Herman's Hermits were always more more of a live act than a studio group and they spent more time on the road than any other major band in the Sixties. During 1965-66 they criss-crossed America endlessly - often taking out less popular British acts as supports, the likes of the Searchers, the Animals, the Hollies, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders and the Who. They also did a package tour with the Rolling Stones which caused almost unprecidented teenyboppers frenzy - and it was on a Herman's Hermits tour in March 66 that the Who's drummer Keith Moon lost his front teeth when he drove a Lincoln Continental into the swimming pool of the Holiday Inn Hotel at Flint, Michigan. The hotel damages were paid for the donation of $1,000,- by every member of the tour party.
The Hermits had already made it to Australia - in 1965 when they did a nationwide tour with Tom Jones. Though the Aussies reaction was nothing like that of the Americans, the Hermits soon became steady hitmakers in Australia as well.
Japan also readily took to the pleasant pop of Herman's Hermits. They were the third Western rock band to tour Japan, after the Ventures and the Animals. The Animals were not exactly the politest band in the world and their bad behaviour had almost shut the door to Western Rock 'n' Roll. The Hermits found initial shows empty because concerned parents didn't want their kids to be influenced by "the decadent western rock bands". It took some ultra polite breakfast TV-shows to convince the Japanese people that not all rock bands were as crude as the Animals. Herman's Hermits handled themselves very well and were good ambassadors for Rock 'n' Roll, which made it easier for other groups to visit Japan after that. The group also toured Europe in 1966. They recruited John Bonham (later of Led Zeppelin) to play organ on a tour of Germany, and the group also visited France, Belgium, Holland, Scandanavia and other European countries in 1966-67. In Britain they did a two-week tour with the Mindbenders, Dave Berry, Pinkerton Assorted Colours, David & Jonathan and Friday Brown in April 66. But in fact the fans in their home country had more or less been left hungry after the groups' enormous success in America - a reason why their last few singles had only done moderately well in the British charts.
In June 66 it was time for a new single: "This Door Swings Both Ways" which was written by Don Thomas and Estelle Levitt and released simultaneously in Britain and America. Again a song that reflected teenage life, but the use of a piano gave the record a sound slightly different from previous efforts. The B-side "For Love", was a pubrock number written by Hopwood, Leckenby and manager Lisberg. The single just didn't seem to be commercial enough, and only reached no. 12 in the US charts. In Britain it's highest position was no. 18 and it stayed in the charts for only 7 weeks.
GRAHAM GOULDMAN: A GOLDMINE OF SONGS
As late as 1966, Graham Gouldman was still working at "gents outfitters Bargain Unlimited" near Salford docks in Manchester. His magnificent songs had been big hits for the Yardbirds, the Hollies and Herman's Hermits, whereas his own released with the Whirlwinds and the Mockingbirds had all been flops. So being the hottest young songwriter in Britain was an achievement that Gouldman had difficulty in relating to. Many of his songs had been written in the backroom of the shop during lunch hours, and his father Hymie, had often helped him with the lyrics. That was the case with "Bus Stop". The idea for that song came one day when Graham was sitting on the bus going home from work. He told his father about the idea and another day when he came home his dad had written the words! Graham took the lyrics up to his bedroom and then wrote the song, except for the middle eight which he finished off on the bus going to work. "Bus Stop" was originally written for Herman's Hermits and they were first to record it, but unfortunately Mickie Most didn't want to release it as a single. Unhappy with the decision, Gouldman played the song for the Hollies' Graham Nash in the toilet of BBC's Manchester Studios - using a twelve-string guitar which reverberated off the walls. It was then that the Hollies decided to record the song - not knowing that the Hermits had already cut it - and the Hollies version became a big hit everywhere.
With "No Milk Today" it was the other way round. Gouldman had written it for the Hollies, but it was the Hermits, who eventually recorded it and made it a big hit. Some people thought that "No Milk Today" was a drug song - the pusher doesn't deliver today - when in fact Gouldman had gotten the idea for that song when he and his father visited a friend and found a note outside the door saying "No milk today". His father remarked that there could be a number of reasons why they had put that note out. That started Graham thinking and he came up with a song about a guy and a girl splitting up - not a drug song.
The Hermits' version of "No Milk Today" was cleverly arranged and produced - it sounded like a kind of Hebrew folk song rocked up a bit. "No Milk Today" was released in Britain in Sept. 66 and reached no. 7 before it dropped from the charts after 11 weeks. In Australia the single reached no. 2 and in a number of European countries like Holland, Sweden and Norway it went to no. 1 - and in those countries "No Milk Today" is the Herman's Hermits song people remember best of all.
The B-side of "No Milk Today" was a great Chuck Berry inspired Rock 'n' Roll song titled "My Reservation's Been Confirmed" written by Leckenby and Hopwood in collaboration with Charles Silverman. That song seemed to illustrate, more than anything else they had recorded up to that point, their true capabilities as a Rock 'n' Roll band. According to Leckenby the song originally had a minute-long guitar solo in the beginning of it, but director of engineering, Val Valentin, just took a pair of scissors and snipped it off - resulting in the shorter version one finds on most releases. However, on a Mexican Capitol EP from 1973 (EPEM-10145) one can hear a small part of Leckenby's great guitar intro.
Because of the song's qualities as a rocker "My Reservation's Been Confirmed" was later picked up by the Nashville Teens and included in their live repertoire. This according to Rob Pusey who handled their drums for some time.