Congratulations to Renny Simno on getting married last evening, and take a look at the groom's cake!
This past Thursday night in Seattle, Washington, Michael Nesmith, along with pedal steel guitarist Pete Finney and special guest Ben Gibbard, performed the first in a series of shows highlighting his classic 1972 album, And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'. Here is the set list, thanks to Andrew Sandoval:
Two Different Roads
Tomorrow & Me
Some of Shelly's Blues
Keys To The Car
The Upside Of Goodbye
With Special Guest Ben Gibbard
Papa Gene's Blues
The Crippled Lion
Nine Times Blue
This past November, the 50th anniversary of Head was commemorated at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and featured special guests Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith. Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval hosted a Q&A session with Micky and Michael after the sold-out screening, which also included a slideshow created by Andrew that showcased photographs taken by legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz. The slideshow revealed many never before seen photos from The Monkees' appearance at Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah while filming the "Circle Sky" sequence for the movie Head, screenshots which can be seen below. (The slideshow can be viewed in its entirety at Michael Nesmith's Videoranch Facebook page.)
Micky's early 1970s singles, originally released on the MGM label, were collected for the first time ever in 2015 courtesy of Iain Lee and Glenn Gretlund of 7a Records, both longtime Monkees fans and co-producers of Micky Dolenz - The MGM Singles Collection.
The set, originally available as a gatefold vinyl and digital download but later released on compact disc, featured the A and B-sides of Micky's tenure at MGM as well as his collaboration with Michael Lloyd (Starship) that yielded the 1972 single "Johnny B. Goode"/"It's Amazing to Me." The CD version contained a plethora of bonus tracks, including Micky's late '70s/early '80s singles and collaborations with Christian Nesmith and Circe Link.
Micky placed his stamp of approval on the project, and conducted several interviews in support of it. "It's really a great package," Dolenz 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."
The MGM Singles Collection is a stellar release that is highly recommended by the Live Almanac. Bolstered by the photography of Henry Diltz and superb liner notes (by Mark Kleiner Biggar) and mastering, the set is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK and is also downloadable on iTunes. You can take a look inside the compact disc package below, thanks to Ben Belmares, and read more about Micky's career at MGM in the archives of the Live Almanac.
Liner Notes by Mark Kleiner Biggar
Updated Liner Notes for Compact Disc Release by 7a co-owner Glenn Gretlund
The Compact Disc
Thanks a lot to Ben Belmares for sharing his scans of The Monkees Greatest Hits, the 1976 compilation that Rhino Records has just reissued on orange vinyl as part of their "Start Your Ear Off Right" promotional campaign. Thanks again, Ben!
By 1976, Arista Records had inherited The Monkees' music catalog from Colgems (later Bell Records) and proceeded to release The Monkees Greatest Hits. This Arista collection was in reality a repackaging of Re-Focus, an earlier Monkees compilation produced by Bell in 1972. Arista's Greatest Hits featured the same track listing as Re-Focus but with brand new cover art, and could be purchased as an LP, cassette, or 8-track.
As Monkees albums were hard to come by in the mid-1970s, and possibly due to other factors like the return of the group's TV show in syndication and the activities of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart, Greatest Hits sold well and peaked at #58 on the Billboard chart in 1976. It was later certified Gold in 1986 and Platinum in 1991, and remained in print through the 1980s when it first appeared on compact disc.
And now in 2019, The Monkees Greatest Hits is being treated to yet another release, this time by Rhino Records as part of their annual "Start Your Ear Off Right" campaign. Available exclusively at participating music shops beginning on January 8, Greatest Hits has been pressed on orange vinyl and is limited to 4,500 copies.
Recently on Facebook, Michael Nesmith talked about his upcoming tour with pedal steel guitarist Pete Finney that will highlight his 1972 album, And The Hits Just Keep On Comin', and more:
Here is a message from the stream. The show you are about to see is a show Red Rhodes and I put together in 1974 based loosely on the “Hits” album (And the Hits Just Keep On Comin’, 1972) we had just made. The record was different from the live show by a difference so subtle I hadn’t noticed, until night after night of playing, on one of those nights, we got airborne.
For me this music is the most fun to play especially when Red would hit the secret switch. Magic. Untethered to space and time. Riding the space unconfined.
Then, sadly Red was gone, and with him, his little secret switch. So it appeared that after the few shows we did in England, and a few in the States, the career of the First National Band would end. To say I wandered a few years is an embarrassing understatement -- but I did, always waiting for the little switch.
I found it after playing a short tour with Pete Finney. I found out he had the switch, too. Turns out, all steel-players do --- some use it, some don’t. The switch comes bound to the steel-player and then includes whatever instrument they are playing so the sound is unique to their musical swirl.
Come ride those swirls with Pete Finney and me and let him slide us away to this land and time where we all play.
Don't miss Nez and Pete this January! And in the event you haven't heard, Ben Gibbard & Scott McCaughey will be the duo's special guests on opening night in Seattle! Ben is the lead vocalist and guitarist of Death Cab For Cutie who also wrote "Me & Magdalena" for The Monkees' 2016 album, Good Times! Scott is a respected singer/singwriter whose band The Minus 5 released Of Monkees and Men in 2016, described as "an imaginative tribute to the Monkees’ legacy in music and popular culture." Scott also co-wrote the title track with Peter Buck (R.E.M.) from The Monkees' new holiday album, Christmas Party, and was closely aligned with R.E.M. as an auxiliary musician in the studio and on stage with the group from 1994 until their their breakup in 2011.
Here's a complete list of tour dates and ticket links for Michael Nesmith and Pete Finney in January 2019:
January 17: Neptune Theatre / Seattle, Washington
January 19: The Rogue Theater / Grants Pass, Oregon
January 20: Sofia Center For The Arts / Sacramento, California
January 22: Troubadour / West Hollywood, California
January 24: The Coach House / San Juan Capistrano, California
January 26: Sweetwater Music Hall / Mill Valley, California
As part of the current NPR series, "1968: How We Got Here," author Petra Mayer examines The Monkees' one and only feature film as it celebrates its 50th anniversary:
On May 17, 1968, The Monkees finished their first and only motion picture, Head, with the filming of the "Circle Sky" concert scene in front of four thousand fans at the Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah. They performed "Circle Sky" several times for the cameras and also did a handful of other special requests.
Patio Gardens, a venue housed inside the Farmington, Utah amusement resort Lagoon, was the original location for the filming of "Circle Sky." The venue was changed at the last minute to the Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City for logistical reasons, despite fans already waiting in line at Patio Gardens. To make amends, The Monkees delivered a 30-minute set later that evening in front of a crowd of five thousand at Patio Gardens. This particular show was not filmed or recorded, and a setlist has yet to surface. The two Utah-based concerts in May 1968 would constitute the last live performances by all four Monkees in the United States until 1986.
This past November, the 50th anniversary of Head was commemorated at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and featured special guests Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith. Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval hosted a Q&A session with Micky and Michael after the sold-out screening, which also included a slideshow created by Andrew that showcased photographs taken by legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz. The final part of the slideshow revealed many never before seen photos from The Monkees' performance at Lagoon's Patio Gardens, screenshots which can be seen below. (The slideshow can be viewed in its entirety at Michael Nesmith's Videoranch Facebook page.)
A special thanks goes to the Live Almanac's friends at Written In Our Hearts for inspiring this post based on screenshots they had previously shared from the Diltz slideshow!
I would like to wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and say thank you for your continued support of The Monkees Live Almanac! The banner seen above, created by Al Bigley of The Texas Prairie Chicken Home Companion podcast, features a photo of The Monkees that appeared in a late 1967 issue of Ladies Home Journal.
This particular photo was utilized on a 5" x 7" fold-open Christmas card in 1967. Inside the card was the inscription "Let there be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me." According to Marty Eck's book, The Monkees Collectibles Price Guide, this card is believed not to have been mailed en masse and was only sent to a small group of people.
Have a great holiday, everyone!
The Monkees and their band performed "I'm a Believer" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on June 17, 1996. Davy, Micky, and Peter spoke with Leno afterwards and announced the release of Justus, and promoted the start of their 30th Anniversary Tour.
Kool-Aid acted as a commercial sponsor when The Monkees television series debuted in syndication on CBS in the fall of 1969.
"Mike & Micky Show" in 2019
"And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'" Tour