The Monkees performed at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey on Sunday, May 29:
And here's "Take a Giant Step" and "Heart and Soul" from last night's soundcheck:
This was a fun poll, asking Monkees fans to choose their two favorite songs from Pool It! It's been running for a while now, but every time I checked the results and prepared to close it, inevitably there was a tie between a couple of songs.
Pool It!, the oft-maligned 1987 Monkees reunion album, was never the commercial juggernaut that was hoped, and its success was ultimately complicated by the breakdown of relations between The Monkees and MTV in early 1987, along with tensions surrounding the recording sessions (scroll down for the Pool It! entry). Monkees fans at the time were divided in their reactions to the new LP and its overall production. Some applauded the group for going in a new, current direction while others wondered what had happened to the classic Monkees sounds of yesteryear.
Despite being blacklisted by MTV, the creative music video for the first single, "Heart and Soul," was a hit on cable television music shows outside of MTV, and the song was well-received on the 1987 summer tour, where it opened the encore performance each night. But times were different, and MTV was a powerful entity that influenced radio programmers and more. As a result, "Heart and Soul," despite being a well-produced pop track, failed to connect with the general record buying public. In this poll, however, it easily takes the top spot in the minds of Monkees fans.
"Gettin' In," written by Peter Tork, was also played nightly on the 1987 tour. Peter hasn't talked much about the song over the years, but he did revive it during his 'In This Generation' solo tour in 2013. "Gettin' In" consistently held the second spot during the voting.
Rounding out the top five were "Midnight," an album track sung by Micky; the second single, "Every Step of the Way;" and "Don't Bring Me Down," another album track that received airplay on cable music show Nick Rocks in late 1987 after a video was produced highlighting a contest winner's day with The Monkees.
Take a moment to vote in the new Live Almanac poll (in the blog sidebar to the right), "What is your favorite Monkees album cover?"
Thanks to Jennifer who submitted this letter that she received from Rhino Records in late 1987. Jennifer can't recall exactly why she wrote to Rhino, but it looks like it had something to do with the lack of promotion and airplay the Pool It! album received that year. Remember, The Monkees and MTV had a falling out in early 1987 which resulted in the cable music network refusing to air the videos for the singles "Heart and Soul" and "Every Step of the Way." The lack of an MTV push most likely impacted radio airplay of the new songs. (You can read more about the Monkees/MTV feud here.)
To add more to a previous blog post, here's another story about the falling out between The Monkees and MTV in 1987. This piece comes from Musicade Catalog and was published sometime in late 1987/early 1988.
Here's Micky and Davy in their '60s throwback clothes on the set of the "Heart and Soul" music video in 1987...
Despite a friendship with MTV in 1986 that helped make The Monkees one of the biggest music stories of that year, things went sour in 1987 after an apparent misunderstanding between the band and the cable music network. Despite heavy airplay of the music video for The Monkees' 1986 comeback single, "That Was Then, This Is Now," MTV refused to play the video for "Heart and Soul," the lead single from the 1987 album, Pool It! Clearly MTV's lack of support for the video (at a time when MTV still screened music videos and played a larger role in making 'hits') had a negative impact on the single, a strong pop song that most likely could have been a bigger hit that summer. TV Guide reported the dispute, and the clipping above appeared in a late 1987 edition of the magazine.
The story below, which was originally published in Monkee Business Fanzine issue #43 in December 1987, goes into further detail.
The original VHS tape was recently released for the first time on DVD as part of the Pool It! deluxe edition by Friday Music.
"Heart and Soul," the first single from the 1987 Pool It! album, was released 25 years ago this month. Wow!
The b-side was Peter's "MGBGT," recorded live on tour in 1986.