By the time The Monkees' fifth million-seller album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees was issued by Colgems in April 1968, stereo had become the preferred listening experience and albums issued in mono were quickly being phased out of production. As a result, the mono mix of the Birds album was extremely limited in quantity and today is a highly, highly sought-after collectible due to its exclusive mixes and all around unique listening experience. The mono mix of The Monkees' eclectic 1968 LP was finally issued on compact disc in 2010 as part of Rhino's 3-CD deluxe edition.
To delve further into the uniqueness of the mono mix of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, check out this recent episode of Mixology: The Mono/Stereo Mix Differences Podcast hosted by Frederick James French-Pounce:
"The Girl I Knew Somewhere" has long been considered one of the most significant songs in The Monkees' canon. It was first attempted at RCA Hollywood on January 16, 1967, a significant day in Monkees history as it marked their first true "group" recording session and helped fuel an already bourgeoning internal power struggle between The Monkees and Don Kirshner.
Written by Michael Nesmith, and featuring Peter Tork's whimsical harpsichord performance, the song went through different iterations in the recording studio, including lead vocals from both Nesmith and Micky Dolenz. On its own merits, it reached the Billboard Top 40 as the flipside of "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and was featured prominently on The Monkees' television show.
Check out this recent piece by Stephen Lewis where he examines what is probably the Live Almanac's favorite Monkees song, and enjoy a few different versions of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" in the videos below!
(Master backing track)
Here's a rare Monkees collectible to start off your new year, one that I have never come across previously. A seemingly original 1969 promotional poster for The Monkees' seventh album, Instant Replay, recently sold for $335.99 on eBay!
Asking that musical question: Did Colgems intend to reissue The Monkees' catalog in late 1969/early 1970?
Ed Reilly is a first generation Monkees fan, collector, and author who co-published one of the principal books about The Monkees during the group's 1980s revival. Ed is also known for his long running column in (the now defunct) Monkee Business Fanzine. Entitled "Star Collector," Ed would break down a wide range of Monkees memorabilia, including everything from toys, trading cards, records, and much more. In 1986, Ed co-produced the Monkees convention in Philadelphia that summer.
In the article linked below, published last week on Monkee45s, Ed examines possible intentions of The Monkees' label, Colgems, during the waning days of the group in its original incarnation. Check it out!
The former Monkeesmixography website, which classified every Monkees track by mix/master/remaster, and more, is being converted into a book by Craig Smith and Derek Miner. Mixing Links: The Monkees on Disc doesn't have a release date, but fans can now review another excerpt that was recently revealed on their website! Featured in this update is "Goin' Down," originally issued as the B-side to "Daydream Believer" in October 1967. And don't forget to follow Mixing Links on Facebook!
"Goin’ Down" started life as a jam following a take of "She Hangs Out" on June 21, 1967. Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork played electric guitar with a rhythm section of "Fast" Eddie Hoh on drums and producer Chip Douglas on bass. The original tracking was recorded to 4-track tape, though it is most likely the recording was transferred to 8-track for later overdubs. The brass parts were recorded September 15, 1967, both a 12-piece accompaniment (which may have been recorded to just one mono track!) plus saxophone and trumpet solos. It is unclear if the vocals were added before or after this instrumentation.
Thanks to John at Monkee45s.net for the images seen above!
A big thank you to Richard Flynn of All Things Music Plus+ on Facebook for sharing this rare advertisement promoting The Monkees' third single, "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"/"The Girl I Knew Somewhere," originally published in the March 18, 1967 issue of Record World.
Seen below is the the cover of The Monkees' fifth album, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, in its unused, pristine state, before it was pasted onto the cardboard jacket. According to Monkee45s.net, "The first 5 Monkees LPs were pressed in stereo and mono, however all slicks were printed exactly the same. If, for example, the vinyl was a mono pressing, the word 'STEREO' on the front cover slick would be folded over the back of the LP and covered by the rear slick."
A recent eBay listing featured a sealed copy of the rare 8-track edition of The Monkees' final original studio album, 1970's Changes. Check out what was the starting bid, and for more about Monkees 8-tracks, visit John McCutcheon's wonderful Monkee45s website. And thanks to David Cox for sharing the eBay listing with The Monkees Live Almanac!
Check out these great scans of the original Colgems cassette for The Monkees' seventh album, 1969's Instant Replay, courtesy of longtime Monkees fan, collector, and author Ed Reilly:
This May, Friday Music will release two different vinyl editions of Greatest Hits, the very first compilation of Monkees music originally issued by Colgems Records in June 1969.
Here are the details, courtesy of Friday Music, and thanks to Scott Nelson for the heads-up!
In 1969, Colgems Records honored their hugely successful recording act The Monkees with their first smash hits album simply titled "The Monkees Greatest Hits." The 14 track masterpiece is loaded with hit singles like "Daydream Believer," "Last Train To Clarksville," "I'm A Believer," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," & "Valleri."
The amazing LP was only in print for a very short time, making it an instant collector's item five decades ago.
Now, Friday Music is pleased to announce 50th Anniversary super limited edition 180 gram orange audiophile vinyl release of "The Monkees Greatest Hits." Impeccably mastered by Joe Reagoso (The Monkees) from the Colgems Records tapes, the masterwork is also packaged in the original artwork design that was seen in record shops back in 1969.
More hit tracks like "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," "Valleri," "She," and "Shades Of Gray" are included as well as a super rare stereo mix of "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" to further enhance your Monkees listening experience.
The Monkees - Greatest Hits (180 Gram Audiophile Translucent Gold Vinyl/Limited Anniversary Edition)
Instant Replay, The Monkees' seventh album and the first to be released in the post-Peter Tork era, was issued by Colgems Records on February 15, 1969:
By Justin Rakowski
Salt Lake City – December 6, 1969. As The Monkees walked off stage, nothing would ever be the same. At least in terms of their original run as a quartet, that was unceremoniously reduced to a trio earlier in the year. Apart from a few contractual obligations, Michael Nesmith was no longer a Monkee. This left Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones to continue on in some capacity. In addition to making a few promotional appearances under the guise of The Monkees throughout 1970, Micky and Davy undertook what would be the final Monkees album of the original Colgems era. Released in June of 1970, Changes unfortunately did nothing to bolster their fading popularity. While the single "Oh My My" barely cracked the Billboard Hot 100, Changes failed to grab the attention of what remaining fans they had and did not chart in its initial production run.
As decades passed and different waves of Monkees reunions cropped up, leading to more positive reevaluations of their career and musical output, Changes still held a somewhat “black sheep” quality when compared to The Monkees' other Colgems records. Growing up in the 1990s, I was too young to remember the massive resurgence in popularity the group experienced during their 20th Anniversary in 1986. Luckily, I discovered the "Pre-Fab Four" through Nick at Nite reruns during the mid-90s, leading me to hunt down every album released through the Rhino Records reissues on CD. Even as a young Monkees fan, Changes carried a stigma like no other Monkees LP had and initially I barely gave it a listen. Over the course of the ensuing years, my appreciation of the album grew slightly, but it still never reached the level of importance as their other albums.
In 2012, I met the woman who I would fall in love with and ultimately marry a few short years later. On one of our first dates, I discovered that she was quite familiar with a good number of Monkees songs, albeit the ones that were featured on the show, as she too watched the Nick at Nite reruns. Naturally, I gave her copies of all their albums, excited to see which one she would hold dear to her heart. After making her way through everything, I was shocked to find that she adored Changes and had memorized the lyrics to every song featured on the album in only a few short days. Her love for the album was contagious and I now started to listen with a different set of ears and appreciate it for what it was – a solidly written and performed set of catchy bubblegum songs that acted as a perfect bookend to a period that started with an album (The Monkees) that was essentially a solidly written and performed set of catchy bubblegum songs.
Through all of this, as many Monkees fans know, the multitrack recordings for all of the Jeff Barry-produced songs from the 1970 sessions are missing. Unfortunately this also includes two tracks, "Which Way Do You Want It" and "Ride Baby Ride," that were recorded but ultimately left off the final pressing of Changes. Given all these facts, we’ve been told time and time again that a Super Deluxe set of the album would be impossible given the lack of content. Once a Super Deluxe set of Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. is released in the coming years, the journey that Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval started nearly a decade ago will have ended. As a fan of both The Monkees and Andrew, I am incredibly grateful for the amount of dedication from them to bring us such wonderful sets and can’t wait to have a shelf with all the Super Deluxe sets next to each other, providing us with perhaps the most complete auditory history of a band’s output. But, the set will feel quite lonely if Changes isn’t there in some capacity to bookend everything as it did almost 50 years ago when it was first issued.
With all of that in mind, I propose a solution. When the time comes to make a decision on the merits of a Super Deluxe set of Changes and the missing tracks that still have not been found, here is a track listing that could fill three CDs and properly tell the story of The Monkees' Colgems-era output, including Davy’s final contractual obligation for Colgems that resulted in his self-titled album released on Bell Records in 1971. With that being said, I present you with…
CHANGES (SUPER DELUXE EDITION)
23. Oh My My (Mono Promo Film Mix)
24. 99 Pounds (Stereo Remix)
25. Midnight Train (Demo)
26. I Never Thought It Peculiar (No Strings and Backing Vocals)
27. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Mono Mix without Overdubs)
28. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Mono Mix with Overdubs)
29. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Stereo Remix)
30. Time And Time Again (Take 1)
31. Time And Time Again (Mono Mix)
32. Time And Time Again (Stereo Mix)
33. Post Cereals "Monkees Cereal Box Records" Commercial
34. Kool-Aid "Nerf Ball" Commercial
35. Kool-Aid "Buzzer" & "Snake In A Can" Commercial
36. Together (Davy Jones With Sam & The Goodtimers - Live on Music Scene - December 22, 1969)
37. Interview With Davy Jones on Music Scene (December 22, 1969)
38. Oh My My (Live At The Palace Theater - Cleveland, Ohio - July 27, 1997)
39. Midnight Train (Live At The Mayo Performing Arts Center - Morristown, New Jersey - Aug. 27, 2015)
BONUS VINYL 45
"Acapulco Sun" EP by The Monkees
Oh My My
Do You Feel It Too?
Thank you very much to Justin Rakowski for submitting his essay to The Monkees Live Almanac! I would also like to acknowledge John McCutcheon's wonderful website Monkee45s for some of the scans seen above.
While prepping this piece for the Live Almanac's blog, I contacted longtime Monkees fan, collector, and author Ed Reilly to see if he could share some unique Changes-era pieces from his collection to complement Justin's work. The items below come from Ed's collection - thanks, Ed!
Bell Records released the original Monkees albums in Japan throughout 1973 and 1974:
In the fall of 1969, The Monkees television series premiered in syndication on CBS. Post Foods quickly conducted a cross-promotional exercise through their various cereal products like Alpha-Bits, Honeycomb, and Frosted Rice Krinkles by releasing Monkees cardboard singles that were printed onto the outside of the cereals' boxes.
Sometime in 1970, Post began a special offer for The Monkees Golden Hits, which collected all of the cereal box singles onto one exclusive vinyl LP that was unavailable in record stores. A coupon inside their cereal boxes advertised the album, which could be purchased for $1.50 and 2 box tops from any of the Post cereals.
Thanks a lot to Monkees collector Ed Reilly for sharing scans of the coupon found inside an Alpha-Bits box below:
Issued by The Monkees' label Colgems Records, The Monkees Golden Hits is hard to find nowadays in mint condition and is a sought-after collectible:
(The Monkees Golden Hits images courtesy of Monkee45s.net)
The Monkees' last original single on Colgems, "Oh My My," was released in April 1970. The group's fanbase had shrunk considerably by this time, and the song received limited airplay and suffered even worse sales figures. Debuting on the Billboard chart on June 6, 1970 at #99, it peaked at #98 the following week.
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.
A week before The Monkees was set to debut on NBC on September 12, 1966, The Monkees undertook a promotional tour that made stops in Chicago, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. The group would be introduced to deejays, members of the press, and record dealers. The band's first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," had been released in August and was already quickly climbing the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The promotional tour was launched in Hollywood on September 1 with a private reception at Screen Gems. A "gigantic block party" was organized to commemorate The Monkees television series, and two episodes were screened during the festivities. The Monkees gave a brief performance in front of the gathered attendees, but it's not known which songs were played.
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.
Monkees Farewell Tour