In 1976, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork released "Christmas Is My Time of Year," a holiday single produced by Chip Douglas and written by Douglas and Turtles founding member Howard Kaylan. In a 2015 interview with Iain Lee for The Monkees Live Almanac, Douglas confirmed that he contributed guitar and bass to the track, Peter played Hammond organ, and ex-Monkees session musician Eddie Hoh sat in on drums. Micky and Davy shared lead vocals, and Douglas eventually added horns. Here's the original 1976 mix of the song:
Backed with "White Christmas" that was also produced by Douglas and featuring Davy on lead vocals, the single was an extremely limited release, and was not issued with a picture sleeve.
Thanks to Live Almanac contributor Ben Belmares who provided scans of the original 1976 single and its labels:
Both "Christmas Is My Time of Year" and "White Christmas" were remixed and augmented by Douglas in 1986 (during The Monkees' highly successful 20th Anniversary Tour) and sold via mail order, this time with a picture sleeve:
Here are the lyrics to "Christmas Is My Time of Year" from the back of the 1986 picture sleeve:
Listen to the '86 remix of "Christmas Is My Time of Year" below:
Amazingly, neither side of the 1976 Christmas single has ever appeared on a Monkees compilation, though "Christmas Is My Time of Year" surfaced on a late '80s Rhino Records holiday collection.
For more information about the release history of "Christmas Is My Time of Year," check out Monkee45s.
UPDATE 12/11/2019: The 1986 remix of "Christmas Is My Time of Year" was included on a CD bonus tracks edition of The Monkees' 2018 holiday album, Christmas Party.
The original 1976 mix of the song later appeared on the special Record Store Day Black Friday double vinyl single Christmas Party Plus in November 2019.
This comes from Harold Bronson's book, Hey, Hey, We're The Monkees. For easier reading, click on the image and then click on it again.
"Touring with them (The Monkees) was one of the great times of my life."
-Monkees producer Chip Douglas, in an interview with Rhino Records founder Harold Bronson
On this day in 1989, The Monkees received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame:
Members of the Modern Folk Quartet (left to right: Henry Diltz, Jerry Yester, Chip Douglas and Cyrus Faryar) pose with Michael Nesmith at a Television Parts taping in Los Angeles in 1984.
Members of MFQ had a lot of connections with The Monkees, and here they are below pictured in 1990. Chip Douglas, of course, produced both the Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. albums, along with the "Daydream Believer" single. Henry Diltz, noted rock photographer, was constantly around the group in the '60s and even contributed to some Monkees recordings (that's Henry on the banjo on "D.W. Washburn"). And Jerry Yester played bass on "Shades of Gray" and "I Can't Get Her Off My Mind" on Headquarters.
In 1965, the band added rock drummer Eddie Hoh and was renamed the Modern Folk Quintet, but they preferred to be known as the MFQ. (Hoh later became a session drummer for The Monkees throughout the late '60s, adding his work to albums like Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. and singles "Daydream Believer" and "Goin' Down.") It was at this point that legendary producer Phil Spector took notice of them, producing "This Could Be the Night," co-written by Spector and Harry Nilsson. Despite enjoying a couple of high profile appearances, including a spot on Shindig! and performances at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles, the group failed to breakthrough and disbanded in 1966. Years later in 1985, Diltz, Faryar, Douglas, and Jerry Yester appeared with Michael Nesmith on an installment of Television Parts.
Pictured left to right are The Yester brothers (Jim & Jerry), Henry Diltz, Cyrus Faryar, and Chip Douglas. This picture was taken on July 19, 1990 at a Monkees convention in Chicago where MFQ played a set that mirrored their concerts in Japan earlier that year. They were joined at the end of the show by Davy Jones, who made a few remarks. MFQ also performed "Riu Chiu" a capella-style on the first day of the Chicago convention, and Chip played a solo show on the second day. (Thanks to Chie Hama for updated information found in this post!)
The 3rd Annual Los Angeles Monkees Convention took place in Universal City, California on July 9 and 10, 1988. Among the guests were longtime Monkees associates, friends, and family members.
Below are a few pictures from the event that come from my collection. You'll see Chip Douglas, who produced what are widely regarded as The Monkees' two best albums, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.; Coco Dolenz (Micky's sister) and Janelle Scott (Micky's mother); David Pearl (Peter's stand-in on the TV show and a friend and associate of the group); Julie Newmar (actress and guest star on The Monkees); longtime Monkees collector Gary Strobl and Monkees screenwriter Dave Evans; and finally, famous character actor Vito Scotti, who appeared in an episode of The Monkees and in the band's feature film, Head. (Click all photos to enlarge.)
The convention was dedicated to the late Gene Ashman, wardrobe designer on The Monkees television series and the man responsible for creating the 8-button shirts worn by the group.
In 1988, after two frenzied years on the road and in the studio, The Monkees maintained a relatively low profile. Micky, Davy, and Peter eventually toured Australia late that year, but beyond the trek down under, the only other group public appearance in '88 was at a Monkees convention in Chicago, Illinois in August. The trio were guests at the gathering, and Peter played a solo show at the Vic Theatre on August 20 to coincide with it. Micky and Davy joined Peter during the encore for both "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer."
Peter played for about 90 minutes that evening, mixing Monkees songs, solo material, and covers (including Elvis and The Beatles) throughout the set. The show was billed as "Peter Tork and Friends." The late Jerry Renino, a member of the Peter Tork Project in the early '80s who also toured with The Monkees throughout the years, played bass. A bootleg recording of the Vic concert has long floated among collectors.
During the show, Peter introduced a few friends who were in the audience that night, including Monte Landis, a frequent guest star on The Monkees television series best known for his appearance in the second season episode "The Devil and Peter Tork." Monkees associate and songwriter Bill Chadwick, producer Chip Douglas, photographer and musician Henry Diltz, and Micky's sister, Coco, sang a rendition of "Higher and Higher" with Peter as well.
Here's the set list from the concert at the Vic:
Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again
Don't Be Cruel
Hi Hi Babe
Foggy, Foggy Dew
I Truly Understand
Bye, Bye Peggy
Blues in the Bottle
Since You Went Away
All Shook Up
Wasn't in the Cards
I'll Spend My Life With You
Higher and Higher (with Bill Chadwick, Chip Douglas, Henry Diltz, and Coco Dolenz)
Get What You Pay For
Encore with Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz:
I'm a Believer
In 2019, thanks to Sherri Hansen, video of Peter's concert at the Vic was published on YouTube:
Live in 2021