After much anticipation, Rhino Records has unveiled details surrounding the release of the super deluxe edition box set commemorating The Monkees' second album, More Of The Monkees. Pre-orders for this 3-CD collection, produced by Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval and available on December 15, 2017, begin today at Monkees.com. (UPDATE 12/9/2017: Rhino is now showing a release date of December 22, 2017. UPDATE #2 on 12/18/2017: Rhino has alerted customers that the set will now ship on December 29, 2017. UPDATE #3 on 12/22/2017: Despite the previously announced setback in the release date, emails from The Monkees Webstore are now providing shipping notification and a tracking number for the More Of The Monkees super deluxe edition.)
Limited to 4,500 numbered copies and boasting 91 tracks (55 of them previously unreleased), including the original mono and stereo mixes, alternate takes, backing tracks, and remixes, the set also contains highlights from The Monkees' January 21, 1967 concert at Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Arizona. "This is the most exciting archival dig through The Monkees' vault since 2009's The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees deluxe edition," Sandoval told Monkees.com. "Every track is newly mastered for this set; the live material is the most historically significant of their career." (Sandoval confirmed on Facebook that the Phoenix live material has vocals and is in stereo.) A special 7" vinyl single, "I'm A Believer" (remix) / "(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” (vocals only), will also be included.
Here is the first look at the hardbound 7"x7" box:
And a big thank you to Rhino's John Hughes for sharing these exclusive photos of the packaging with the Live Almanac:
Over the last seven years, many of the classic Monkees albums have been afforded lavish treatment by Rhino's specialty Handmade division, beginning with The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees in 2010. A box for Head arrived later that year (both now sold-out), and Instant Replay (2011) and The Monkees Present (2013) followed. Due to the success of those projects, Rhino Handmade went back to the beginning of The Monkees' catalog, issuing The Monkees in 2014 (which is currently unavailable).
Originally released on January 10, 1967, More Of The Monkees became the biggest selling Monkees album (certified quintuple platinum by the RIAA) and was the longest to stay at #1 on the Billboard chart (an incredible 18 weeks). It contains the group's most successful single, "I'm a Believer," which spent 7 weeks at #1 throughout late 1966 and early 1967, along with songs that have long been associated with The Monkees ("Mary, Mary" and "Steppin' Stone," a Top 20 hit, to name two). The remainder of its tracks include selections that have been staples in the group's live show for decades, and it features contributions from songwriters like Michael Nesmith, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Jack Keller & Diane Hildebrand, and Neil Diamond. But the album also has a well-documented backstory that included a power struggle for creative control over The Monkees' music, one that pitted the band against music publisher Don Kirshner.
Kirshner, known as "The Man With the Golden Ear," was brought into the Monkees project in the summer of 1966. Initial rehearsals by The Monkees to play their music on record and as a live act had progressed through the spring of 1966, but deadlines were fast approaching to meet the pending debut of The Monkees television series on NBC in September of that year. The group's grueling schedule of filming, recording, and rehearsing caused Kirshner to streamline the process. He refused to allow The Monkees to play their instruments on record, instead having them provide only vocal work in the studio, and it was Kirshner who selected the songs The Monkees were to perform. Kirshner went on to supervise the first two Monkees singles and albums, a situation that built resentment, particularly on behalf of Michael and Peter.
Legend holds that in early 1967, Micky, Davy, Michael, and Peter discovered that More Of The Monkees had been released without their consultation, and went to a record shop to pick up a copy. Disliking the cover image (featuring The Monkees in J.C. Penney fashions for a cross-promotional effort) along with Kirshner's self-congratulatory liner notes, the stage was now fully set for a showdown between the two camps. An unsettled Michael Nesmith made his unhappiness clear about how The Monkees' music was being created in a January 1967 interview with the Saturday Evening Post, just as the group had started to appear live in concert. "The music had nothing to do with us," he said. "It was totally dishonest. Do you know how debilitating it is to sit up and have to duplicate somebody else's records?"
The Monkees quickly joined forces in the ensuing battle against Kirshner. During a tense meeting with the band and Kirshner in a Beverly Hills hotel room that same month, the situation between the two sides escalated. "The incident when Mike Nesmith put his fist through the wall at the Beverly Hills Hotel is very vivid and near and dear to my heart," Kirshner told Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval years later. "I had flown out to the Beverly Hills Hotel to give the boys a quarter of a million dollars apiece from some of the royalties on the first album. Mike had given me a lot of heat that he didn't like the records and he didn't like the albums. He wanted to do it his way. It was a little disconcerting to me because every album and single I put out was number one, but he had a right to his opinion." When Nesmith threatened to quit unless The Monkees were given some control over their musical output, Kirshner's attorney proceeded to remind Michael about his contract. Nez responded, by punching his fist through the wall, telling the attorney, "That could’ve been your face." "I was very impressed," Kirshner chuckled, "because I thought the Beverly Hills [Hotel] had pretty strong walls." Kirshner was later sacked and The Monkees soon began recording with a new producer, Chip Douglas, while also providing their own instrumental backing in the studio.
Looking back today, the "controversy" about who played what instrument on the earliest Monkees recordings seems trite as many of the top groups at that time (The Mamas & the Papas, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, etc.) also utilized ace studio musicians (The Wrecking Crew) just like The Monkees. But in 1967, along with the "manufactured" criticisms that had already befallen The Monkees, the infamous "they don't play their own instruments" story line became one that has, to this day, never fully dissipated.
But now, fifty years later and after the dust has settled, Rhino Records and Andrew Sandoval will afford us another opportunity to revisit the blockbuster More Of The Monkees album. Here is the complete track listing for the super deluxe edition, and you can listen to Sandoval go in-depth about the contents of the box on the latest episode of "Zilch."
1. She (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.40
2. When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door) [Remastered] [Mono Mix] 1.48
3. Mary, Mary (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.20
4. Hold On Girl (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.28
5. Your Auntie Grizelda (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.36
6. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone [Remastered] [Mono Mix] 2.34
7. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Remastered] [Mono Mix] 2.16
8. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 1.54
9. The Day We Fall In Love (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.25
10. Sometime In The Morning (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.31
11. Laugh (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.29
12. I'm A Believer (Remastered) [Mono Mix] 2.49
13. She (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.42
14. When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door) [Stereo Mix] [Remastered] 1.50
15. Mary, Mary (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.19
16. Hold On Girl (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.31
17. Your Auntie Grizelda (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.32
18. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone [Stereo Mix] [Remastered] 2.26
19. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Stereo Mix] [Remastered] 2.18
20. The Kind Of Girl I Could Love (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 1.54
21. The Day We Fall In Love (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.27
22. Sometime In The Morning (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.32
23. Laugh (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.31
24. I'm A Believer (Stereo Mix) [Remastered] 2.49
25. I'll Be Back Up On My Feet (First Recorded Version) [Remastered] 2.38
26. Of You (Mono Mix) [Remastered] 1.58
27. I Don't Think You Know Me (Second Recorded Version - Mono Mix) [Remastered] 2.20
28. Words (First Recorded Version - Mono Mix) 2.51
29. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Mono TV Mix] 2.56
30. Tear Drop City (1966 Mono Mix) [Remastered] 2.18
31. Sometime In The Morning (Alternate Mono Mix) 2.32
32. Valleri (First Recorded Version - Mono TV Mix) [Remastered] 2.32
1. Whatever's Right (Backing Track) 2.32
2. Valleri (First Recorded Version - Backing Track 1 & 2) 3.02
3 . (Theme From) The Monkees [Second Version - Backing Track - Take 1] 1.06
4. Words (First Recorded Version) [Mono TV Mix][Remastered] 2.49
5. She (Mono TV Mix) 2.36
6. I Love You Really (Version One) 0.13
7. I Love You Really (Version Three) 0.13
8. I Love You Really (Version Two) 0.12
9. Ladies Aid Society (Backing Track - Part One - Take 22) 2.40
10. Ladies Aid Society (Backing Track - Part Two - Take 1) 1.19
11. Ladies Aid Society (Original Mono Mix) [Remastered] 3.25
12. Kicking Stones (Backing Track - Take 11) 2.57
13. Kicking Stones (Original Mono Mix) 2.21
14. I Don't Think You Know Me (First Recorded Version - Mike's Vocal - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.21
15. Mr. Webster (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.52
16. Hold On Girl (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.46
17. Through The Looking Glass (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.34
18. Different Drum (TV Version) 0.39
19. Undecided 0.30
20. Sometime In The Morning (Backing Track - Take 1) 2.43
21. Sometime In The Morning (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.30
22. I Don't Think You Know Me (Backing Track - Take 4) 2.22
23. I Don't Think You Know Me (2017 Stereo Mix) 2.24
24. Your Auntie Grizelda (Session Excerpt) 0.54
25. Your Auntie Grizelda (Mono TV Mix) 2.37
26. Hold On Girl (Alternate Backing Track) 2.44
27. Hold On Girl (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.34
28. I'm A Believer (Backing Track - Take 4) 3.17
29. I'm A Believer (Alternate Vocal Take - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.41
30. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Backing Track - Take 3] 2.10
31. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [Unedited Version - 2017 Stereo Remix] 2.55
32. Mary, Mary (Vocal Overdub Session) 11.04
1. (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love [2017 Stereo Remix] 3.18
2. Tear Drop City (Original Speed - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.22
3. Looking For The Good Times (Backing Track with Backing Vocals) 2.04
4. I'll Spend My Life With You (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.32
5. Apples, Peaches, Bananas And Pears (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.18
6. Don't Listen To Linda (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.29
7. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Mono TV Mix) 2.13
8. Laugh (Mono TV Mix) 2.33
9. The Day We Fall In Love (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.30
10. The Girl I Left Behind Me (Backing Track) 2.34
11. Mary, Mary (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.20
12. Valleri (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.38
13. Words (First Recorded Version - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.52
14. Your Auntie Grizelda (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.36
15. Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow (With Peter's Narration - 2017 Stereo Remix) 2.50
16. I Never Thought It Peculiar (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.27
17. Laugh (2017 Stereo Remix) 2.46
18. She's So Far Out, She's In (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.44
19. You Just May Be The One (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.06
20. I Wanna Be Free (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.54
21. Sweet Young Thing (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.25
22. Papa Gene's Blues (Live In Arizona, 1967) 2.14
23. I Can't Get Her Off Of My Mind (Live In Arizona, 1967) 3.00
24. Cripple Creek (Live In Arizona, 1967) 3.08
25. You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover (Live In Arizona, 1967) 4.25
26. Gonna Build A Mountain (Live In Arizona, 1967) 3.17
27. I Got A Woman (Live In Arizona, 1967) 6.27
The Monkees' live concert debut was held in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 3, 1966 before a sold-out crowd at the Honolulu International Center Arena. The band had arrived in Hawaii a few days earlier, where they were greeted by several thousand fans at the Honolulu airport. The day before the show, the group visited radio station KPOI, spinning records and going live on the air. This practice became a tradition for The Monkees as they traveled from city to city while on tour.
Lots to check out in this cool screenshot taken from "The Monkees on Tour" episode, including the large screen that projected images of The Monkees during their performance, along with several of the group's Gretsch brand instruments: Micky's champagne sparkle drum kit, Peter's burgundy bass, and Davy's customized bass!
Micky Dolenz, in an interview for Harold Bronson's Hey, Hey, We're The Monkees book, remembered The Monkees' earliest live performances and the hysteria that greeted The Monkees in concert. "We would burst out of these big, mock Vox speakers onto the stage and the place would go bananas," Dolenz said. We had one of the first multimedia presentations; we projected this film up behind us on a big movie screen." The screams coming from the audience, however, often hindered the band as they could barely hear themselves play. "I get up behind the drums and I couldn't hear any count so Mike would turn and he would look at me and I'd look at him and we'd all look at each other because you couldn't hear or see a thing," he recalled. "We had a lot of good times," Nesmith told Bronson.
The Monkees performed at Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio on January 15, 1967. Flip later reported that Michael Nesmith tossed his green wool hat into the audience during this performance.
The Monkees performed in San Francisco's Cow Palace on January 22, 1967. Thanks to Al Bigley for providing this clip!
The Monkees performed a series of concerts between December 1966 and May 1967, appearing at such venues as the Cow Palace in San Francisco and Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.