In late November, voting commenced for "The 2016 Coolest Song of the Year 10th Annual Listener's Poll" sponsored by "Little Steven's Underground Garage," a syndicated radio show on SiriusXM. (Steven Van Zandt is a musician, producer, songwriter, and longtime member of The E Street Band who placed "Hipster," a cut from The Monkees' latest album, Good Times!, into steady rotation on Underground Garage.) It was announced yesterday that the song has taken top honors in the poll!
In another impressive feat, Monkees fans played a role in setting a record for the annual poll:
"You Just May Be the One" was written by Michael Nesmith in the pre-Monkees days. Chip Douglas, who produced Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., remembered the song from when Nez would perform it with Bill Chadwick at The Troubadour in Hollywood. "That's when I kinda first got to know him," Douglas told Andrew Sandoval. "I saw him with Chadwick. In particular, they were doing 'You Just May Be the One.' That is the one song that I remember I was real impressed with because I remember those harmonies: Bill Chadwick hitting that high A note there [on the bridge]. So when the song came up for suggestion to put on the album, I said, 'Yeah, that's great. Can we do that same harmony on there and everything like you guys used to do it?' He said, 'Sure, Micky will do it.'" (Bill Chadwick later worked with The Monkees behind the scenes and wrote several songs for the group, including "Zor and Zam.")
Now take a moment to vote in the Live Almanac's latest poll (in the blog sidebar to the right): "What are your two favorite Monkees B-sides?"
Micky's early 1970s singles, originally released on the MGM label, were recently collected for the first time ever courtesy of Iain Lee and Glenn Gretlund of 7a Records, both longtime Monkees fans and co-producers of Micky Dolenz - The MGM Singles Collection.
Released in the summer of 2015, the set (made available as a gatefold vinyl and digital download) featured the A and B-sides of Micky's tenure at MGM, including his collaboration with Michael Lloyd, dubbed Starship, that yielded the 1972 single "Johnny B. Goode"/"It's Amazing to Me." Micky placed his stamp of approval on the project, and conducted several interviews in support of it. "It's really a great package," Micky told Examiner.com. "Over the years, I've had versions of those songs, one on a tape here, on a disc here, on a demo here," he said. "It's nice to have them all in one package."
Despite the lack of chart success for Micky's output during this era, the tracks are remarkably diverse and have stood the test of time. In the most recent Live Almanac poll, fans were asked to choose their two favorite songs from the collection, and "Oh Someone" took top honors. Written by Monkees associate (and Davy's stand-in on the TV show) David Price, the song is notable as the first collaboration between Micky and Peter since Peter left The Monkees in late 1968. Coincidentally, "Oh Someone" came together after a chance encounter Price had with Peter in 1971. The superb liner notes of the MGM Singles Collection, written by Mark Kleiner Biggar, elaborated on the meeting. "I was walking down the street in Hollywood when I looked up and there was Peter," said Price. "We hadn't seen each other in a while, and he said, 'I'm recording up at Micky's; why don't you come up?'" The song took a few hours to record, and featured Price on rhythm guitar, Peter on bass, and Micky behind the drums. A scorching lead guitar part by Price's friend B.J. Jones finished off the proceedings.
"Daybreak" was composed by Micky's close friend, Harry Nilsson. Nilsson, of course, had contributed "Cuddly Toy" and "Daddy's Song" to The Monkees years before, and both he and Micky were members of the infamous late night Los Angeles party group The Hollywood Vampires in the early 1970s. "Daybreak" featured former Monkees producer Chip Douglas on bass, who also compiled a video for the song that ultimately was not circulated at the time of the single's release in 1973. It surfaced on YouTube this past summer via Iain Lee as a promotional vehicle for the MGM Singles Collection.
You can order Micky Dolenz - The MGM Singles Collection on a couple of different formats. The gatefold vinyl LP is available on Amazon UK and via Amazon in the United States. The vinyl is also for sale (at a great price) through online retailer Ernie B's. You can also download it digitally on both Amazon and iTunes, with bonus tracks. And even better news, the MGM Singles Collection is slated for release on compact disc in the future!
The latest project from 7a Records showcases Bobby Hart's first solo album, which is also now available.
Version One, recorded in July 1966 and produced by Nez, showcased ace session players like James Burton, Glen Campbell, and Hal Blaine. Peter is also featured in the mix, playing guitar. This version was only heard on the TV show during the first season, and didn't see an official release until 1990's Missing Links, Volume 2.
The second version, from the group's third LP, Headquarters, features The Monkees on the backing track and was produced by Chip Douglas.
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?"
Take a moment to vote in the Live Almanac's new poll in the blog sidebar to the right -
"What is your favorite Michael Nesmith solo album?"
Thanks for the great response to the Live Almanac's poll asking whether The Monkees will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 77% of respondents believe the group will eventually make their way into the institution.
You can read more about The Monkees and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame here, and don't forget to vote in the new poll in the blog sidebar to the right: "What are your three favorite songs from the 1969 Monkees album Instant Replay?"
The voting is complete and the results are in: Monkees fans have chosen the first season of The Monkees as their favorite. For most of the time the poll was open, the second season was consistently ahead, but in the last week or so, it was eventually overtaken by the first season.
Take time to vote in the Live Almanac's new poll (in the blog sidebar to the right): "Will The Monkees ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?"
The votes are in! For the last month, Monkees fans have been asked to choose as their favorite one of the three albums recorded by the group at the tail end of their original formation. With 51.61% of the vote, The Monkees Present came out on top. Last summer, the album was treated to a deluxe retrospective by Rhino Handmade, being expanded to a 3-CD boxed set featuring the original album re-mastered, plus two extra discs packed with unreleased mixes, never-before-heard backing tracks, and previously unreleased songs.
Take time to vote in the new poll (to the right in the blog sidebar) which asks what season of The Monkees television series is your favorite.
For almost a month, Monkees fans were polled by the Live Almanac asking what they wanted to see as the next Monkees project after the completion of the 2014 spring tour. With the latest round of concerts over, and nearly 1,000 votes cast, fans overwhelmingly desire a live concert CD/DVD release (30.49%) and a new studio album (27.8%).
When it comes to the question of new music by The Monkees, each member of the group has expressed varying degrees of enthusiasm about such an endeavor. Though everyone seems open to the idea, no definite plans have been made. "Never say never; there’s always a chance," Peter said optimistically during a recent interview. "We have no concrete plans right now but there's no telling." "We talk about it regularly," added Michael. "When we are together we talk at length sometimes about Monkees projects we could do, including making (new) music." Micky was forthright with Rolling Stone in April 2013. "I'd love to make a new one," he said.
A live album would seemingly be an easier project to tackle. Fans have expressed their wishes for such a release on internet discussion forums (and in numerous emails to the Live Almanac). The tapes are there for a live CD to become a reality. At the 2014 Monkees convention this past winter, Andrew Sandoval confirmed that three shows on the 2012 Monkees tour were professionally recorded. He told convention goers that to date he has been unable to strike a deal for a live album release for various reasons. Tapes exist from the 2011 tour with Davy as well. "I have all of the 2011 tour recordings. That would be a great CD project someday," Sandoval told Examiner.com.
Monkees fans are frequently clamoring for a live DVD, too, but no concerts have been professionally filmed since the group returned to the stage in 2011. Micky, in an interview after the 2011 tour, wasn't sold on the idea of filming their show. "You don't record musicals either. And the reason is that you want people to come and see the show, but also, especially theatrical productions, they never look good when you try to film or tape them. You can't just capture the three-dimensionality of a space. It's like shooting the front of a house." Granted, with the large video wall stationed behind The Monkees during their live performance, it very well could prove to be a nightmare to film. But the group might consider other options for a concert DVD if taping the current live show proves logistically impossible. A soundstage would work (think Fleetwood Mac's The Dance in 1997). A concert filmed on a soundstage also opens up further possibilities (a VH1 Storytellers-like performance, perhaps?). And the astounding video wall footage produced by Andrew Sandoval, Rachel Lichtman, and Jonathan Nesmith over the last several tours could be synced to the live audio and offered as a bonus feature on a concert DVD.
Be sure to take a moment and vote in the new poll located on the right in the blog sidebar: "What is your favorite late period Monkees album?"
Since the Monkees convention this past March, over 3,000 fans voted in the Live Almanac's poll asking which three songs would be worthy of inclusion on the setlist for the 2014 Monkees Tour. The song selections in the poll featured cuts that haven't been performed by Micky, Michael, and Peter since The Monkees returned to the road in late 2012.
The final results show a close race at the top, with "Love Is Only Sleeping" barely edging out "Sometime in the Morning." Peter has already confirmed that "Shades of Gray" will be included in the set when The Monkees take the stage tomorrow evening in New Hampshire.
Be sure to check back with the Live Almanac to view the official setlist from opening night of the 2014 Monkees Tour! And don't forget to vote in the new Live Almanac poll...located on the blog sidebar to the right. Results will be shared after the conclusion of the tour.
This poll was conducted from April 20 - May 4, 2013. Thanks for voting!
The 'Other' responses included the following: Background music from the TV show; Collected demos of The Monkees and their songwriters; Official Blu-ray or DVD of 1996 Disney special; Album that features all songs that they played their instruments on; 2011 live album; Music video collection.
This poll was conducted from April 10 - April 20, 2013. Please take a moment to vote in the new poll that is posted now.
The new poll here on the blog, asking about set list selections if The Monkees were to tour again, is getting a great response. However, I just realized that I accidentally omitted a song from the poll: "The Door Into Summer." A longtime personal favorite of mine, I had intended the song to be a choice (for some reason or another, I was experiencing a lot of technical difficulties adding the poll to the blog that day and had to redo it several times). I know many other Monkees fans consider "The Door Into Summer" a favorite, and well, I'd certainly endorse it as part of any potential set list. Here's an alternate mono mix for the song from the Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. deluxe edition:
There are so many other songs that could be included in this poll. It just occurred to me that I would love to hear something like "P.O. Box 9847" or "Auntie's Municipal Court" be performed live, although ultimately I think those may be long shots. But hey, "All of Your Toys" got the live treatment in 2011, right? It's a testament to the number of great songs in the Monkees catalog that makes it hard to whittle it down to a few choices. Perhaps another poll will test a second round of songs that fans would like to see in a potential future Monkees set list.
On another note, if the group were to tour again and feature an unplugged set in the show, I would most definitely select "Nine Times Blue" and hope for it to be performed in the style of the '69 Johnny Cash Show appearance by Mike, Micky and Davy.