Asking that musical question: Did Colgems intend to reissue The Monkees' catalog in late 1969/early 1970?
Ed Reilly is a first generation Monkees fan, collector, and author who co-published one of the principal books about The Monkees during the group's 1980s revival. Ed is also known for his long running column in (the now defunct) Monkee Business Fanzine. Entitled "Star Collector," Ed would break down a wide range of Monkees memorabilia, including everything from toys, trading cards, records, and much more. In 1986, Ed co-produced the Monkees convention in Philadelphia that summer.
In the article linked below, published last week on Monkee45s, Ed examines possible intentions of The Monkees' label, Colgems, during the waning days of the group in its original incarnation. Check it out!
In the May 2019 issue of Uncut, Kristin Hersh, singer-songwriter and musician best known for her time in the alternative rock band Throwing Muses, revealed some of her favorite music selections. At the top of Kristin's list is the platinum album, Then & Now...The Best of The Monkees, issued at the height of The Monkees' 20th Anniversary Tour in 1986. Thanks to Live Almanac contributor Renny Simno for sharing!
This May, Friday Music will release two different vinyl editions of Greatest Hits, the very first compilation of Monkees music originally issued by Colgems Records in June 1969.
Here are the details, courtesy of Friday Music, and thanks to Scott Nelson for the heads-up!
In 1969, Colgems Records honored their hugely successful recording act The Monkees with their first smash hits album simply titled "The Monkees Greatest Hits." The 14 track masterpiece is loaded with hit singles like "Daydream Believer," "Last Train To Clarksville," "I'm A Believer," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," & "Valleri."
The amazing LP was only in print for a very short time, making it an instant collector's item five decades ago.
Now, Friday Music is pleased to announce 50th Anniversary super limited edition 180 gram orange audiophile vinyl release of "The Monkees Greatest Hits." Impeccably mastered by Joe Reagoso (The Monkees) from the Colgems Records tapes, the masterwork is also packaged in the original artwork design that was seen in record shops back in 1969.
More hit tracks like "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," "Valleri," "She," and "Shades Of Gray" are included as well as a super rare stereo mix of "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" to further enhance your Monkees listening experience.
The Monkees - Greatest Hits (180 Gram Audiophile Translucent Gold Vinyl/Limited Anniversary Edition)
By 1976, Arista Records had inherited The Monkees' music catalog from Colgems (later Bell Records) and proceeded to release The Monkees Greatest Hits. This Arista collection was in reality a repackaging of Re-Focus, an earlier Monkees compilation produced by Bell in 1972. Arista's Greatest Hits featured the same track listing as Re-Focus but with brand new cover art, and could be purchased as an LP, cassette, or 8-track.
As Monkees albums were hard to come by in the mid-1970s, and possibly due to other factors like the return of the group's TV show in syndication and the activities of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart, Greatest Hits sold well and peaked at #58 on the Billboard chart in 1976. It was later certified Gold in 1986 and Platinum in 1991, and remained in print through the 1980s when it first appeared on compact disc.
And now in 2019, The Monkees Greatest Hits is being treated to yet another release, this time by Rhino Records as part of their annual "Start Your Ear Off Right" campaign. Available exclusively at participating music shops beginning on January 8, Greatest Hits has been pressed on orange vinyl and is limited to 4,500 copies.
On June 29, Rhino Records released An Introduction to The Monkees Volume 1 as a budget-priced compact disc with ten tracks:
And this week, Rhino issued An Introduction to The Monkees Volume 2:
Those who became fans during The Monkees' resurgence in 1986 (like myself) will no doubt have fond memories of the Arista Records compilation Then & Now...The Best of The Monkees.
Released in June that year, the album contained the group's greatest hits, along with three new tracks recorded just in time for The Monkees' 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour: "That Was Then, This Is Now," "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere," and "Kicks." Then & Now peaked at #21 and became a million seller, aided by the "That Was Then, This Is Now" single, which peaked at #20 while its accompanying music video received heavy airplay on MTV.
Arista, however, had originally planned to release a 2-LP set entitled The Best Of The Monkees to celebrate The Monkees' 20th Anniversary, but plans were changed when it was decided to record new tracks. With the double LP already pressed, it was instead made available via mail order and was distributed by Silver Eagle Records:
The Silver Eagle release featured 24 tracks but unlike the Then & Now issue, there was no gatefold cover and the liner notes were not included.
The Silver Eagle version of the album was also issued on cassette. A combination of both the Silver Eagle Best Of and Arista's Then & Now was released on compact disc in August 1986 and became the first Monkees CD to be made available in the United States.
This commercial aired in 1986 and 1987 advertising the 2-LP Silver Eagle set:
In the fall of 1969, The Monkees television series premiered in syndication on CBS. Post Foods quickly conducted a cross-promotional exercise through their various cereal products like Alpha-Bits, Honeycomb, and Frosted Rice Krinkles by releasing Monkees cardboard singles that were printed onto the outside of the cereals' boxes.
Sometime in 1970, Post began a special offer for The Monkees Golden Hits, which collected all of the cereal box singles onto one exclusive vinyl LP that was unavailable in record stores. A coupon inside their cereal boxes advertised the album, which could be purchased for $1.50 and 2 box tops from any of the Post cereals.
Thanks a lot to Monkees collector Ed Reilly for sharing scans of the coupon found inside an Alpha-Bits box below:
Issued by The Monkees' label Colgems Records, The Monkees Golden Hits is hard to find nowadays in mint condition and is a sought-after collectible:
(The Monkees Golden Hits images courtesy of Monkee45s.net)
I still have a soft spot for the very first Monkees box set ever issued by Rhino Records on September 24, 1991. Listen to the Band was a 4-CD collection that included a memorabilia poster and a detailed booklet written and compiled by Andrew Sandoval, and it featured many songs that had not been previously released on compact disc. The September 1991 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine, which celebrated The Monkees' 25th Anniversary, previewed the box with comments by Sandoval and more. Note the discussion about live tapes from the 1969 tour. You can read a more current take of those tapes on the '69 tour page here on the site.
The Best of The Monkees was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on November 1, 2012. The Monkees were presented with Gold records at the Greek Theatre before their performance there on November 10, 2012.
Monkee Flips was a 1984 compilation album issued by Rhino Records. Labeled as the "Best of The Monkees, Volume Four," it followed the two Arista compilations (released in 1976 and 1982, respectively) and Rhino's 1982 Monkee Business picture disc. Monkee Flips was available in both LP and cassette formats, and was one of the first Monkees albums I owned. It was reisused in 1986 during The Monkees' 20th Anniversary.
Thank you very much to Ben Belmares who provided the scans seen below.
This afternoon I'm featuring two albums that I purchased as a brand new Monkees fan after watching the Pleasant Valley Sunday MTV marathon in February 1986. Monkee Business and Monkee Flips were the earliest Monkees-related releases on Rhino Records. I've profiled both albums previously on the blog, but thanks to Ben Belmares, I can post upgraded scans of each LP. Let's take a look at Monkee Business first.
Monkee Business was a singles and rarities compilation issued by Rhino Records in 1982 as a picture disc, and the first Monkees collection on the Rhino label. A cassette version was also made available.
The album was reissued in 1986 during The Monkees' blockbuster 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour. The second pressing contained a mono mix of "Someday Man" with studio chatter at the beginning, which wasn't heard on the 1982 edition. (This chatter can now be heard on CD via the Instant Replay deluxe edition). Copies from 1986 can be identified by "RE-1" in the runoff groove. The first and second pressings also featured other variations.
Thanks again to Ben Belmares for the great scans!
Last week, Ben Belmares was kind enough to share his scans of the recently released Summer of Love vinyl collection. Today he provided the Live Almanac with images from the CD package. Thanks again, Ben!
As always, Ben Belmares delivers with scans of the vinyl edition for the newly issued Summer of Love collection. Thanks, Ben!
Originally advertised as being pressed on "red & white splatter vinyl," note that the sticker of the official release denotes the color scheme as "pink & green splatter."
Then & Now...The Best of The Monkees was later certified platinum in January 1987.
As previously reported, Summer of Love, advertised as a collection highlighting the psychedelic side of The Monkees, will be released on July 18, 2017. It will be available on both Red/White Splatter Vinyl and Compact Disc. Rhino Records issued an official press release to announce the compilation.
Here's the track listing for the LP and CD, both of which are slated (at least initially) to be a brick & mortar retail exclusive:
Reaction to the Summer of Love compilation from the Monkees fan community has been mixed, with a sizable portion taking issue with certain songs ("She" and "Saturday's Child," in particular) being selected to represent the group's "psychedelic" output in lieu of other options, such as "Daily Nightly," "The Door Into Summer," "Do I Have To Do This All Over Again," "Auntie's Municipal Court," etc. Rhino's John Hughes commented on Facebook about the track listing:
"This [the Summer of Love compilation] was meant to satisfy a few different masters - a marketing focus on 1967 specifically, leaning towards the psychedelic side to make it somewhat unique from other comps,
but it had to have enough 'familiar' songs for the casual fan. We did our best."
Here's one from 1986 and The Monkees' 20th Anniversary, courtesy of the great website Monkee45s.net.
Live in 2021