Bill Chadwick is familiar to Monkees fans as a songwriter, TV show extra, studio musician, and confidant of the group throughout its initial run in the 1960s.
Bill was a regular along with Michael Nesmith and John London at the famous Ledbetter's club in Los Angeles and the Troubadour in Hollywood during the pre-Monkees era. The three were soon part of a folk group called The Survivors that was assembled by Randy Sparks, who also founded The New Christy Minstrels. Bill auditioned for The Monkees in 1965, making it past the initial round of interviews and being one of the few to participate in an actual screen test with Bob Rafelson (fast forward to 13:35 and 17:20 to see Bill).
Despite not being chosen, Bill contributed to the Monkees project through multiple avenues. His song, "Of You," was recorded at one of the earliest Monkees recording sessions in the summer of 1966. His other songwriting credits for the group include "If I Knew," "French Song," "Time and Time Again," "If You Have the Time," "You and I," "Smile," "How Can I Tell You," and "Zor and Zam." Bill also contributed backing vocals and instrumentation on many Monkees tracks. He went on to become a lighting director and tour manager for The Monkees, and photographed the group extensively throughout the late 1960s.
In 1969, Bill released a single on Dot Records, "Talking to the Wall"/"If You Have the Time." Both tracks were produced by Michael Nesmith, and Nez later recorded his own version of "Talking to the Wall" for the 1972 album Tantamount To Treason Volume 1. Michael also produced a few unreleased sessions for Chadwick in the early 1970s.
Bill remained close with The Monkees after the television show was canceled. Years later in the 1980s he worked for the Tiffany glass company and was often seen in pictures backstage at Monkees reunion concerts. Bill also performed his songs at several Monkees conventions in the late '80s, and was present when the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1988, his book (co-authored with Maggie McManus and Ed Reilly) The Monkees - A Manufactured Image: The Ultimate Reference Guide to Monkee Memories & Memorabilia, was published.
Below is his memoir that appeared at the beginning of the Manufactured Image book.
Read more about Bill and listen to interviews he has given about his experiences with The Monkees in the Live Almanac's archives.
A big thanks to Kevin Schmid for providing the audio files for Bill's 1969 Dot single, and for contributing some of the information in this blog post.
Live in 2021