Another Graham Gouldman composition; but this one was most definitely a hit – for the almost anodyne Herman’s Hermits. In the US, where the Hermits had huge success, it was only released as a B-side but in the UK it reached no. 7 in 1966.
No Milk Today is lyrically very curious as a pop song, what with its emphasis on the down side of life. It has a very British feel to it, though, with its evocation of the daily morning delivery and terraced housing, “just two up, two down.” Nowadays the line, “the company was gay,” is likely to be read differently from back then!
For some reason I really like the bells in the “but all that’s left” sections of this.
Herman’s Hermits: No Milk Today
It seems the Hermits also recorded a version of Tallyman (see last week’s post) but it was never released, being thought not commercial enough by the group’s producer Mickie Most. This is a version they recorded in a BBC session. It’s introduced by the voice of Radio 2′s Sounds of the Sixties, Brian Matthew.
I’ve just been listening to an iPlayer rerun of last Saturday’s Sounds of the Sixties where they gave a run out to Joe South’s Games People Play which I featured on Friday on my Mind a couple of weeks ago. Brian Matthew’s intro to it said Joe sang all the vocal parts and played all the instruments himself – as well as writing it.
I think this lyric is fantastic, precisely because of the rhymes and scansion.
The rhyme scheme for the first verse is AABB*CC*DEFF* (where the * is for a part rhyme â which is more than common in popular music.) Moreover the D and E lines have an internal rhyme of lunch with bunch. Indeed, if you consider the line break is at âlunchâ â which verses 2 and 3 suggest is more correct â the rhyme scheme becomes a near perfect AABB*CCDDEE.
The second and third verses both have an absolute AABBCCDDEE rhyming.
As to the scanning; itâs brilliant. In fact the line, âUndoubtedly I must have read the evening paper then,â is a wonderful iambic heptameter.
âThereâs not, I think, a single episode of Dallas that I didnât see,â is superb; the best line in any Abba song bar none. If you allow the âsee-eeâ at the end as an iamb itâs also a near perfect iambic nonameter.
The only thing I dislike about the lyric is itâs written in USian. Gotten is now archaic in British English â except for the phrase âill-gotten gainsâ â and we donât say âto goâ but âto take away.â But then âto goâ provides the rhyme.
Plus thereâs an element of SF to it all, with the looking back to something that has changed, the implication of a life transformed.
Iâve always had a soft spot for the Blancmange version.
I donât believe Iâd ever heard this song by Aphroditeâs Child until it was on Radio 2âs Sounds Of The Sixties recently. Itâs clearly influenced by the mid 1960s British group Nirvana whom I featured some time ago – see my category. (Or perhaps itâs a Greek thing. Nirvanaâs composer was Greek as were at least two members of Aphroditeâs Child.) Thereâs also a touch of Procol Harumâs A Whiter Shade Of Pale in the bass line and the organ.
Itâs Five OâClock:
The Aphroditeâs Child song I most remember, though, is Rain And Tears. Thereâs a murky sound quality film/video of them playing it on You Tube but I also came across this crisper version. A touch of Pachelbelâs Canon in the intro methinks. It gets everywhere.
As I recall (and Wikipedia confirms) Aphroditeâs Child spawned Demis Roussos and Vangelis but Iâll not hold that against them.
I happened to be listening to Radio 2 when Jonathan Rossâs Saturday programme on that station came on yesterday. (I know, but Sounds Of The Sixties had just finished.)
Before Ross spoke there was broadcast the official announcement of the adjudication on the Ross/Brand Sachsgate affair â which said the BBC had been fined Â£150,000 over the to-do and gave an email address to see the whole judgement.
Rossâs first words were to the effect, âWhy do you never have a pen when you need it? Did anyone get that email address? I canât read enough of that.â
He then proceeded to play The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum by The Fun Boy Three.
Has Ross learned nothing? The clear implication is that the ruling was given by lunatics. It hardly shows contrition, nor any amendment of ways.
This is like Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor making their rude gestures. It compounds the original offence.
There are two defences. One is that Ross did not intend to imply any such thing and that the song he played was a mere coincidence. Except he commented to that effect after it had finished; thereby only increasing the suspicion he knew exactly what he was doing. The other defence is that he himself was the target of the lunatics reference and then, the implication is that the BBC is mad to allow him to remain on air. (Which it obviously is, in either case.)