Last month, The Monkees’ first-ever Christmas album, 2018's Christmas Party, was issued on 180-gram vinyl for the first time by Rhino Records in a few different formats:
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)
Each version of the LP is tucked into a gatefold sleeve designed by comics legend Michael Allred. The Monkees’ stunning version of "Riu Chiu (TV Version)" as performed live a capella on the second season episode, "The Christmas Show," is tacked on as a bonus track.
Christmas Party is also available on compact disc and for streaming on Spotify.
Thanks very much to longtime Live Almanac contributor Ben Belmares for providing his scans of each version of Christmas Party on vinyl!
"Candy Cane" vinyl and labels
Green vinyl & labels
Red vinyl & labels
Black vinyl labels
To mark the one year anniversary of the passing of Peter Tork (and his birthday month), Liverpool Tours and Charles Rosenay announced today that "The Peter Tork Memorial Convention" will take place in New Haven, Connecticut on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The convention will include memorabilia vendors and dealers, a rare video show, memorial tributes, and special guests are slated to be announced in the future. Live music will be provided by John Sheridan, Loose Salute, Zilch, and The Blue Meanies.
The site of the convention, Best Western Plus, is currently offering special room rates of $99 with the code "MONKEES" until January 1, 2020.
For more information, you may call (203) 795-4737 or email MonkeesFanConvention@gmail.com. The convention organizers have also launched an official website and accompanying Facebook page. Please note that this event is being organized for fans by fans and is not officially endorsed by The Monkees or their families, or Rhino Records.
Thanks to Charles Rosenay for passing along all of the details about "The Peter Tork Memorial Convention" to The Monkees Live Almanac!
The official charity of the convention, the Institute for the Musical Arts, was a favorite of Peter's. Click the image below for more information.
After releasing Justus, an album of all-new material in late 1996, The Monkees began work on an original one-hour prime time TV special in January 1997, and it eventually aired in the United States on ABC on February 17, 1997.
The special included re-recorded versions of some of The Monkees' greatest hits in medley form, and producer Misha Segal recently posted what appears to be the master recording of the medley (which has never been officially issued) on YouTube. The video included the following description by Segal:
"One of my very fun projects in the late 90s. It was The Monkees Reunion and I was asked to be music director. Peter and I became especially good friends until his recent, unfortunate passing."
Actor and comedian Rip Taylor, known for his flamboyant personality and showering himself and others with confetti, who made countless appearances on television, film, and in nightclubs, passed away on October 6. Monkees fans will remember Taylor as a multiple episode guest star on The Monkees, appearing prominently in second season highlights "Monkees on the Wheel" (as the distressed casino manager) and "The Frodis Caper" (as the diabolical Wizard Glick).
Taylor was also spotted in The Monkees' 1969 NBC television special, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, during the "Listen to the Band" segment.
The New York Times and The Hollywood Reporter eulogized Taylor, while also noting his appearances with The Monkees.
"In 1967, Taylor showed up as a sobbing casino manager on an episode of The Monkees. 'Oh, officer, thank goodness you're here,' he says to a police detective called to investigate a rigged roulette wheel. 'I just found this wire attached to the wheel. And whenever I'd shift my stick, the house would lose a bet. Could you die?'"
-The Hollywood Reporter
On March 25, 1968 the last original episode of The Monkees aired on NBC. "The Frodis Caper" was written by Micky Dolenz and Dave Evans, and in his debut behind the camera, directed by Micky. Taylor portrayed Wizard Glick, who was out to control people's minds through a hypnotic eye broadcasted on television sets. "This is my attempt to address the manipulation of the American mind by the media," Dolenz relayed in a 2003 DVD commentary for the episode. "Hooray, The Monkees save the world from the evil machinations of the media . . . I guess it didn’t work, though, did it?"
Rip Taylor was 88.
The latest episode of Zilch spotlights one of the Live Almanac's favorite albums, Instant Replay! Settle back and listen to David "Ghosty" Wills, Melinda Gildart, Jeff Gehringer, and host Jeff Hulit navigate Side 1 of the 1969 LP, the first to be issued after Peter Tork had left The Monkees. And to top it all off, this episode is sponsored by Wine Down Nashville and its proud proprietors, Amy and John Billings. Enjoy, and don't forget to check out all things Instant Replay in the archives of The Monkees Live Almanac!
UPDATE 11/15/2019: Here's Part 2 of the Instant Replay roundtable discussion on Zilch!
Record Store Day was founded in 2007 and has become an annual tradition that takes place every April and on Black Friday in November. With a stated purpose of celebrating the culture of the independently owned record store, bands and labels will press unique items that are distributed exclusively to shops participating in the event. Thanks to Rhino Records, The Monkees made their Record Store Day debut with multiple releases in 2016, which are collected in the archives of The Monkees Live Almanac.
Upon its arrival late last year, Christmas Party became The Monkees' first-ever holiday album, featuring classics like "The Christmas Song," "Silver Bells," and "Wonderful Christmastime" alongside brand new material. And now, the good times continue as Rhino will issue Christmas Party Plus!, a package that highlights Monkees holiday songs past and present, on November 29 for Record Store Day 2019. This special release will include two 7" singles on color vinyl (one red/one green), all housed in a gatefold sleeve and limited to 5,000 copies.
The first record features two versions of the lead single from Christmas Party, "Unwrap You At Christmas." It will be heard here in its radio mix, and is accompanied by a previously unissued demo version by XTC's Andy Partridge, a longtime Monkees devotee who also penned this chestnut for the group.
The second record will include the classic performance of "Riu Chiu" (originally seen on "The Monkees' Christmas Show" episode in 1967), and is partnered with "Christmas Is My Time Of Year," which appears in its original 1976 mix for the first time in decades.
Be sure to check out Record Store Day's website to locate participating stores near you! And all things Christmas Party, including music videos, reviews, photos from the recording sessions, and more, can be found in the archives of the Live Almanac.
“Unwrap You At Christmas (Radio Mix)"/ "Unwrap You At Christmas" –Andy Partridge (featured vocal by Holly Partridge)
"Riu Chiu (Original TV Version)"/ "Christmas Is My Time Of Year (1976 Mix)"
And here's some footage from the recent run of concerts by Nez and the First National Band Redux at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, California, thanks to Lisa Duclo:
"It Was Fifty Years Ago Today," a tribute to The Beatles' White Album, co-starring Micky Dolenz, Christopher Cross, and Todd Rundgren, is currently on the road, stopping this evening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with plenty of more shows to come! Micky and company recently discussed the tour, their love of The Beatles, and more with The Maine Edge.
UPDATE 10/5/2019: Media Mikes reviewed the show and noted the set list from the Kansas City, Missouri performance, and Forgotten Hits provided a recap of the tour's stop in St. Charles, Illinois.
UPDATE 10/9/2019: The Glorious Corner reviewed the performance at Connecticut's Ridgefield Playhouse, noting Micky's performances of "Rocky Racoon," "I'm So Tired," and "Why Don't We Do It In The Road."
UPDATE 10/25/2019: Parklife DC recapped the final show of the first leg of the tour at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., and also included a full rundown of the set list. The tour resumes on November 30 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.