In 1975, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork gathered together to consider several offers to reunite The Monkees. "We met up at my house, up in the Hollywood Hills," Micky told Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval in a previously published interview. "I think it was William Morris [agency] or something expressed an interest in putting the act back together. Everybody was very enthusiastic about it on the surface. You know, 'Oh great, great idea,' but when it got down to the nitty-gritty there were too many conflicting feelings and attitudes. Actually I remember it being really exciting. We all got together for the first time in quite a few years in the same room and there was a hell of a buzz."
Despite friendly discussions between the ex-Monkees during this time period, the group ultimately did not reform. "They wanted to do something different and new," said Jones of Nesmith and Tork to Steve Hoffman in September 1976. "They forgot the audience has been waiting out there for The Monkees to return." However, Micky and Davy were interested in teaming up once again and instead turned to Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart was the idea of Christian DeWalden, a music publisher, producer, and friend of Bobby Hart. Boyce & Hart were responsible for writing and producing some of The Monkees' greatest hits ("Last Train to Clarksville," "Steppin' Stone," "Valleri"), and had a successful recording career of their own. The foursome created a new act and toured as The Great Golden Hits of The Monkees - The Guys Who Wrote 'Em and the Guys Who Sang 'Em. Their concert show combined Monkees classics, new material, and Boyce & Hart hits. "It was based on the idea of having the guys who wrote a lot of songs and the guys who sang them perform together," Davy explained in 1975. "So we talked about it and agreed and went into rehearsals for three weeks, and then we went to St. Louis and pulled 22,000 kids in two shows." The Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart act would record and perform together through 1976.
This July, 7a Records will officially re-release the recorded legacy of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. The UK-based label, headed by Glenn Gretlund, will deliver a 2-CD and 2-LP deluxe edition of the group's 1976 studio album originally issued by Capitol Records, along with Concert in Japan, taped in Tokyo that same year, which was ultimately released in that country in 1981 (and later on compact disc by the label Varese Sarabande in 1996).
Both albums are remastered from the original tapes. The CD edition will include a 40-page booklet with brand new liner notes and previously unseen photographs, while the LP edition will be housed in a gatefold sleeve on green, yellow, and black "quad" vinyl.
Various media outlets have reported on 7a's revival of the long out of print Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart albums, the latest in a very busy year for the label:
Second Disc: I Remember the Feeling: 7a Records Reissues Studio and Live Albums from Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart
Here's a sneak peak at the rear covers for the vinyl and compact disc editions:
Legendary singer/songwriter Bobby Hart is JR's latest guest on "The Monkees Pad Show." Bobby discusses the life and death of his partner and friend, Tommy Boyce, writing and producing for The Monkees, the legacy of Boyce & Hart on record and television, their 1987 reunion, the Dolenz, Jones Boyce & Hart era, and much, much more!
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.
Paris is back in 2019 with co-host Ben Brown, and the duo produced a special in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock that aired on Labor Day Weekend on HCS internet radio. Most recently, Paris and Ben spoke with Bobby Hart:
Along with his songwriting partner Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart is responsible for penning some of The Monkees' most enduring songs, including "Last Train to Clarksville," "Steppin' Stone," and "Valleri." Arriving with determination and drive to the nascent Monkees project, the duo wrote and produced the soundtrack to the pilot episode, including singing the lead vocals, which were later replaced once the show was formally cast with Micky, Davy, Michael, and Peter. Despite conflicts with Don Kirshner, the show's music supervisor, Boyce and Hart were retained, and with the help of their backing band, The Candy Store Prophets, Boyce & Hart went on to produce many of the early Monkees recording sessions. Their influence eventually waned once Kirshner was sacked and The Monkees gained control over their musical output in early 1967. However, each original Monkees album, with the exception of Head, contains Boyce & Hart tunes.
Tommy and Bobby went on to have a successful recording career on their own, making guest appearances on television shows and contributing scores to movie soundtracks. In the mid-1970s, they teamed up with Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, a project which led to concert tours, new music, and a television special. Boyce & Hart were celebrated with a full-length documentary in 2015 (co-produced by Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval), and that same year, Bobby published his autobiography. Paris and Ben intend to have Bobby back on their program to discuss more about The Monkees, Boyce & Hart, the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart era, and much more.
Thanks to Paris for keeping everyone informed about his latest projects, and be sure to check out the archives of the Headquarters radio program here at The Monkees Live Almanac!
In the photograph below, The Monkees pose with Don Kirshner, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, and Lester Sill during filming of the first season of The Monkees television series:
The latest release from 7a Records features two long lost tracks by Davy Jones. "Rainbows" was written and produced by Chip Douglas (who was also at the helm for The Monkees' Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. LPs along with singles like "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Daydream Believer," and "Goin' Down") and recorded by Davy in 1981. The song has long circulated in tape trading circles of Monkees/Davy fans, but this single marks its first official release.
"You Don't Have To Be A Country Boy To Sing A Country Song" was written by Davy and Tommy Boyce (who co-wrote some of The Monkees' biggest hits with Bobby Hart) and appeared as the B-side to "(Hey Ra Ra Ra) Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse," the official theme song for the 50th birthday celebration of Mickey Mouse. That single was released by Warner Brothers in 1978 in England only, and neither side has ever been officially issued on compact disc or been made available digitally. 7a previously provided fans with a sneak preview of the A-side.
This release is available as a 7" red vinyl single, and only 500 copies have been pressed. Of note, after speaking with 7a co-founder Glenn Gretlund earlier this week, only 50 copies remain in their stock. Deep Discount had the best pricing option, but they are currently sold out! (Check back later, however, for ordering options.) There are still limited quantities available from Amazon. And for UK customers, Amazon UK has the single listed but it's currently out of stock. Clearly this item is in demand, so be sure to get your copy soon!
The ever dependable Ben Belmares has supplied the Live Almanac with scans of his copy of the single below. As always, Ben, thank you! And another thanks must go to both Iain Lee and Glenn Gretlund at 7a Records for working so hard to preserve the legacy of the works of the individual Monkees. Don't forget to follow 7a Records on Facebook and Twitter. And you can read more about 7a's past releases in the archives of the Live Almanac.
Over the years, I've heard different reports regarding the "dance remix" of "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere." I've been told it exists, but I've also heard it doesn't. Appearing first on the platinum-selling Then & Now...The Best of The Monkees in 1986, the song has never been performed live in concert. It was, however, resurrected for last year's The Monkees 50 compilation.
Take note of the session credits. Michael Lloyd worked previously with Micky Dolenz in the early 1970s under the Starship banner, and also produced The Monkees' 1986 Top 20 hit, "That Was Then, This Is Now." Laurence Juber was a member of Wings from 1978-1981, and Paul Leim played drums for Michael Nesmith on his 1979 LP Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma, and toured with Nez as recently as 2013.
Here's a photo that was posted yesterday on Davy's official Facebook page, one that I had never seen before! And don't forget to check out the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart entry here at the Live Almanac which was recently updated with new quotes, information, and tour dates, courtesy of Andrew Sandoval and The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour program!
A live recording of a Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart show, Concert in Japan (recorded on July 20, 1976 at Yubin Chokin Hall in Tokyo, Japan), was released as a vinyl LP set in Japan in 1981. At the time, the live album was never given a formal release in the United States or elsewhere. A big thanks to Ben Belmares for sharing his photos of the original Japanese LP:
Concert in Japan was finally issued on compact disc in the United States in 1996 during The Monkees' 30th Anniversary, featuring liner notes by Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval. Once again, Ben Belmares was kind enough to save me the time of scanning my copy of the CD and provided everything below:
The Monkees' debut single, "Last Train to Clarksville," written and produced by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 5, 1966.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval wrote about the July 25, 1966 session at RCA Hollywood for the song (which also included work on the first version of "I Can't Get Her Off My Mind") in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
This ad for the single appeared in the September 3, 1966 issue of Billboard (courtesy of Monkee45s.net):
Here's video footage of all four Monkees performing "Last Train to Clarksville" live at Wembley in London, England in March 1997:
The single's B-side was the stellar Gerry Goffin & Carole King track "Take a Giant Step":
The Monkees' debut single, "Last Train to Clarksville," was first recorded on this day in 1966 at RCA Victor Studio B in Hollywood. Written and produced by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and released by Colgems on August 16 (backed with Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Take a Giant Step"), the song debuted on the Billboard charts on September 3 at #101. By November 5, The Monkees had scored their first #1 single, knocking off "96 Tears" by Question Mark & The Mysterians. The Recording Industry Association of America awarded "Last Train to Clarksville" (and The Monkees' debut album) a gold record on October 27.
Thanks to JD McCutcheon of Monkee45s for sharing this with the Live Almanac!
In this episode, Mike, Micky and Peter talk a California date, James Grant Interviews Peter Tork. Iain Lee and Bobby Hart talk some cool new releases & "Good Times!" Monkees news & Monkees Mailbag! Love one another! Thank you for listening to & for being part of this show. We love you. It is THE YEAR OF THE MONKEES!
Click the image below to listen!
The Good Times! listening party happening today at Amoeba Records Hollywood at 5pm PT will stream live from the official Monkees Facebook page at 8pm ET.
UPDATE 8:40pm EST: The live stream is now over, but you can watch the taped replay below:
Cookies from the Amoeba event!
Both Bobby Hart and Rhino's John Hughes (executive producer of Good Times!) were in attendance:
A big thanks to Tim Powers of Deep Dish Radio, a longtime supporter of The Monkees Live Almanac, who submitted an interview that he recently conducted with Bobby Hart. Here is Tim's description of the conversation:
"In July of 1966, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart went into the studio to record 'Steppin' Stone' for The Monkees, but they also recorded a backing track for 'Whatever's Right,' too.
As you know, 'Whatever's Right' is one of the standout tracks from The Monkees' new album 'Good Times!' which arrives this week from Rhino Records.
Bobby Hart joined me to discuss not only his (and Tommy's) involvement with Good Times! but also The Monkees as an operation, 'The Bobby Hart Solo Album' from 7A Records, and Bobby's new autobiography, 'Psychedelic Bubblegum.'"