'Head' trip: How the Monkees and Jack Nicholson shattered the fourth wall and the Hollywood mold, 50 years ago
Video: Micky Dolenz & Michael Nesmith celebrate the 50th anniversary of "Head" in Hollywood (UPDATED)
Thanks to Jodi Ritzen for live streaming last night's 50th anniversary celebration of Head at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, featuring special guests Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith. Be sure to spot Henry Diltz's photos featured in the video below that chronicle The Monkees rehearsing and performing in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 17, 1968, including some rare shots from their evening concert at Lagoon in Farmington, Utah.
Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval hosted a Q & A session with Micky and Michael after the sold-out screening which can be seen in this video, courtesy of Ed Heffelfinger:
Variety reported on the golden anniversary celebration of Head and the joint Dolenz/Nesmith appearance.
And here's a great photo from the night's festivities of Nez and Micky with Davy's daughter, Annabel, courtesy of the Davy Jones Equine Memorial Fund page on Facebook:
Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Monkees' feature film Head with a special screening in Hollywood on November 1 at the Egyptian Theatre. Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval will host a Q & A session with Micky and Michael after the screening.
More details are available below, courtesy of The Monkees' official Facebook page.
"We are pleased to announce that The Monkees in association with RHINO will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the motion picture, HEAD, with a special screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on Thursday 11/1/18 - 7:30pm.
"Michael Nesmith & Micky Dolenz will appear in person to answer questions following the screening, which will be from an original 35mm print. Andrew Sandoval will conduct the Q&A and you are welcome to contribute your questions in advance online. That way everyone can join in!
"There will also be merchandise available inside the theatre - which is directly opposite the original venue that HEAD premiered in November 1968. You may also visit The Monkees star, which is on the walk of fame opposite the theatre. Please join us for this incredible event!"
Tickets are now available
Michael & Micky will also be holding a special meet & greet
UPDATE 10/25/2018: According to Andrew Sandoval, the 50th anniversary screening of Head is now sold out:
On November 14, 1967, Colgems Records issued Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.:
50 years ago today, The Monkees commenced work on "Pleasant Valley Sunday." Andrew Sandoval documented the June 10, 1967 session at RCA Hollywood, one day after The Monkees' triumphant concert performance at the Hollywood Bowl, in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
Gerry Goffin & Carole King's "Pleasant Valley Sunday" is one of Chip Douglas's most complex productions for The Monkees. Sadly, session tapes will not survive for this landmark date so it is impossible to follow this wonderful creation step-by-step. The basic track is most likely recorded with Chip Douglas and Eddie Hoh forming the rhythm section of bass and drums while Michael and Peter perform on electric guitar and piano. Union documents indicate Micky is also present for this session, and it is quite possible that he contributes some acoustic guitar to the track. Additional guitar overdubs will be recorded tomorrow.
Chip Douglas: "Mike played the lead guitar. That was my riff that I threw in there and taught to Mike. Not many guitar players can play it the right way. ... It's kind of an offshoot of the Beatles song 'I Want To Tell You' but in a different tempo and with different notes.
"I wish I could hear the original demo, because I can't recall if I got a [lyric] line right or not. It's in the bridge, 'creature comfort goals can only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see.' For 'make it hard for me to see,' for some reason I had the impression that I didn't do the right line in there, or changed it possibly. I couldn't understand that line, or something like that. One of those great mysteries.
"I do remember seeing Carole King up at the Screen Gems office from across the room after we did 'Pleasant Valley Sunday.' She kind of gave me this dirty look. I thought, 'Was it that line that I got wrong, perhaps? Or didn't she like the guitar intro?' It was faster, definitely, than the way she had done it. She had a more laidback way of doing stuff."
Michael Nesmith: "I remember that we went after the guitar sound. Everybody was trying to get that great big present guitar sound - Beatle [amplifiers] in the studio, playing really loud trying to get the sound, and it just ended up sounding kind of ... like it does. Kind of wooden. There was a tube-type of limiter/compressor called a UREI 1176, and boy you could really suck stuff out of the track. That was the first time that we really could do it. I think everybody got a little carried away with the 1176 on that record."
On June 11 and 13, 1967, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was treated to overdubs, including backing vocals from all four Monkees.
In a 1982 interview with Bruce Pollack, Peter Tork discussed the blending of Micky and Michael's voices throughout "Pleasant Valley Sunday":
"A notion of mine that I was really pleased with took over at one point, and that was having two guys sing in unison rather than one guy doubling his own voice. So you've got Mike, who was really a hard-nosed character, and Micky, who's a real baby face, and these two voices blended and lent each other qualities. It's not two separate voices singing together, it's really a melding of the two voices. Listening to that record later on was a joy. "
"Pleasant Valley Sunday" was issued as Colgems single #1007 on July 10, 1967, right in the middle of The Monkees' ultra-successful summer tour that year. It was backed with "Words," written for the group by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The single is considered to be one of their most successful (certified Gold just four days after release), and it's worth noting that radio gave attention to both sides. As a result, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" peaked at #3 in Billboard while "Words" topped out at #11. The songs were later featured on The Monkees' fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
On this day in 1967, The Monkees' third album, Headquarters, was released. Read more about this landmark Monkees LP in the Live Almanac's archives.
"I’m always thinking and working on stuff. I get offers and I’m doing my 'Little Bit Broadway, Little Bit Rock and Roll' show in New York again at the end of March [at 54 Below, under the old Studio 54 location]. We’re talking about another Monkee project. Nothing to announce at this point, but it’s in the air because this year is the 50th anniversary of our first real tour. So there’ll be stuff going on this summer and fall and then, well you just never know."
This highlight from the first season of The Monkees aired 50 years ago tonight on NBC. The article also examines The Monkees' comments at the end of the show regarding the Sunset Strip riots (an event referenced later by Michael Nesmith in the song "Daily Nightly").
And check out all of the Gretsch gear below that was prevalent throughout this episode!
And don't forget to check out this interview with guest star Vito Scotti, who also appeared in Head:
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