Rolling Stone makes it official: The Monkees to release first holiday album, "Christmas Party," on October 12 (UPDATED X2)
Two years after the triumph of Good Times!, The Monkees are set to release Christmas Party, their first-ever collection of holiday music. The album, produced by Adam Schlesinger (who also oversaw Good Times!), will feature newly recorded versions of classic Christmas songs including "Silver Bells," "The Christmas Song," and "Wonderful Christmastime" along with brand new songs written for the group by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo ("What Would Santa Do"), Andy Partridge of XTC ("Unwrap You At Christmas"), R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 ("Christmas Party"), and Schlesinger with novelist Michael Chabon ("House of Broken Gingerbread"). Covers of Wizzard's yuletide classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Big Star's "Jesus Christ" will also be heard on the album.
Christmas Party includes new vocals by Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, plus the late Davy Jones’ voice - taken from vintage recordings - also appears on two songs. It will be available for purchase on compact disc and as a digital download on October 12. A vinyl edition is in the works but will not be issued until early 2019. The first single, set for an October release, will be Andy Partridge's "Unwrap You At Christmas," and a lyric video will be produced to promote the track.
Along with producer Schlesinger, Cuomo and Partridge are returning to the Monkees fold as they were the songwriters responsible for the two lead singles from Good Times!, "She Makes Me Laugh" and "You Bring the Summer." Two of Michael Nesmith's sons also acted as co-producers (Christian on "The Christmas Song" and Jonathan on "Snowfall").
Davy's tracks on Christmas Party were originally recorded years ago with former Monkees producer Chip Douglas. Schlesinger worked with the master tapes as given to him by Douglas, creating new instrumentation around Davy's vocals.
Target will carry an exclusive bonus tracks edition of Christmas Party on October 19 (a week after the release of the standard edition), featuring two additional songs:
1) "Ríu Chíu" (group version as heard on the 1967 "Christmas Show" episode with improved audio from its previous CD appearance on the 2007 deluxe edition of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.)
2) "Christmas Is My Time Of Year" (the one-off 1976 Christmas single recorded by Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork and produced by Chip Douglas - this will mark its first official appearance on a Monkees album)
Here is the official track listing of Christmas Party, and you can listen to the LP's executive producer John Hughes (of Rhino Records) and Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval breakdown each song on the latest episode of Zilch.
"Unwrap You At Christmas" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"What Would Santa Do" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Mele Kalikimaka" (Lead vocal: Davy)
"House Of Broken Gingerbread" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"The Christmas Song" (Lead vocal: Michael)
"Christmas Party" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Jesus Christ" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Silver Bells" (Lead vocal: Davy)
"Wonderful Christmastime" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Snowfall" (Lead vocal: Michael)
"Angels We Have Heard On High" (Lead vocal: Peter)
"Merry Christmas, Baby" (Lead vocal: Micky)
Stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for all the latest news and information surrounding Christmas Party and more!
Thanks to Written In Our Hearts on Facebook for sharing this photo of Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones taken circa 1976 or 1977:
In October 1971, Bell Records released Davy Jones' second solo album. The eponymous effort arrived during a challenging period in Davy's career. The Monkees last LP, Changes, had failed to chart a year before, and the group's television series (despite being a hit in syndication in the early 1970s), had been canceled in 1968. With a considerably lower profile, Davy struggled to find an audience in the immediate post-Monkees years.
Produced by Jackie Mills and arranged by Al Capps, the album yielded a couple of singles (and two more additional non-LP singles would follow on Bell). "Rainy Jane" was issued in May 1971 and backed with "Welcome to My Love." The lead single ended up achieving moderate success, peaking at #52 on Billboard, #32 on Cash Box, and #31 on Record World.
The second single taken from the album, "I Really Love You"/"Sitting In The Apple Tree," was less successful, peaking at #107 on Billboard, #96 on Cash Box, and #106 on Record World. The B-side was written by Doug Trevor of The Cherokees, the group that opened for The Monkees in Australia in 1968.
Outside of Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield's "Rainy Jane," the album featured songs written by largely unknown songwriters, an exception being the brooding "Look at Me," composed by David Gates of the 1970s band Bread. (Gates also wrote "Saturday's Child" for The Monkees in 1966.)
The opening track, "Road to Love," easily qualifies as a highlight from the album. It was later selected as the B-side of the non-LP single "I'll Believe In You," released by Bell in early 1972. The single failed to chart.
It's well known that Davy did not enjoy his association with Bell Records. He often vocalized his disdain for the Bell experience, claiming his talents were misused and that he was never given the opportunity to grow as an artist while under their auspices. He ultimately left Bell and later recorded for MGM Records throughout 1972.
In Davy's 1987 autobiography, They Made a Monkee Out of Me, he says next to nothing about the Davy Jones album, leaving co-author Alan Green to discuss this era of Davy's career. After assessing Changes (another effort Davy always publicly disowned), Green summarized the 1971 Bell album this way:
"Davy still had one more disaster to go before he finally broke with Screen Gems in 1971. They got him a deal to do one album on Bell, with Screen Gems publishing. He was teamed up with Jackie Mills, Bobby Sherman's producer, who still saw Davy as a bubblegum singer. He wouldn't allow him to break out of that mold into something a little more challenging, in the way that he was attempting to do with his live shows. The result was one more unoriginal piece of vinyl, from which four singles were released. Only the first, 'Rainy Jane,' made any impression on the charts.
"Davy was very upset with the way the whole thing was handled. He didn't have a manager at the time and was therefore at the mercy of the record company executives. He asked for just his picture and name to be on the cover, but he obviously didn't ask loudly enough. They put out a cheap-looking thing that had the song titles and company logo on the front cover. Davy complained, but to no avail."
The Davy Jones Bell album was eclipsed in time by Davy's iconic appearance later in 1971 on The Brady Bunch, where he sang the song "Girl." Despite being promoted by Davy's guest spot and in the movie The Star-Spangled Girl, as a single it failed to chart. But the song's legend has grown to iconic status through the years thanks to countless reruns of the "Getting Davy Jones" episode and its inclusion in Monkees concert set lists in the 1990s and early 2000s. Davy also appeared in the 1995 cinematic version of The Brady Bunch where he sang "Girl," albeit in a new, grunge-like version.
In 2012, Friday Music released The Bell Recordings on compact disc, which collected the original 1971 Bell album and the singles recorded during that era. It is currently available to download on iTunes and can be streamed on Apple Music.
Thank you very much to Ben Belmares for the scans of Davy's Bell album!
This past June, Davy's daughters Talia Jones Roston, Sarah Jones McFadden, Jessica Cramer Jones, and Annabel Jones formed Along Came Jones Media to assist in the preservation of their father's legacy. The organization's initial Facebook post designated a book as their debut project, and fans will be happy to know that When the World & I Were Young: Snapshots from the Collection of Davy Jones will be available this September! The cover appears below, and a description of the book follows.
UPDATE 9/5/2018: When the World & I Were Young: Snapshots from the Collection of Davy Jones is now available from Amazon.
From the back cover:
In the summer of 1967, The Monkees hit the road for their first major concert tour. With the success of their hit TV show energizing fans, they were greeted with screams, hysteria, love, and applause everywhere they went.
It was a lot for four young guys to take in. Fortunately, they all had cameras—Kodak Instamatic 104s, to be exact!
From June through August, The Monkees were on the go-go. Beginning at the Hollywood Bowl, the tour took them from LA to London and everywhere in between. Along the way, they introduced the US to one of their most ground-breaking opening acts: The Jimi Hendrix Experience!
Whether you were there, or just wish you had been, this rare collection of candids brings the summer of 1967 back to life. Featuring many never-before-seen images of The Monkees, their friends, and even some of their fans, When the World & I Were Young - Snapshots from the Collection of Davy Jones is a treasure that captures the excitement and spirit of the Summer of Love as only The Monkees could have experienced it.
Enjoy this groovy trip down memory lane with one of the hottest groups of the era, The Monkees!
The latest single release from the illustrious 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.
The limited edition 7" red vinyl single featuring "Rainbows" b/w "You Don't Have To Be A Country Boy" was released by 7a Records last month, and 7a co-founder Glenn Gretlund has confirmed with the Live Almanac that it's now officially sold out. "Only 500 were pressed and we don't have any left," Glenn told me earlier today. "Some retailers might have a very limited amount of stock left, but once it's gone, that's it."
The Live Almanac has received multiple emails inquiring whether or not the single would be made available on digital or streaming platforms, and fans will be happy to know that "Rainbows" is now ready for download on iTunes and to stream on Spotify and Apple Music! "Only the 'A' side is available," Glenn told the Live Almanac. "We don't have digital rights to 'You Don't Have To Be A Country Boy To Sing A Country Song,' but we hope to be able to add the track to a future CD release."
Micky, Davy, and Michael were guests on Glen Campbell's variety show on February 5, 1969. The trio performed "Last Train to Clarksville," "I'm a Believer," and "Salesman" live and lip-synced "Tear Drop City" (their brand new single at the time) after a series of comedy sketches.
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.
It was announced today on Facebook that Davy's daughters, Talia Jones Roston, Sarah Jones McFadden, Jessica Cramer Jones, and Annabel Jones will be developing a wide variety of projects inspired by the archives he left to them after Davy's passing in 2012. Below is the press release as presented on Facebook:
The four daughters of The Monkees’ Davy Jones have announced that they have formed a production company. Along Came Jones Media is dedicated to honoring Jones’ legacy by developing projects that showcase his work as an actor, singer, songwriter, and artist.
Jones is best known for singing, playing tambourine, and falling in love on the ground-breaking musical sitcom The Monkees, which ran on NBC from 1966-68. Much more than a 1960s pop sensation however, Jones enjoyed success on radio, television, and the stage as a child in his native England. He also apprenticed as a jockey before coming to the United States to pursue opportunities as an actor.
Arriving in New York City in 1963, Jones received rave reviews as the Artful Dodger in the original Broadway production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver! This success led to more stage work, and eventually a contract with Screen Gems, where he was ultimately cast in The Monkees in late 1965.
His daughters say that they’re looking forward to sharing more with fans about their father’s depth as an artist through Along Came Jones. “Most people know Dad as a singer and actor, but he was also a very talented artist, writer, and photographer,” says his eldest daughter, Talia Jones Roston.
Roston and her sisters, Sarah Jones McFadden, Jessica Cramer Jones, and Annabel Jones will be developing a wide variety of projects inspired by the archives he left to them after his passing in 2012.
Sarah Jones McFadden says that her father’s archives are full of unexpected treasures. “He left behind a lot of surprises and gems that are going thrill his fans in the years to come,” she says. “The primary focus for us, however, is to develop projects in a way that does him justice as an artist, and that would make him proud.”
The first project being developed by Along Came Jones Media is a book, expected to be available in the second half of 2018. Updates and information will be available on the company’s Facebook page, and on its website, alongcamejonesmedia.com.
FNB Redux Tour
Micky Dolenz Live
Now Available from 7a Records