman, born Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, celebrated his 66th birthday two months ago on November 5th.
  • Stan from Tamworth, United Kingdom@Morten - "The company was gay" refers to the people they were with, "the company" They were "gay" which in 1967 meant that they were happy and jolly. It did not have any sexual meaning in those lovely happy "gay" days!
  • Morten from Horten, Norway"...the company was gay..." it goes, how can a company have a sexual orientation?
  • Coy from Palestine, TxMickie Most never has received his due credit as a great producer. His records were so "clean" and the sound always clear. Beautiful style.
  • Matthew from Toronto, OnA serious attempt by Noone & company to rise above the monotony & cuteness of their typical fare--and with excellent results.
  • Mikhail Povorin from Moscow, Russia FederationI have just listened again to this wondeful song and wondered what it was really about. Now, thaks to Songfacts, I know everything about it.
  • Alan from White Lake, Mijust an excellent song the best of hermans hermits
  • Sharonturner from California, NyI'm a huge fan of Small Faces - I just heard about this new original DVD series: www.reelinintheyears.com/britishinvasion
  • Alex from California, CaSince you guys are talking about 60's music - you gotta see this very cool series on Herman's Hermits and some other top groups of the 60's - www.reelinintheyears.com/britishinvasion
  • Mark from Topeka, KsThis was actually the flip side of There's a Kind of Hush
  • Gonzo from Frankfurt, Germanyi recently heared a radio host saying this song was about nuclear war. i thought this was a cute idea, although the line "but people passing by" does not support that.
  • Costis from Athens, GreeceWell done Asef!Thanx!
  • Mrcleaveland from Cleveland,Oh come on, the American public never turned away from The Beatles. That's nuts.
  • Gordon from Montreal, OnHey Chris? Is 2:40 really too long
    for a brilliant little ditty like this?
    MY advice: get an attention span. You might
    find it useful.
  • Tony from Red Deer, AbReally really nice tune. However, in my opinion the song goes on WAY too long.
  • Chris from White Hall, IlJohn Lennon's comment took place in 1966. It was a while before this song came out.
  • Dave from Scottsdale, AzThis was the b side of "Kind Of A Hush".
  • Billy from Chicago, IlThe statment lasted longer then one year its possible it lasted until 1968 by the way the song came out in 1967.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrHowdy Stef.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrMy favorite Herman's Hermits song
  • Asef from Silkeborg, DenmarkGraham Gouldman from the 70´ies Band "10CC" were already trying to become a succesfull musician in the 60´ies joining bands like "The Mockingbirds" But failed to succeed. Instead He became a famous songwriter. He wrote "For your love" to "The Yardbirds" also "Busstop" to "The Hollies" and this song "No milk today" for Herman´s Hermits.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThe "We're Bigger than Jesus" deal happened in 1966, not 1968. Someone should change the songfact on that.
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