In 2016, Patrick Zappi penned a three-part series, "Reimagining The Post-Peter Albums." And now Patrick has contributed another piece to The Monkees Live Almanac, featuring a retrospective playlist of Peter Tork's musical career that not only includes his time in The Monkees, but also highlights Peter's work as a solo artist, his musical partnership with James Lee Stanley, and his stint in Shoe Suede Blues.
"Come On In: The Best of Peter Tork (1966-2016)" by Patrick Zappi
Since 1966, the press and purported "serious" music critics have reveled in stories about The Monkees and their musical prowess. But after the group's triumphant 45th Anniversary Tour in 2011, progressive journalists have reassessed The Monkees' musical catalog and many now choose to celebrate this cast of actors, singers, and musicians and their metamorphosis into an authentic recording and touring project.
As longtime fans already know, and contrary to urban legend, the individual members of The Monkees all played multiple instruments with varying degrees of skill. Peter Tork cut his teeth in the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, gigging with the likes of a then unknown Stephen Stills in The Buffalo Fish and jamming onstage with Mama Cass in her pre-Mamas and Papas project, The Mugwumps. Tork was a multi-instrumentalist who mastered the banjo, guitar, bass, piano, and even the French horn with exuberance. His stunning instrumental contributions are undisputed highlights of the Monkees catalog: the beloved piano lick from "Daydream Believer," the ominous organ solo on "Words," the breezy harpsichord on "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," the propulsive banjo on "You Told Me," the aggressive bass on "You Just May Be The One," the majestic piano on "Shades Of Gray," the rolling keyboards on "The Door Into Summer," the tense electric piano solo on "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and the famous guitar-intro to his own composition, "For Pete's Sake," which became the closing theme for The Monkees television series in its second season. The list goes on and on!
Peter's singing and songwriting however, were met with a different response. With a questionable pitch and a lovable but infrequently utilized voice, Peter became the Ringo Starr of The Monkees, an ace in the hole who was lucky to score a single lead vocal on any given album. In his heyday, Tork was an inspired but seemingly frustrated songwriter. Overshadowed by the prolific and somewhat dominant Michael Nesmith (who just happened to title Peter's signature composition "For Pete's Sake"), some of Peter's quirky, folksy, and bluesy gems were initially left unreleased until The Monkees' incredible resurgence in 1986 that ultimately opened the studio vaults. After that unprecedented commercial resurgence, Tork was able to spread his wings as a solo artist, exploring his folk roots with longtime friend and musical partner James Lee Stanley, tackling the roadhouse blues with the tongue-in-cheek titled band Shoe Suede Blues, and finally bringing his peculiar vision to life with 1994's Stranger Things Have Happened.
In February of this year, we lost Peter Tork to a longtime battle with cancer, but his music survives. The following is a retrospective of his career for fellow fans to enjoy. As Peter wrote, "To say that you can dig it, is to make your soul to fly . . . to heaven."
"Pleasant Valley Sunday" (With James Lee Stanley, Two Man Band, 1996)
"Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky" (The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., 1967)
"Your Auntie Grizelda" (The Monkees, More Of The Monkees, 1967)
"Words" (The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., 1967)
"Shades of Gray" (The Monkees, Headquarters, 1967)
"Cripple Creek" (The Monkees, Live 1967)
"Alvin" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Tear the Top Right Off My Head" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Come On In" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Seeger's Theme" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Lady's Baby" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Prithee" (The Monkees, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, 1969)
"Can You Dig It" - Peter's lead vocal originally unissued (The Monkees, 1968)
"Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again" (The Monkees, Head, 1968)
"MGBGT" (The Monkees, B-side to "Heart & Soul," Live 1986)
"Gettin' In" (The Monkees, Pool It!, 1987)
"Since You Went Away" (The Monkees, Pool It!, 1987)
"Milkshake" (With Micky Dolenz & Michael Nesmith, Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Sea Change" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Giant Step" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Tender Is" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"I Believe You" (The Monkees, Justus, 1996)
"I Remember Christmas" (With James Lee Stanley, A Beachwood Christmas, 2003)
"Saved by the Blues" (Shoe Suede Blues, Saved by the Blues, 2003)
"Slender Tender and Tall" (Shoe Suede Blues, Saved by the Blues, 2003)
"She Belongs To Me" (Shoe Suede Blues, Cambria Hotel, 2007)
"Vagabond John" (Live 2012)
"Little Girl" (The Monkees, Good Times!, 2016)
"Wasn't Born to Follow" (The Monkees, Good Times!, 2016)
"Early Morning Blues and Greens" (The Monkees, Live 2013)
"For Pete's Sake" (Shoe Suede Blues, Cambria Hotel, 2007)
"Daydream Believer" (With James Lee Stanley, Once Again, 2001)
"Higher and Higher" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
Micky Dolenz "really looking forward to" White Album tribute tour with Todd Rundgren and other stars
Among the White Album songs Dolenz will be performing are “Rocky Raccoon” and “Yer Blues,” plus two or three more. He says “Rocky Raccoon” stands out for him because it was “one of the songs I would sing my little kids as a lullaby.” As for his own songs, he says he’ll probably be singing the Monkees hits “I’m a Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”
Paris Stachtiaris interviews legendary Monkees and rock music photographer Henry Diltz about Woodstock
Monkees fans are likely to recall the name Paris Stachtiaris, co-host of Headquarters ("The only radio show in America dedicated to The Monkees") that originally aired on 90.3 WBAU-FM, the radio station of Adelphi University in Long Island, New York, from 1987 to 1990. Cassette tapes of the program, which featured interviews with Monkees luminaries like Chip Douglas, Ward Sylvester, Jim Frawley, Coco Dolenz, Lester Sill, Monte Landis, Gerry Goffin, the individual Monkees themselves, and others, were frequently traded among fans in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
And now in 2019, Paris is back, with co-host Ben Brown, producing a special in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock that will air Labor Day Weekend on HCS internet radio. Paris and Ben's premier guest is the renowned rock photograher Henry Diltz, the official lensman of Woodstock who also has photographed The Monkees extensively since the 1960s. Paris has informed the Live Almanac that he is planning to play Rhino's recently released (and now sold out) 38-disc box set, containing nearly every note played at Woodstock, during the special.
The Woodstock Radio Special will air on HCS internet radio beginning Friday, August 30 at 5:00 PM through Monday morning, September 2, and you can preview the interview with Henry from the special right now! And don't miss a selection of Henry's photographs from Woodstock, courtesy of his website.
Thanks to Paris for keeping everyone informed about his latest project, and be sure to check out the archives of the Headquarters radio program here at The Monkees Live Almanac!
The Monkees Live Almanac is happy to pass along the news that Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval is currently working on a revised edition of his exhaustive book on The Monkees, originally published fourteen years ago. Andrew recently announced through various social media channels that he hopes an updated edition of The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation is ready for publication in late 2020.
Andrew's first Monkees-related project came in 1990 when he acted as co-producer (along with Bill Inglot) for 1990's Missing Links Volume Two collection, which also featured liner notes penned by Sandoval. Since then, he has produced numerous Monkees projects for Rhino Records, including CD reissues, multiple box set treatments of Monkees music, and DVD and Blu-ray collections of the group's 1960s television series and feature film, Head. He is responsible for The Monkees' triumphant return to the concert stage in 2011, and produced subsequent tours for the group in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, as well as the "The Mike & Micky Show" that was a hit at venues in North America, Australia, and New Zealand throughout 2018 and 2019.
Years of research and dedication resulted in Andrew's 2005 tome on The Monkees. In it, the band's recording sessions, live concerts, filming dates, public appearances, and much more from 1965-1970 were all richly documented. Considered to be the primary resource for anything and everything Monkees, Mojo said Day-by-Day was "The only Monkees book you need . . . Essential reading and a poignant primer in how the template was set for today's shooting stars . . . as close as you'll get to the official word . . . an engaging document of one of the '60s most important phenomena."
While we all anxiously wait for a revised edition of his book, be sure to listen to Andrew's internet radio show, Come to the Sunshine, and check back with The Monkees Live Almanac for future updates!
This summer, Rhino Records has been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock. To commemorate that moment in popular music history, Rhino launched their "Summer of '69 - Peace, Love and Music" retail campaign on July 9 with a series of limited-edition vinyl releases available exclusively at participating brick and mortar retail outlets. On July 23, the soundtrack to The Monkees' 1968 feature film, Head, was issued on silver vinyl as part of Rhino's celebrations.
Thanks a lot to Live Almanac contributor Ben Belmares for sharing his scans of this latest issue of the Head soundtrack.
Coming this September: Limited edition of The Monkees' "Christmas Party" on red/white vinyl (and more)
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM MONKEES.COM:
Yes, we’re a little late for Christmas in July, but hey, we’re early for Christmas in general! The Monkees’ first-ever Christmas album, CHRISTMAS PARTY, is coming to 180-gram vinyl for the very first time on September 13 in a few different formats:
Good ol’ black 180-gram vinyl at most retailers
A limited-edition red or green version exclusive to independent record stores
A red and white “candy cane” exclusive, available only at Monkees.com!
Our Monkees.com red and white “candy cane” version is strictly limited to just 1,000 copies, so don’t wait for Santa to snag it for you.
CHRISTMAS PARTY is pressed on 180-gram vinyl tucked into a beautiful gatefold sleeve by comics legend Michael Allred. It includes all the new holiday favorites from last year’s collection, with the addition of The Monkees’ shining moment “Riu Chiu (TV Version)” as performed live acapella on the Christmas episode of their show.
PRE-ORDER THE LIMITED EDITION RED/WHITE VINYL BY CLICKING THE IMAGE BELOW:
BUNDLE SET ALSO AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER:
In 2014 the former president of The Monkees Unofficial Fan Club (published in the early 1980s), Michael Luciano, passed along images and newspaper articles to the Live Almanac from his private collection that documented The Monkees' appearance at Curtis Hixon Hall on August 1, 1969. Yesterday, in honor of the 50th anniversary of that particular concert, I shared the post from 2014 on the Live Almanac's Facebook page, which generated considerable attention.
And now, Michael has been kind enough to provide the Live Almanac with more exclusive coverage of this show, starting with this piece originally published on August 7, 1969 in the St. Petersburg Times:
Also from the August 7, 1969 issue of the St. Petersburg Times is a photo of Micky Dolenz performing in Tampa:
And thanks to Michael, we can enjoy this wonderful photo of Davy Jones onstage with the band that supported The Monkees in 1969, Sam & The Goodtimers:
Finally, here's a photo of fans and the crowd assembled at Curtis Hixon Hall:
Thank you very much to Michael Luciano for sharing these fantastic pieces from his collection with The Monkees Live Almanac!!
Live in 2021