When "Someday Man"/"Listen to the Band" was issued as a single on April 15, 1969, "Someday Man" (written by Paul Williams and produced by Bones Howe) was the designated A-side and the song that was being pushed for airplay. Events would quickly change that altered the course of The Monkees' second post-Peter Tork single in 1969.
Shortly after its release, Micky, Davy, and Michael performed both sides live (along with "I'm a Believer") on The Joey Bishop Show on April 24, 1969. For this appearance the trio were supported by Sam & The Goodtimers, The Monkees' backing band throughout their 1969 concert tour.
In short time many DJs decided that they preferred the B-side, Michael's own "Listen to the Band," and started to give it more airplay. As a result, a second picture sleeve was produced by Colgems designating it as the A-side.
Despite the artistic merit of both tracks, the single's performance with the record buying public was more than underwhelming. By 1969 the popularity of The Monkees had waned, and each side of the single languished on the Billboard charts. "Someday Man" placed for just three weeks, peaking at #81 on May 17, 1969. "Listen to the Band," however, proved to have more staying power, charting for 9 weeks and peaking at #63 on July 19, 1969.
Both "Listen to the Band" and "Someday Man" were mainstays in the set list on the 1969 North American Tour, and "Listen to the Band" has been played during every Monkees tour since the group reunited in 1986. "Someday Man," however, was not performed live again by The Monkees until 2011.
Today, "Listen to the Band" is considered one of The Monkees' most eternal songs, having become an anthem of sorts for the group over time. In a 1997 interview with the British publication Melody Maker, Michael Nesmith expressed his fondness for the song.
"We [The Monkees] were off the air and it was right at the end of everything when I delivered that record and everyone said, 'No, that is not a Monkees song. This won't work.' But, much to my satisfaction, it's proved to be one of our most enduring songs. I think I was able to get everything I wanted to say about The Monkees into it. And I love the way the music recurs, the way it rolls around on itself again so it can be played over and over and over."
Nez also offered his interpretation of the song and its lyrics:
"Well, it says, 'Plays a song and no-one listens.' That's the phrase that really says it and it's able to crystallize, still, everything I was feeling at that time. It's 'He plays a song and no-one listens, I need help, I'm falling again.' It's the feeling of falling backwards into this thing of nobody getting it. But it's also, 'Play the drums a little bit louder, tell me I can live without her,' so the only thing that's going to give me comfort here is what I'm doing. It takes the spirit of the idea and really conveys it and that's what makes me the most proud. I'd love to hear someone cover that song. I don't know who could."
As 1970 drew to a close, Micky and Davy conducted one more recording session in September with producer Jeff Barry. The bubblegum-esque single "Do It In The Name of Love" (backed with "Lady Jane") would be officially credited to Dolenz & Jones and not to The Monkees. Issued in April 1971 on Bell Records (which had absorbed Colgems, The Monkees' now defunct record label), the single failed to make a dent in the charts. Below is the Japanese picture sleeve for "Do It In The Name of Love" (courtesy of Monkee45s.net). The single was released under the Monkees banner in Japan.
Below is one fan's interpretation of the picture sleeve had Peter still been a member of The Monkees at the time of the single's release on February 8, 1969.
This is my favorite advertisement created for a Monkees single, coming from the April 26, 1969 issue of Billboard and courtesy of JD at Monkee45s.net!
John London was a friend of Mike's from Texas in the pre-Monkees era who later traveled with Nez to Los Angeles in 1964. He later became Mike's stand-in on the television series and would occasionally play bass guitar on Monkees recordings. London also co-wrote "Don't Call on Me" with Nez, which appeared on The Monkees' fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. After The Monkees, Mike asked John to join him in the First National Band.
In 1967, John London became a member of the Lewis & Clarke Expedition, a country rock group that also included songwriter Michael Martin Murphey, an old friend of Mike's who composed "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" for The Monkees. (Lewis & Clarke were labelmates of The Monkees, too, both being signed to Colgems Records.) This article, from the March 1968 issue of Flip magazine, examines John and the Lewis & Clarke Expedition.
Lester Sill was the original music coordinator for The Monkees, overseeing the recording process under the helm of Don Kirshner. When Kirshner was sacked in early 1967, Sill took over as musical supervisor. He later became president of Colgems Records.
Longtime record executive Lester Sill was involved with the Monkees project from the very start. In the early days, Sill was the music coordinator for the group, overseeing the recording process under the helm of Don Kirshner. When Kirshner was sacked in early 1967, Sill took over as musical supervisor. He later became president of Colgems Records.
In this frank two part interview that originally aired in July and August 1988 on the Headquarters radio show, Sill discusses many topics, including how he got started in the music business, the Beverly Hills Hotel incident, The Monkees as musicians, his impressions of Michael, Peter's recording techniques for "Lady's Baby," traveling and recording during the 1967 summer tour, the Head soundtrack mylar cover, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, his regret on releasing "D.W. Washburn" as a single in 1968, and much more.
(Both episodes also contain some unique audio, too, including "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" from the Mobile, Alabama '67 bootleg, Davy performing in Japan in the early '80s, live material from the 1987 US tour, etc.)
The Lewis & Clarke Expedition had several Monkees connections. John London, of course, was a friend of Michael's from the pre-Monkees days and later became Michael's stand-in during filming of The Monkees television series. John also played bass on a few Monkees songs and co-wrote "Don't Call On Me" with Nez, which appeared on Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. London became a member of the First National Band in 1970.
Michael Martin Murphey and Owen Castleman are responsible for the Monkees classic "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" (and Murphey later penned "Oklahoma Backroom Dancer" for the group).
The Lewis & Clarke Expedition recorded one album on The Monkees' label, Colgems, in 1967. The article below originally appeared in the December 1967 issue of Flip.
Here's my copy of the 1970 Monkees album, Changes. Still a fairly challenging find, this is an original Colgems issue that I consider to be in great condition.
This ad for the Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album was published in the November 25, 1967 issue of Cashbox, and is courtesy of Monkee45s.net.
Micky Dolenz Live
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart returns