On this day in music history: December 2, 1967 – “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.”, the fourth album by The Monkees hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 5 weeks. Produced by Chip Douglas, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios A, B, & C in Hollywood, CA from June – October 1967. After the chart topping success of their third album “Headquarters”, the first in which The Monkees have creative input and play their own instruments, they return to the studio in the Summer of 1967 with producer Chip Douglas to work on the follow up. Unlike the band’s first three albums which prominently featured Micky Dolenz on lead vocals, guitarist Mike Nesmith takes a more proactive role in the production of “Pisces”, writing two songs and singing lead on five tracks. The album takes its title from the members astrological signs. Nesmith and Davy Jones, both being Capricorn places Jones’ surname at the end of the title to avoid confusion. “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: November 6, 1967 – “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.”, the fourth album by The Monkees is released. Produced by Chip Douglas, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios A, B & C in Hollywood, CA and American Recording Company in Studio City, CA from April – October 1967. Following the success of their previous album “Headquarters”, the band continue to have more input and creative control over their music, with them playing their own instruments (though more studio musicians are utilized this time around). It features songs mostly from outside songwriters including Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and new up and coming singer and songwriters Harry Nilsson and Michael Martin Murphey. “Pisces” is also significant as guitarist Mike Nesmith takes more of an assertive role creatively and vocally in the band, singing lead on five tracks. Previously, Micky Dolenz had been the prominent lead vocalist, but is only featured on three tracks. The album is also one of the first major releases to use the Moog synthesizer (Dolenz having purchased on the first twenty Moogs ever made), and is used on the tracks “Star Collector”, “Daily Nightly”, and “Love Is Only Sleeping”. Like their previous release “Headquarters”, the album does not have any new singles released from it in the US, though it includes the previously issued double A-sided single “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (#3 Pop) and “Words” (#11 Pop) released in the Summer of 1967. The bands’ then current hit “Daydream Believer” is issued as a stand alone single and is not included on an album until the release of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” in April 1968. The “Pisces” album is regarded by many as the best album of The Monkees career. Originally released on CD in 1988, it is remastered and reissued in 1995 with seven additional bonus tracks. The original mono LP, out of print since 1968 is reissued by Sundazed Music in 1996 (pressed on blue vinyl). To commemorate its fortieth anniversary in 2007, Rhino Records reissues “Pisces” as a two CD deluxe edition. The first disc features the original thirteen song album, with seven additional bonus tracks including alternate stereo mixes and TV track mixes. Disc two includes the mono mix of the album with seven additional bonus tracks, including alternate mono mixes. The set comes with a twenty four page booklet annotated by Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval, co-produced by Sandoval and Bill Inglot. The album is also reissued on vinyl again in 2016 (stereo mix), as part of “The Monkees – Complete Albums Collection”, pressed on yellow vinyl. “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.