On July 25, 1966 at Western Recorders Studio in Hollywood, California, Michael Nesmith oversaw his fourth recording session as a producer for The Monkees, cutting one of the group's most enduring hits, his very own "Mary, Mary."
Beginning at 8pm that evening, Michael led Peter Tork, one of several guitarists on the song, and members of The Wrecking Crew (including Hal Blaine on drums and Glen Campbell on guitar) through 9 takes, while also tackling the backing tracks for both "Of You" and "(I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love," ultimately running overtime and finishing at 12:15 in the morning. Micky Dolenz added a doubled lead vocal for "Mary, Mary" two days later.
Long considered a highlight in The Monkees' canon, "Mary, Mary" was featured on their best selling album, 1967's More of The Monkees, and it's been a staple in the group's live show since its first performance in Honolulu, Hawaii in December 1966.
Nez spoke about "Mary, Mary" with Rolling Stone in 2016:
"This was an early song. I hadn't been writing long, but I was interested in finding a place that was between country and blues. At the time, I was working for Randy Sparks. He had started a publishing company after his success with the New Christy Minstrels, who were a folk-rock band. He hired me as a writer, and one day in his office I wrote 'Mary, Mary.' Frazier Mohawk took it to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and they recorded it. That was very encouraging.
Randy then sold my catalog to Screens Gems Columbia Music, which was the music catalog for the Monkees television show. They picked it to go on the second record. That was all fine, but they didn't want me to play or sing on it. 'They' being Screen Gems, which was run by Don Kirshner. Run-DMC covered it years later. I just loved their take on it. They changed around the lyrics some, but I didn't care. The song isn't exactly deep."
Last week, Ben Belmares was kind enough to share his scans of the recently released Summer of Love vinyl collection. Today he provided the Live Almanac with images from the CD package. Thanks again, Ben!
This past weekend, Micky Dolenz (and the Monkeemobile) appeared at Northeast Comic Con & Collectibles Extravaganza in Hanover, Massachusetts. Thanks to Scott Catton for submitting photographs from the event!
Each member of The Monkees had a stand-in during filming of their television series. Michael Nesmith's original stand-in was John London, but in 1967 London joined the Lewis & Clarke Expedition, a country rock group that also included Michael Martin Murphey, an old friend of Michael's and the songwriter responsible for "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" (and "Oklahoma Backroom Dancer").
Nesmith's brother-in-law, Bruce Barbour, replaced John London as Mike's stand-in on The Monkees during the second season and while filming the movie Head (as seen in the photo below). Barbour went on to become a respected Hollywood stunt man.
Bill Martin's "The Door Into Summer" is one of many standout tracks on The Monkees' fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. "The title came from the Robert Heinlein book The Door Into Summer, which was about time travel," Martin told Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval in the liner notes of the 1991 Listen to the Band box set. "The song is about the search for happiness, and is basically an anti-war song." Bill Martin also discussed the unique circumstances surrounding the recording of the song: "Micky tried singing it, and Mike tried it a couple of times also. They didn't like the echo at RCA, so they strung a mike from Studio A to the men's bathroom. Mike did his vocal in there to achieve the right effect."
The photo above was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Carmel Magazine and was denoted as being from Michael's personal collection. It seemingly shows Nez recording the vocal for "The Door Into Summer" in the men's room as Martin had recollected. (Michael's appearance also seems to match the August/September/October 1967 time frame in which the song was recorded.) However, in speaking with Andrew Sandoval about the story behind the photo, he neither confirmed nor rejected the idea that it was taken during the "Door" session, saying it was from Michael's archive and that he was unable to officially confirm its veracity.
An alternate mono mix of the song was made available on the 2007 deluxe edition of the Pisces album, which some believe features the men's room vocal take:
Sixties Hits with Rat Pack Cool: Micky Dolenz and Mark Lindsay will team up for '50 Summers of Love' at the Mayo Performing Arts Center
In an email to subscribers, 7a Records also announced their next two projects: 'Michael Nesmith Live 1975' and 'Micky Dolenz Live With The Metropole Orchestra.' Stay tuned for more details!
As always, Ben Belmares delivers with scans of the vinyl edition for the newly issued Summer of Love collection. Thanks, Ben!
Originally advertised as being pressed on "red & white splatter vinyl," note that the sticker of the official release denotes the color scheme as "pink & green splatter."
Summer of Love, a brand new Monkees collection from Rhino Records, is (at least initially) a brick & mortar retail exclusive, but some outlets like Bull Moose and Barnes & Noble are making it available as an online purchase. Bull Moose, however, is only offering the vinyl for sale while the CD is in-store only, and Barnes & Noble is taking orders for each version. FYE is another option, with both editions available online. At this time, Amazon has no stock of Summer of Love.
Be sure to check your local record store!
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith