Category: the monkees

On this day in music history: December 2, 1967 – “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks. Written by John Stewart, it is the third (and final) chart topping single for The Monkees. Singer and songwriter John Stewart (“Gold”) writes “Daydream Believer” while he is still a member of the folk music band The Kingston Trio. The song is brought to The Monkees by their producer Chip Douglas, after running into Stewart at party. Douglas assigns the song to Davy Jones to sing, though Jones isn’t fond of the song and is unsure that it will be a hit. “Daydream Believer” had been previously offered to We Five and Spanky & Our Gang, with both bands turning it down. The Monkees version is recorded at RCA Victor Recording Studios on June 14, 1967, with overdubs being recorded on August 9, 1967. Jazz trumpeter and bandleader Shorty Rogers writes the horn and string arrangements heard on the final track. Any doubt about its hit potential is quickly erased as soon as it’s released on November 7, 1967. Entering the Hot 100 at #33 on November 18, 1967, it leaps to the top of the chart only three weeks later. Though it is recorded during sessions for the bands’ fourth album “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.” it is released initially as a stand alone single. It is included on their next full length release “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” in May of 1968. “Daydream Believer” becomes a hit again in early 1980 when country/pop singer Anne Murray’s version tops the Adult Contemporary chart, as well as peaking at #3 on the country chart and #12 on the Hot 100. The Monkees’ version of “Daydream Believer” is re-released as a single in October of 1986, following the reunion of Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. Also included on the greatest hits compilation “Then & Now… The Best of The Monkees”, the song is issued as the follow up to the newly recorded track “That Was Then, This Is Now” (#20 Pop). “Daydream” is remixed by producer Michael Lloyd, featuring a new percussion track added to the mix. “Daydream Believer” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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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.

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On this day in music history: December 1, 1968 – “Head”, the sixth album by The Monkees is released. Produced by The Monkees and Gerry Goffin, it is recorded at California Recorders, Wally Heider Studios, and Original Sound Studios in Hollywood, CA from February – August 1968. Issued as the soundtrack to the band’s feature length film of the same name, it is compiled by actor Jack Nicholson who also co-wrote the script. Influenced by the work of musician Frank Zappa (who also appears in the film), the album features songs intercut with dialogue from the film (in a fashion similar to The Mothers Of Invention’s “We’re Only In It For The Money”). The albums’ highly experimental and psychedelic sound alienates the bands’ teen fan base and is resoundingly ignored by radio. The albums’ unique packaging using aluminized polyethylene film (designed to look like a mirror) creates major manufacturing problems for RCA Records, causing their printing presses to break down. In spite of its poor commercial performance during its initial release, in time both the film and album attains cult classic status among Monkees fans. It spins off one lone single with the Gerry Goffin and Carole King penned “Porpoise Song” (#62 Pop), and its B-side “As We Go Along” (#106 Pop), written by King and Toni Stern. In 2010, Rhino Records’ Rhino Handmade label issues a three CD boxed edition of the album both the mono and stereo mixes of the album, as well as previously unreleased alternate takes, an open ended interview (originally released to radio stations), and a bonus 7" single with instrumental versions of “Porpoise Song” and “As We Go Along”. The album is also reissued in 2011, with the album cover art replicating the original 1968 reflective “mirror” cover. It is reissued again, pressed on clear vinyl as part of “The Monkees Classic Album Collection” for Record Store Day in April of 2016.

The album is reissued on vinyl again in July of 2019, as part of Rhino’s “Summer Of ‘69” series, pressed on silver vinyl.

“Head” peaks at number forty five on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: November 12, 1966 – “The Monkees”, the debut album by The Monkees hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 13 weeks. Produced by Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Jack Keller and Michael Nesmith, it is recorded at RCA Victor Studios A, B, & C and Western Recorders in Hollywood, CA from July – August 1966. Featuring songs written by Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, David Gates, Gerry Goffin, Carole King and Mike Nesmith, the album is a huge success, driven by both the hit single “Last Train To Clarksville (#1 Pop) and their highly rated TV series. It is also a huge hit overseas also topping the UK album chart as the series goes on the air there. Early pressings of the LP erroneously credit the track “Papa Gene’s Blues” as “Papa Jean’s Blues”. The album has seen reissues on CD and vinyl in 1994, 1996, 2006 and 2016. On November 11, 2014, Rhino Records releases a two CD Deluxe Edition as well as a limited edition three CD Super Deluxe Edition of the album. Both sets feature the original mono and stereo mixes, as well as outtakes, alternate versions, demos and other rarities. The reissue sets are annotated by Andrew Sandoval. “The Monkees” is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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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.

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On this day in music history: November 5, 1966 – “Last Train To Clarksville” by The Monkees hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written and produced by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, is the first number one single for “The Pre-Fab Four”. Working as staff writers for music supervisor Don Kirshner’s publishing company, Boyce and Hart use The Beatles then recent hit “Paperback Writer” as the initial inspiration for “Clarksville”. Bobby Hart mistakenly believes that The Beatles were singing about a “last train”. When he realizes that isn’t correct, he still likes the imagery enough to begin writing a song around it. The track is recorded at RCA Victor Studio B in Hollywood, CA on July 25, 1966. With The Monkees themselves spending as much as twelve hours a day filming the series, the music tracks are cut with studio musicians (though band members Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork are both accomplished musicians) in order to make the recordings as quickly as possible. The group would then be brought into the studio to record their vocals. The single is released on August 16, 1966, one month before their top rated TV series debuts on NBC on September 12, 1966. Entering the Hot 100 at #67 on September 10, 1966, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. “Clarksville” is the first of three chart topping singles, and six top ten singles for The Monkees. “Last Train To Clarksville” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 24, 1967 – “Headquarters”, the third studio album by The Monkees hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 1 week. Produced by Chip Douglas (aka Douglas Farthing Hatlelid), it is recorded at RCA Music Center of the World Studios, Studio C in Hollywood, CA from February 23 – March 22, 1967. By early 1967, The Monkees are at loggerheads with Screen Gems, the company responsible for producing their hit television series. Though highly successful, the band are unhappy (especially Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork who are both accomplished musicians) at having virtually no creative input or being allowed to play on their records. They lobby for and win the right to play on their own records, which leads to the ouster of series music supervisor Don Kirshner. The Monkees lock themselves in the recording studio for four weeks, while working on their third album. Writing most of the material included on the LP, many of the songs are worked out while jamming together live in the studio. No singles are released in the US, but spins off a major hit single in the UK with the Micky Dolenz penned “Randy Scouse Git” (re-titled “Alternate Title”) (#2 UK). The album is another major success for the band, quickly rising to number one, but is bumped from the top spot by The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” the following week, spending an additional eleven weeks in the runner up position. In time, it is regarded as one of The Monkees best albums. To commemorate the album’s fortieth anniversary in 2007, a two CD expanded edition produced by Andrew Sandoval and Bill Inglot is released. The first disc contains the original fourteen track stereo album, with eleven additional bonus tracks, including stereo remixes, and previously unreleased alternate versions. The second disc features the long out of print mono version of the album, with another eleven bonus tracks of rare mono single mixes, demos and previously unreleased material. Reissued on vinyl numerous times over the years, “Headquarters” is most recently reissued as part of “The Monkees – Complete Album Collection” in 2016, pressed on white vinyl. A double vinyl set titled “Headquarters Stack O’Tracks”, featuring instrumental versions and alternate mixes pressed on clear vinyl, is released by Friday Music in 2017. “Headquarters” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 22, 1968 – “The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees”, the fifth album by The Monkees is released. Produced by The Monkees and Chip Douglas, it is recorded at RCA Studios, Gold Star Studios and United/Western Studios in Hollywood, CA from Late 1967 – Early 1968. The bands fifth release sees them beginning to go their separate ways with each producing their own tracks with studio musicians, rather than working as a unit as on the previous two albums. The album is also the last from The Monkees to be issued with separate mono and stereo mixes. The mono version contains unique mixes and is pressed in such small quantities, that it becomes a coveted collector’s item. It spins off two singles including “Daydream Believer” (#1 Pop) and “Valleri” (#3 Pop). In February of 2010, Rhino Handmade releases a three CD box set of the album featuring the original mono and stereo mixes, demos, outtakes and a booklet annotated by Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval. The album is also remastered and reissued on grey colored vinyl, as part of “The Monkees Complete Album Collection”, for Record Store Day on April 16, 2016. “The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 22, 1968 – “The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees”, the fifth album by The Monkees is released. Produced by The Monkees and Chip Douglas, it is recorded at RCA Studios, Gold Star Studios and United/Western Studios in Hollywood, CA from Late 1967 – Early 1968. The bands fifth release sees them beginning to go their separate ways with each producing their own tracks with studio musicians, rather than working as a unit as on the previous two albums. The album is also the last from The Monkees to be issued with separate mono and stereo mixes. The mono version contains unique mixes and is pressed in such small quantities, that it becomes a coveted collector’s item. It spins off two singles including “Daydream Believer” (#1 Pop) and “Valleri” (#3 Pop). In February of 2010, Rhino Handmade releases a three CD box set of the album featuring the original mono and stereo mixes, demos, outtakes and a booklet annotated by Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval. The album is also remastered and reissued on grey colored vinyl, as part of “The Monkees Complete Album Collection”, for Record Store Day on April 16, 2016. “The Birds, The Bees, & The Monkees” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: March 25, 1968 – The fifty-eighth and final episode of “The Monkees” TV series airs on the NBC television network. Titled “Mijacogeo – The Frodis Caper”, the episode is co-written and directed by Micky Dolenz. The plot involves the band matching wits against the insane wizard Glick (played by comedic actor Rip Taylor), who is out to control the minds of television viewers throughout the world. The episode also features a cameo by folk musician Tim Buckley (father of singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley) at the end of the program. The show features the song “Zor And Zam” from the “Birds The Bees & The Monkees” album. Growing dissent between The Monkees and Screen Gems over creative control, combined with declining ratings lead NBC to pull the plug on the series in spite of it having won two Emmy Awards the previous year including Outstanding Comedy Series.

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