In a recent email to subscribers, Andrew Sandoval, author of The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story, provided a detailed update on the shipping status of his new book, which is now expected to arrive in early September. As an added bonus, Andrew takes us back to the fall of 1966 with a compelling account of the initial recording session for The Monkees' signature hit single, "I'm a Believer."
Andrew's message appears below, and there's still time to pre-order a copy of Day-By-Day!
Greetings Beatland Readers!
As July 1966 ended, only Don Kirshner was sure of the Monkees’ success. When his trusted record makers – Snuff Garrett, Mickie Most, Carole King & Gerry Goffin – fell away, he remarkably switched gears to pull together an exceptional album – The Monkees – in just four weeks. And should the resulting release have any kind of success, he also had twelve songs (“All The King’s Horses”; “The Kind Of Girl I Could Love”; “I Don’t Think You Know Me”; “So Goes Love”; “I Won’t Be The Same Without Her”; “You Just May Be The One”; “I Can’t Get Her Off Of My Mind”; “Mary, Mary”; “Of You”; “(I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love”; “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”; “Whatever’s Right”) already in progress to comprise a second album.
“Everybody seemed enthusiastic, except Mike Nesmith. [He had] a big attitude right from the beginning and he said at one point, ‘I’m a producer too, and that ain’t no hit.’ So, it was like, ‘Oooo.’ To break the tension I made what I thought was an obvious joke. I said, ‘Well, Mike, it’s not finished. You’ve got to picture this with the strings and the horns.’ Which I thought there wasn’t going to be strings and horns [on it, but he would understand that] and he goes, ‘Well, maybe it could be something with strings and horns.’ Then he realized everybody laughed and the relationship goes down from there.”
It is unknown if allowing Nesmith to sing at all was a bit of psychological theater staged by Kirshner and Barry to get what they ultimately wanted (Micky on lead vocals). Either way, Donnie would later learn he was playing with fire if his intention was indeed to play Nesmith. “We got in the studio,” recalled Davy in May 1967, “and Mike didn’t sing it the way Donnie wanted him to sing it and Donnie asked Mike to sing it a certain way and Mike didn’t sing it that way. And during a break Mike just split; he just left…He wasn’t taken off lead. He chose to be taken off himself by leaving.”
The latest episode of The Monkees Pad Show features an exclusive interview with Barbara Hamaker, who worked in The Monkees' front office and also traveled with the group during their legendary 1967 summer tour. Known back then as "Barbara Monkee," she talks to host Joe Russo about her experiences with The Monkees during the height of Monkeemania, her interactions with luminaries like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Rafelson, and Bert Schneider, watching The Monkees jam with Frank Zappa, and much more. Enjoy this fantastic conversation via the link below, and be sure to follow The Monkees Pad Show on Facebook and Twitter!
In 1977 Michael Nesmith enjoyed a moderate worldwide hit with "Rio," the lead-off track from his eighth post-Monkees album, From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing. During this period, Nez produced a promotional video for the song with director William Dear. That experience helped spur Michael's creation of the first music video television program, PopClips, which originally aired on the Nickelodeon cable network. In 1980, PopClips was sold to Warner/Amex Satellite Entertainment Company, who ultimately developed PopClips into MTV.
After leaving The Monkees in 1970, Michael's interest in production later resulted in the formation of his own corporation in 1974, Pacific Arts, to manage and develop various media projects. In the post-PopClips era, Nez released Elephant Parts on VHS and Betamax, a collection of comedy skits and music videos that won the first-ever Grammy Award for Music Video in 1981. Later in 1985, Television Parts, a comedy-variety series featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Gary Shandling, and many others debuted on NBC. Both productions were hosted and produced by Nesmith. Pacific Arts continued to flourish and by the late 1980s had become a leader in the burgeoning home video market.
As MTV celebrates its 40th anniversary this week, take a look back at the history of the channel and Michael's influence:
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith