The Monkees completed production for their first and only motion picture, Head, with the filming of the "Circle Sky" concert scene at the Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 17, 1968. They performed the Michael Nesmith original (seen below in video, complete with graphic images from the Vietnam War) several times for the cameras and the assembled crowd of four thousand fans.
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!
Here's a real treat: Parade magazine conducted an interview yesterday with Micky Dolenz, Coco Dolenz, legendary photographer Henry Diltz, and Monkees producer Chip Douglas on their Facebook page in promotion of It's Christmas Time Once More, a collection of holiday classics recorded by Davy Jones.
The album, originally issued in 1991 as It's Christmas Time Again, was re-released in November 2020 after being given a contemporary treatment featuring Davy's original vocals along with brand new guest appearances by Micky, Coco, Henry, and Davy's singer/songwriter daughter Annabel Jones, all overseen by The Monkees' celebrated producer Chip Douglas (Headquarters, "Daydream Believer," and more).
It's Christmas Time Once More is now available to download on iTunes and stream on Apple Music, Amazon, and Spotify. You can also purchase a compact disc edition from the official Davy Jones Shop.
Enjoy the interview below:
The Monkees Live Almanac is saddened by the news of the passing of Ryan Brady. Ryan was a Vice President at Atlantic Records and host of the popular Paul McCartney-themed podcast, Take It Away. He and Annabel Jones were married in 2018. The Live Almanac would like to pass along condolences to Annabel and all those who knew Ryan.
UPDATE 12/8/2020: Annabel Jones has posted tributes on Facebook to her late husband, Ryan Brady, including an announcement of the Ryan Brady Memorial Fund:
The Monkees' expansive 1969 tour stopped at the California State Fair in Sacramento on September 4, 1969. John Hurst of the Sacramento Bee reviewed the show, as documented by Andrew Sandoval in his book The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
"The audience game them the Star Spangled Banner treatment last night when they appeared in front of the State Fair grandstand - [meaning they] stood through the entire first half of [the group's] show ... When Micky Dolenz dangled his legs over the edge [of the stage] as he sat to sing a song, there was a stampede to touch him. He quickly retrieved his feet and the girls went back to flinging their crumpled wads of paper onto the stage. ... The concert opened with a group called Queen Lily Soap, playing a kind of Hebraic-psychedelic rock with occasional lapses into the dance tempo of the hora. Then Sam & The Goodtimers, the six-man group that backs up The Monkees, took over to warm up the audience. ... [The Monkees] gave the huge crowd a good show."
In 1987, The Monkees released their first album of all new material since 1970. Pool It! arrived in August of that year from Rhino Records, preceded by the LP's first single and music video, "Heart and Soul," which made its mark on select channels and Nickelodeon (but famously not MTV).
The article below, "The Monkees: All New Tracks to Satisfy the Faithful," was originally published in Pulse!, a magazine that was available at Tower Records locations in the '80s. It includes comments from the album's producer, Roger Bechirian. Thanks to Keith Combs who shared the article on Facebook a while back, and I thought it would be nice to archive it in the Live Almanac's Pool It! category. Thanks, Keith!
This ad for Pool It! and "Heart and Soul" was included in the same issue of Pulse!:
While we're on the subject, here's a rare behind the scenes photo of Peter, Micky, and Davy during filming of the "Heart and Soul" video in Los Angeles in July 1987:
Finally, earlier this fall Henry Diltz shared this outtake from the Pool It! album cover photo session on his Facebook page:
In 1991, Davy Jones released the cassette tape It's Christmas Time Again. And now, almost thirty years later, the album has been given a contemporary treatment featuring Davy's original vocals, along with guest appearances by Micky Dolenz, Coco Dolenz, Henry Diltz, and Davy's singer/songwriter daughter Annabel Jones, all overseen by celebrated Monkees producer Chip Douglas.
Douglas was at the helm for The Monkees' two most acclaimed albums, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., as well as some of their best single sides, including "Daydream Believer," "Goin' Down," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Words," and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere." He recently talked about the opportunity to revisit Davy's early '90s holiday collection. "This was a rare chance to remix and enhance these recordings by adding the lovely voice of Davy's daughter Annabel whose heartwarming vocals on 'White Christmas' and 'Silent Night' were well above and beyond my expectations," Douglas told Rolling Stone. "Micky and Coco Dolenz beautifully enhanced 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and Henry Diltz, and other friends, added just the right gusto to 'Hark The Herald Angels Sing.'"
"Singing with my dad on this record was an extremely beautiful and healing experience," Annabel said in a statement. "What a gift to be able to share a moment like this!"
The Monkees delivered their first-ever holiday album, Christmas Party, via Rhino Records in 2018. That album featured posthumous contributions by Davy Jones, who passed away in 2012.
It's Christmas Time Once More is now available to download on iTunes and stream on Apple Music, Amazon, and Spotify.
People has just published an interview with Annabel Jones where she speaks about singing with her father and much more.
Rolling Stone is also covering the release of Davy's Christmas album.
The Associated Press included Davy's Christmas album in a laundry list of reviews spotlighting current holiday releases:
Get ready to get in the holiday mood with Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Goo Goo Dolls, Jamie Cullum, Davy Jones, Keedron Bryant, Leslie Odom, Jr. and more
UPDATE 12/5/2020: It's Christmas Time Once More is now available to purchase on compact disc from the official Davy Jones Shop.
The final episode of the first season of The Monkees, "Monkees on Tour," was a documentary that chronicled the group's appearance at Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona on January 21, 1967 during their earliest live performances:
Have you heard the latest episodes of Mark Kleiner's podcast Nesmith Tork Goffin & King??? Mark's series on The Monkees' 1987 album Pool It!, as highlighted in a previous post on the Live Almanac's blog, continues below, along with much more!
Listen: Monkee Wash, Donkey Rinse
Mark is in conversation with New York Times writer John Leland about The Monkees in the 1980s, and Keith Allison recalls writing and recording "Auntie's Municipal Court" and explains why he's often uncredited. This episode also features a rare Peter Tork live performance of "Lady's Baby" from 1979, as well as a live rendition of "Right Now" as performed by Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart at the Cleveland Agora on June, 10, 1976. Finally, Mark talks to Matt Harris, who provided background vocals on Pool It!
In this episode, Mark continues his retrospective of Pool It! featuring exclusive interviews with producer Roger Béchirian and music supervisor Lou Maxfield, along with two integral musicians on the sessions, Mark Christian and Michael Egizi.
And, Rhino Records legend Bill Inglot offers insight into the podcast's ongoing inquiry of the "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" remix mystery. You can also hear a rare live "50s Medley" as performed by Davy Jones and Peter Tork during their 1986 Sounds of the Monkees Australian Tour.
Enjoy the third installment of NTGK's profile on Pool It! featuring never-before-revealed studio moments from producer Roger Béchirian, music supervisor Lou Natkin, session musicians Mark Christian and Michael Egizi, plus the world premiere of the demo for "The Weight of Love," an original Bobby Hart/Dick Eastman composition submitted for consideration for inclusion on the Pool It! album.
1980s Arista Records executive Roy Lott shares a behind-the-scenes perspective on the alleged second single from Then & Now ... The Best of the Monkees ("Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere") that threatens to rewrite the entire historical record, and culminates in a party at Quincy Jones' mansion for Whitney Houston.
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!
If you are fan of The Monkees' 1987 album, Pool It! (and even if you are not), this edition of the Nesmith, Tork, Goffin & King podcast will be sure to please! Listen as host Mark Kleiner inquires about the seemingly long-lost second version of "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" with the song's co-writer Dick Eastman and chats with '80s Monkees manager David Fishof about record label interest for Pool It! Mark also speaks with former Rhino Records graphic artist Lisa Sutton, who discusses the album cover photo session, and finally, there's a revealing interview with the LP's producer, Roger Bechirian.
But wait, there's more! Mark also debuts the previously unheard demo for "Heart and Soul," the first single issued from Pool It!
This article, submitted by longtime friend of the Live Almanac Al Bigley (who is also co-host of the Texas Prairie Chicken Home Companion podcast), features a conversation with The Monkees during a West Coast promotional tour for their 1968 feature film, Head. Peggy King reports in the December 7, 1968 edition of the Oakland Tribune on The Monkees' feelings about the end of their NBC television series, including what King calls their "famous Flying Saucer episode," Michael Nesmith's ruminations of future Monkees activities, discussion of a double album (that never came to fruition), filming the TV special that became 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, and more. A highly recommended read for Monkees fans!
This photo of The Monkees, previously seen on social media and various online outlets, was seemingly taken during this Oakland Tribune interview:
And don't forget to listen to the latest episode of the Texas Prairie Chicken Home Companion!
On October 1, 1968, The Monkees were greeted rapturously as they arrived in Japan to perform a series of live concerts in that country for the very first time. One of these historic shows was filmed (most likely during the two day, three-concert stay at Budokan Hall in Tokyo on October 3 and 4, 1968) and later broadcast on Japanese television. The audio recording and video footage, however, has never been officially released. The audio (straight from the video) has long existed as a bootleg (complete with Japanese voice introductions before each song), but much to the chagrin of Monkees fans, the video footage is presumed lost or destroyed.
Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval has confirmed that multiple attempts have been made to find the missing video footage. "It was definitely broadcast and there has been communication with TBS [Tokyo Broadcasting System] in Japan to retrieve anything they had," he wrote on Facebook in 2017. "We asked many times and have been told they have nothing. Unless they made a film print of the video, it is unlikely it survived."
I first acquired a cassette tape of this particular concert in the late 1980s that ultimately relayed a sprightly and resolute performance by The Monkees, exhibiting just how far these four individuals with disparate musical backgrounds had come to achieving a "group" sound in a relatively short amount of time.
For years, Monkees fans have clamored for some sort of official release of this concert, even if it was just the audio portion as it seems the video footage has seemingly been lost to time. In the latest twist of this long-sought after piece of Monkees history, Live Almanac contributor Justin Rakowski has commenced a project to restore the original Japanese concert bootleg. In an effort to present the cleanest audio possible while also removing the invasive voice introductions before every song, Justin has "demixed" the audio. For those that aren’t familiar with "demixing," Justin relayed some details to the Live Almanac. "It’s essentially the process of using specific programs that can run a algorithm on a mono track and separate out individual signals like vocals, guitars, bass, and drums," Justin said. "The inherent problem with the Japan concert is not only the mono mix but the narrator that talks over the beginning of each song."
Justin talked more about the challenges of his project. "Obviously the parts where the announcer talks is the hardest area to fix. It's easier when the announcer is not talking over The Monkees' performances. Even when there is commentary over the instrumental beginning of each song, I can remove the announcer, but the music underneath sounds like someone is playing with the volume knob so the music cuts in and out, leaving some bars with no recoverable information. So what I’ve done is flown in other parts of the song in to fix those areas."
And now, here are the initial results of Justin's experiment! While we're all doing our best to hunker down during this international health crisis, take a listen to Justin's work and keep your fingers crossed that the video of this concert finally emerges!
UPDATE 4/16/2020: Justin has completed this project and has uploaded the entire 1968 Japanese concert. Thanks again, Justin! (Individual clips still appear below.)
The Monkees Live in Japan 1968 - Complete Show (Stereo Demix)
"Last Train to Clarksville" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I Wanna Be Free" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Johnny B. Goode" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"D.W. Washburn" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"It's Nice To Be With You" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"I'm a Believer" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
"Salesman" (Live in Japan 1968 - Stereo Demix)
For "Salesman," Justin has offered up something special:
"Enjoy this 'what if' video using my newly demixed track of 'Salesman' synced up with edits of the 8mm Australia tour footage posted by Iain Lee's RareMonkees YouTube page."
In this sequel to Long Title: Looking for the Good Times; Examining the Monkees Songs, One By One, authors Michael A. Ventrella and Mark Arnold look at the careers The Monkees had outside of the TV show and the band: From Micky’s early appearances as "Circus Boy" through Peter’s financial and legal problems to become a respected performer with his band Shoe Suede Blues, to Davy’s frustration with record labels and his many solo albums for his fans, to Michael’s evolution from country rock founder to the creator of MTV and video technology ahead of many others. They look at the various reunion concerts, the movies and plays, and the ups and downs of their varied careers, all with insight and humor.
Below is commentary found on the back cover of Headquartered: A Timeline of the Monkees Solo Years, courtesy of Dean Friedman:
"Some people are so ignorant as to imagine that The Monkees are not a 'real' band. That’s crazy! That’s like saying that lemon meringue pie is not 'real' food. They’re both an inspired synthesis of disparate wholesome, delicious, natural ingredients combined, orchestrated and executed with expert skill and sublime results. What this book makes irrefutably clear is that all four Monkees were consummate professionals – talented musicians and skilled performers, all – producing strong, creative, original, yet inexplicably unheralded, music recordings and video content before, during and after their frenzied 'Monkees' moment. Never underestimate a 'pop star.' There’s always more to them than you could ever imagine. This book proves it. I will always love lemon meringue pie. And I will always love The Monkees."