In 1975, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork gathered together to consider several offers to reunite The Monkees. "We met up at my house, up in the Hollywood Hills," Micky told Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval in a previously published interview. "I think it was William Morris [agency] or something expressed an interest in putting the act back together. Everybody was very enthusiastic about it on the surface. You know, 'Oh great, great idea,' but when it got down to the nitty-gritty there were too many conflicting feelings and attitudes. Actually I remember it being really exciting. We all got together for the first time in quite a few years in the same room and there was a hell of a buzz."
Despite friendly discussions between the ex-Monkees during this time period, the group ultimately did not reform. "They wanted to do something different and new," said Jones of Nesmith and Tork to Steve Hoffman in September 1976. "They forgot the audience has been waiting out there for The Monkees to return." However, Micky and Davy were interested in teaming up once again and instead turned to Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart was the idea of Christian DeWalden, a music publisher, producer, and friend of Bobby Hart. Boyce & Hart were responsible for writing and producing some of The Monkees' greatest hits ("Last Train to Clarksville," "Steppin' Stone," "Valleri"), and had a successful recording career of their own. The foursome created a new act and toured as The Great Golden Hits of The Monkees - The Guys Who Wrote 'Em and the Guys Who Sang 'Em. Their concert show combined Monkees classics, new material, and Boyce & Hart hits. "It was based on the idea of having the guys who wrote a lot of songs and the guys who sang them perform together," Davy explained in 1975. "So we talked about it and agreed and went into rehearsals for three weeks, and then we went to St. Louis and pulled 22,000 kids in two shows." The Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart act would record and perform together through 1976.
This July, 7a Records will officially re-release the recorded legacy of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. The UK-based label, headed by Glenn Gretlund, will deliver a 2-CD and 2-LP deluxe edition of the group's 1976 studio album originally issued by Capitol Records, along with Concert in Japan, taped in Tokyo that same year, which was ultimately released in that country in 1981 (and later on compact disc by the label Varese Sarabande in 1996).
Both albums are remastered from the original tapes. The CD edition will include a 40-page booklet with brand new liner notes and previously unseen photographs, while the LP edition will be housed in a gatefold sleeve on green, yellow, and black "quad" vinyl.
Various media outlets have reported on 7a's revival of the long out of print Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart albums, the latest in a very busy year for the label:
Second Disc: I Remember the Feeling: 7a Records Reissues Studio and Live Albums from Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart
Here's a sneak peak at the rear covers for the vinyl and compact disc editions:
Legendary singer/songwriter Bobby Hart is JR's latest guest on "The Monkees Pad Show." Bobby discusses the life and death of his partner and friend, Tommy Boyce, writing and producing for The Monkees, the legacy of Boyce & Hart on record and television, their 1987 reunion, the Dolenz, Jones Boyce & Hart era, and much, much more!
Here is a wonderful artifact from the past: a complete issue of A Book of Davy Love, a newsletter devoted to Davy Jones. Iain Lee, British broadcaster and co-owner (along with Glenn Gretlund) of 7a Records, is currently scanning items from his Monkees collection and shared this particular piece with the Live Almanac.
It's easy to forget that in the pre-internet era of the 1970s through much of the 1990s, fan clubs and their newsletters were the ultimate source of Monkees news and information. I fondly recall, as a new fan in the '80s during The Monkees' 20th Anniversary resurgence, eagerly awaiting the latest issues of Monkee Business Fanzine and The Monkees/Boyce & Hart Photo Fan Club. Imagine all of the work involved in collecting submissions, typing stories, inserting pictures, and getting copies of the final draft printed, stapled, folded, and mailed!
This issue of A Book of Davy Love, published in 1976, includes a detailed "News" section with lots of updates about the activities of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart at the peak of their touring and recording career, including a promotional photo and fan reviews for their 1975 single, "I Remember the Feeling." Other parts of the newsletter include "Poetry Corner" and "What It's Like Being a Davy Fan Abroad." "The First Time" documents stories about fans meeting The Monkees during their 1969 tour as well as details surrounding the filming of Davy's 1972 TV special, POP! Finally, "Memorable Concert Moments" highlights The Monkees in concert in 1967 and 1969, along with Michael Nesmith & The First National Band at KRNT Theatre in Des Moines, Iowa in 1970.
Thanks again, Iain, for taking the time to scan this newsletter and for sharing it with the Live Almanac. And don't forget, coming soon from 7a Records: Davy Jones Live in Japan, now available to pre-order!
This appears to be an advertisement for the July 20, 1976 Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart concert at Yubin Chokin Hall in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo show was recorded and released as a vinyl LP set in Japan in 1981. The live album was never given a formal release in the United States or elsewhere until 1996, when it was issued on compact disc by Varese Vintage.
Can any of our Japanese friends help with a translation?
(Courtesy of Written In Our Hearts on Facebook)
Micky, Davy, Tommy, and Bobby performed at Country Aire in Appleton, Wisconsin on July 27, 1975:
Here's a photo that was posted yesterday on Davy's official Facebook page, one that I had never seen before! And don't forget to check out the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart entry here at the Live Almanac which was recently updated with new quotes, information, and tour dates, courtesy of Andrew Sandoval and The Monkees' 50th Anniversary Tour program!
I'm fairly certain this photo was taken at Swingos Hotel while Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart were performing in Cleveland, Ohio at the Agora Theatre on June 10, 1976. Micky's arm is in a sling due to a hang gliding mishap.
A live recording of a Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart show, Concert in Japan (recorded on July 20, 1976 at Yubin Chokin Hall in Tokyo, Japan), was released as a vinyl LP set in Japan in 1981. At the time, the live album was never given a formal release in the United States or elsewhere. A big thanks to Ben Belmares for sharing his photos of the original Japanese LP:
Concert in Japan was finally issued on compact disc in the United States in 1996 during The Monkees' 30th Anniversary, featuring liner notes by Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval. Once again, Ben Belmares was kind enough to save me the time of scanning my copy of the CD and provided everything below:
A live recording of a Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart show, Concert in Japan (recorded on July 20, 1976 at Yubin Chokin Hall in Tokyo, Japan), was initially available only in Japan in 1981. The album was later distributed on compact disc in the United States in 1996. This is a poster that was included inside the Japanese album.
Thanks to Fred Velez who submitted this photo of a poster of Micky and Davy included inside the Japanese release of the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart album.
This is the fourth in a series of guest articles that have been submitted to The Monkees Live Almanac in celebration of the group's 50th Anniversary.
1986 was an incredible year for Monkees fans with the record breaking 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour featuring Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork, fueled by a major promotion by MTV and the single "That Was Then, This Is Now," and topped off by Michael Nesmith appearing with the group at the Greek Theatre and in that year's MTV Christmas video. For many fans that had discovered The Monkees through MTV or oldies radio, and the original fans that followed the group from the beginning, it was a momentous time. But for some fans like me, the 1986 reunion on a grander scale felt like déjà vu, going back to the years 1975 to 1977 when the "first" Monkees reunion took place.
Things didn't look so rosy after 1970 for Monkees fans, with both Peter Tork and later Michael Nesmith quitting the group, leaving Micky and Davy to carry on as The Monkees with a contractually obligated final album, Changes, which never charted during its original release. A very brief promotional tour that included a video for the single "Oh My My" (which barely made a chart dent), and a final single, "Do It In The Name Of Love/Lady Jane," wrapped up all things Monkees as Micky and Davy called it a day. Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones were the two most visible Monkees during the immediate post-Monkees period. Davy made the rounds on TV shows like The Brady Bunch and released an album and some singles through Bell Records. Nesmith found some solo success with the First National Band and the singles "Joanne" and "Silver Moon," along with some critically acclaimed albums. Micky Dolenz returned to acting, appearing in films like Night Of The Strangler and Keep Off My Grass and recording some singles for MGM, which never charted. Peter Tork largely fell off the radar, briefly working with his post-Monkees band Release. In the meantime, The Monkees TV series was given a new lease on life with Saturday morning reruns. By the time the Saturday reruns ended in 1972, The Monkees were pretty much considered a spent force.
Or so it appeared. While there was little news on The Monkees' activities being covered in the teen magazines that used to feature them prominently on their front covers, active Monkees fan clubs did their best to keep a small but still loyal fan base up to date. One bit of news that alerted fans was a report that Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones appeared together at a celebrity tennis match in Japan in which thousands of fans flocked to see them in person. Micky and Davy were so thrilled and overwhelmed by the reaction that they both concluded that there was still some life in The Monkees.
On their return to the United States they held a meeting at Micky’s house with Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork about the possibility of a Monkees reunion. Nesmith, who was still very busy with his solo career, declined to participate, as did Tork. Micky and Davy proceeded with Plan B and contacted the songwriting team of Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart (who were responsible for a plethora of Monkees hits, including "Last Train to Clarksville," "Steppin' Stone," and "Valleri") about conducting a joint tour as The Guys Who Wrote 'Em and The Guys Who Sang 'Em. Tommy and Bobby were the perfect choice since they produced the earliest Monkees recording sessions and were instrumental in developing the group's sound. For legal reasons they couldn't call themselves "The Monkees" so they decided to go the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young route and named their new group Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. A band was formed with ex-Raider Keith Allison on lead guitar, who also acted as musical director. In 1975, their debut concert at Six Flags Old Glory Amphitheater drew an excited crowd of 20,000 fans. Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart toured, playing to enthusiastic crowds that consisted of not only original fans from the 1960s but also newer fans who had discovered them through the syndicated reruns of The Monkees television show. On top of that, Arista Records, which had inherited The Monkees' recordings from Colgems and later Bell Records, had reissued the 1972 Bell Re-Focus album as The Monkees Greatest Hits in 1976. As the original Monkees albums were long discontinued, this album helped to introduce many newer fans to The Monkees' music. (The Monkees Greatest Hits became a best-seller, certified gold in 1986 and platinum in 1991, and remained available through the 1990s with cassette and compact disc editions also appearing.)
Thanks to the success of their live concerts, Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart were able to negotiate a contract with Capitol Records and recorded a new single called "I Remember The Feeling" (written by Boyce & Hart), backed with the Dolenz & Jones composition "You and I" (their first collaboration together). Though it received little airplay the single did help to spark excitement in the group, who soon recorded a full album that was released to coincide with the 1976 leg of their tour.
The tour finally brought them to New York City where they played a residency at the old Riverboat night club at the foot of the Empire State Building. Because of the demand from many younger fans who were unable to attend the evening shows, special matinees were scheduled to accommodate those fans. It was at the matinee shows that I first got to see two members of The Monkees in concert. This excerpt from my book, A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You: The Monkees From A Fan’s Perspective, captures a little of the fan craziness at the Riverboat:
"The Riverboat Club had a General Admission policy and my sister Cookie was definitely determined that we get a good seat. On the day of the show we left extra early so we could get to the Riverboat Club before everyone else. When we arrived there were just a couple of fans on line so we quickly got into place behind them and waited. Soon, more fans arrived and lined up behind us. It wasn't too long before the line started to wrap around the block. In order to alleviate some of the street congestion the line was causing, the Riverboat management allowed some of us to move up into the club. We lined up at the top of the winding staircase that you had to walk down to get to the stage area which was below street level. My sister Cookie made sure that she was one of the first in line, and she turned to me and said 'You stay close, I’ll make sure we get good seats!' With Cookie's determination, I wasn’t going to argue!"
"It was getting closer to show time and there was quite a long line snaking out the Riverboat door into the street at the foot of the Empire State Building. The management allowed those towards the front of the line to go down to the bottom of the staircase where a velvet rope kept us in place. Finally, a gentleman came forward and started to remove the rope and told us not to rush for the seats that were waiting for us at the front of the stage. As soon as the rope was removed, my sister and I along with some of the fans who were waiting with us made a dash for the seats. It was in the rush that Cookie fell, twisting her ankle. I suddenly had a tough choice to make, continue to the front seats or help my sister. I struggled with that decision for just a few seconds, but then I opted for the latter, Cookie would clobber me otherwise! I reached down, took her hand and lifted her up off the floor and assisted her as she hobbled towards the stage. We didn’t get the front row like we wanted, but we did get seats in the second row, which were just as good. My sister sat in her seat, and kept shifting her foot to ease the pain a little, and although we were both a little disappointed we didn't get the front row, we were happy that we at least got as close to the stage as we could."
Seeing Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones in concert for the first time, performing alongside Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart with Keith Allison, was an incredible experience for me as a Monkees fan. After the Riverboat show Micky signed my "Oh My My" picture sleeve.
The highlight of the 1976 tour took place on July 4th at Disneyland in California when Peter Tork joined Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart onstage, playing bass guitar on "Last Train to Clarksville" and (Theme from) The Monkees."
After Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart disbanded, Micky and Davy toured together in 1977 along with Micky’s sister, Coco, backed by the Laughing Dogs. Peter eventually joined Micky, Davy, and Coco in Hollywood for an acoustic set that included the Dolenz and Jones composition "You and I." Davy Jones even commented during this moment that "We need Mike Nesmith up here," to the full agreement of the cheering fans in attendance. After the duo's 1977 tour ended, Micky and Davy traveled to England to perform in the stage version of Harry Nilsson's The Point before once again going their separate ways. Micky stayed in England to begin a new career as a television director and Davy dabbled in theater.
The parallels between the 1975-77 DJB&H/Micky & Davy tours with the 1986 Monkees 20th Anniversary Tour are quite interesting. In both cases, the reruns of the TV series and advance fan anticipation were major factors. Fans were well-informed about the reunion tours through fan magazines like Monkee Business and The Purple Flower Gang. MTV's airing of The Monkees series in 1986 helped to steep the fan's interest and introduce a brand new generation to the group. To add to the growing excitement Micky and Peter recorded several new tracks to be included on a new compilation entitled Then & Now...The Best of The Monkees. The first single, "That Was Then, This Is Now," received extensive radio airplay and the video was placed in heavy rotation on MTV, allowing the song to hit the Top 20, the first time The Monkees made the upper echelons of the singles charts since the 1960s. Numerous dates on the tour instantly sold out to the surprise of many in the entertainment industry who had written off The Monkees as "old news." The Monkees' reunion became the hottest tour of 1986.
The highlight of The Monkees' 20th Anniversary took place at the Greek Theatre in September when Micky, Davy, and Peter were joined onstage by Michael Nesmith, who sang and performed "Listen To The Band" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday." This event marked the first time all four Monkees had performed live together since 1968. It was an emotional night for the band and the lucky fans in attendance. Nesmith would appear again with the other three Monkees in a surprise appearance as Santa Claus in the 1986 MTV Christmas video. It was the perfect ending for '86, The Monkees' most successful year since 1967.
While many fans are in agreement on the specialness of the 1986 revival, the seeds were really planted back between 1975 and 1977, years which are still considered unique for fans that experienced the "first" Monkees reunion.
Fred Velez is a blog writer for Monkees.net and the author of the book A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You: The Monkees From A Fan’s Perspective. He has also released a Monkees-themed holiday CD called 'A Little Bit Christmas.'
This song (not to be confused with "You and I" from The Monkees' Instant Replay LP) was written by Davy Jones & Micky Dolenz and appeared on the 1996 Monkees album, Justus, the last to feature all four Monkees.
"You and I" was originally released on the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart LP in 1976 in a different arrangement with Micky singing the lead vocal. It was also the B-side to the "I Remember the Feeling" single.
Not sure of a photo credit for this, but it's definitely from the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart era.
Fred Velez has uploaded rare video clips to YouTube, including Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart live at the Riverboat Cafe in New York City in 1976, along with footage of Micky and Davy at the Riverboat in 1977 (featuring their supporting band, The Laughing Dogs). Also featured is Peter Tork & The New Monks live in 1981. Thanks, Fred!
Micky Dolenz Live
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart returns