Micky on dueting with his friend, Harry Nilsson, on Good Times!:
“When we started talking about the [Monkees' 50th] anniversary, we found a bunch of unfinished tracks from the ’60s,” says Dolenz. “When the show was on the air, we recorded tons of material because they wanted two new songs in every episode. Harry, who was one of my dearest friends, had written one for me to sing. It had his scratch vocal, but because Harry never did anything half-assed, it was a full-blown performance. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I can do a duet with my old friend.’ ”
In September 1977 (after the dissolution of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart), Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones traveled to England to begin rehearsals for their longtime friend Harry Nilsson's stage production of The Point. The show opened in London at the Mermaid Theatre on December 22, 1977. Davy played "Oblio," the hero, and Micky's part as "The Count's Kid" was created specifically so that both Jones and Dolenz could share the stage. An original cast album was released in the United Kingdom by MCA Records in January 1978. The Point closed in London on February 25, 1978.
And now, 29 years later, The Point will arrive on compact disc courtesy of Varese Vintage:
A single from the cast recording was also released by MCA (courtesy of JD at Monkee45s.net):
UPDATE 7/1/16: The Point compact disc is now arriving to customers from Amazon.com and other retailers.
Here's "Cuddly Toy" live in Japan in 1968:
And check out this version of "Cuddly Toy" by Ben Gibbard (who composed "Me & Magdalena" for The Monkees' new album, Good Times!) and Zooey Deschanel.
Here's a great interview from earlier this afternoon with Michael from the Mighty Manfred Program on the SiriusXM channel Underground Garage. Nez talks about keeping Davy Jones present on The Monkees' new album, why he's not on the road for the 50th Anniversary Tour, Harry Nilsson, "Birth of an Accidental Hipster," and more.
Yesterday, online retailer Bull Moose published the first known track listing for Good Times! And today, the website Best Classic Bands is reporting the full rundown of songwriters who contributed to the project. Note that Micky Dolenz shares a co-write with the LP's producer, Adam Schlesinger, on a previously unannounced song, "I Was There (And I'm Told I Had a Good Time)."
If Monkees fans weren't already enticed by the impending release of a limited edition Blu-ray box set of the group's 1966-1968 television series this spring (along with the 1968 feature film Head and a bevy of other bonus features), they were certainly delighted by this week's news that The Monkees, more specifically Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork, will embark on a sprawling concert tour to celebrate the group's 50th Anniversary. On top of all these developments, a brand new studio album, Good Times!, has been announced with a release date of June 10, 2016.
Good Times! is already monumental as it marks the first time The Monkees have entered the recording studio since Justus, the 1996 LP that brought together Micky, Davy, Michael, and Peter for the first time since 1968. Considered a mix bag by most fans, Justus remains notable in the group's canon as the final collective effort put to tape by all four Monkees. Recorded in Hollywood at NRG Studios in the summer of '96, the album was written, produced, and performed entirely by The Monkees. Good Times! promises a different approach.
An exclusive article published online by Rolling Stone magazine on Friday, February 5, revealed that the songbook for Good Times! will feature contributions from both Michael Nesmith ("I Know What I Know") and Peter Tork, The Monkees' contemporaries (Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Harry Nilsson), and a bevy of notable rock stars, including Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Noel Gallagher (Oasis), Andy Partridge (XTC), Zach Rogue (Rogue Wave), and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie). The album's producer, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) will also contribute material. Micky talked about the all-call to songwriters as the album initially began to take shape. "I began doing research and I realized that the whole indie rock scene is all about recapturing that 1960s jangly guitar sound of The Monkees, amongst many other groups, of course," Dolenz explained to Rolling Stone. One reason we don't have a final track listing yet is because once we put the word out all these people said they wanted to get involved." When speaking specifically about two finished songs, Gibbard's "Me and Magdalena" and Rogue's "Terrifying," Micky was pleased that they were consistent with The Monkees' brand. "They're all keeping with our sensibility," said Dolenz. Cuomo's "She Makes Me Laugh" has also been confirmed for the album. Andy Partridge of XTC, a lifelong fan of The Monkees, took to Twitter to show his excitement for Good Times! "The Monkees gave me SO MUCH joy as a kid, it's all I can do to repay it. They are liking 3 of my tunes so far, and I hope they dig the latest?" Partridge's "You Bring the Summer" is another lock for the album.
Details remain hazy, but the track lineup is shaping up to consist of unfinished vintage material along with the brand new compositions. Davy Jones, who passed away suddenly on February 29, 2012, will be represented vocally on the album by Neil Diamond's "Love to Love," which Micky informed Rolling Stone that he hopes to add a harmony vocal to the track. "Love to Love" was recorded in early 1967 and never saw official release in the 1960s. It later emerged on a 1979 Australian compilation and was collected on the third volume of the Missing Links series, which showcased previously unreleased Monkees songs. The title track, Harry Nilsson's "Good Times," was originally attempted in January 1968 by Nesmith and Nilsson (featuring Michael on electric guitar) and will be fleshed out to become a duet of sorts between the late Nilsson and his longtime friend Dolenz. At least two other songs written for The Monkees in the 1960s but never released are also slated to be a part of the project. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who contributed to every 1960s Monkees LP outside of the Head soundtrack, could be represented on Good Times! by "Whatever's Right," described as a "laidback country-like number" by Andrew Sandoval in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation. A backing track for the song was completed in August 1966 by Boyce & Hart with no other Monkee involvement. Another vault find, Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Wasn't Born to Follow," whose backing track was completed in March 1968 by Lester Sill and Shorty Rogers, was never given any treatment by The Monkees.
Despite the fact that nothing has been officially recorded, Good Times! is scheduled to be released by Rhino Records, The Monkees' longtime label, early this summer. Various changes at Rhino through the years has resulted in The Monkees being a high priority for the label and other times less so, but Rhino is seemingly very enthusiastic about a brand new Monkees studio album. "There have been some recent personnel changes at Rhino and the incoming personnel were very, very pro and positive about the Monkees," Micky told Rolling Stone. "[Rhino executives] John Hughes and Mark Pinkus both said they wanted us to make a new album, and they spelled out the exact kind of album that would go down well with the 50th anniversary and with our fans." Within 24 hours, publicity generated by the announcement of Good Times! resulted in the album placing as high as #12 on Amazon's best selling music list (due to pre-order sales) and caused The Monkees to trend on Facebook.
The reaction within the Monkees fan community regarding the arrival of Good Times! was largely positive, but lots of questions about the project remain. Rolling Stone reported that Peter will likely be adding vocals, guitar, and possibly some banjo to the album. Nesmith's advertised songwriting contribution, "I Know What I Know," is the only certainty when it comes to his involvement, but despite online conjecture, The Monkees Live Almanac can report that the door is not closed on a more active role for Michael. (UPDATE 2/9/2016: Rhino Records executive John Hughes has now confirmed that Michael will be a full participant in the making of the album.) The Live Almanac can also exclusively share that Monkees archivist and live concert producer Andrew Sandoval is part of the proceedings, and that Micky will indeed be drumming on parts of the album.
Micky isn't hiding his enthusiasm for Good Times!, telling Rhino Records that "This is one of the most exciting Monkee projects I’ve been involved in for decades!" Keep checking back with the Live Almanac for more updates and information about The Monkees' brand new album.
The following description for an album entitled Good Times by The Monkees, available for pre-order with an advertised release date of June 10, 2016, can be found on Amazon.com:
The Monkees are ready to have some fun this year as the iconic band celebrates its 50th anniversary with a tour and the group's first new album in 20 years, appropriately titled GOOD TIMES. Much like The Monkees early albums, GOOD TIMES features tracks written specifically for the band by some of the music world's most gifted songwriters, including Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Andy Partridge (XTC), and Zach Rogue (Rogue Wave). The album also includes songwriting contributions by Nesmith (I Know What I Know) and Tork as well as producer Adam Schlesinger.
To help bring the anniversary full circle, The Monkees completed songs for GOOD TIMES that were originally recorded & written for the group during the 60s, including Love To Love by Neil Diamond, which features a vintage vocal by Davy Jones. Harry Nilsson wrote the title track Good Times, which he recorded at a session with Nesmith in January 1968. The production was never completed, so the band returned to the original session tape (featuring Nilsson's guide vocal) and have created a duet with his close friend Dolenz. Good Times will mark the first time Dolenz and Nilsson have sung together since Dolenz' May 1973 single Daybreak. Other vintage 1960s tracks included on GOOD TIMES feature L.A. s famed Wrecking Crew of session musicians.
Good Times is available to pre-order as both a CD and a vinyl LP.
*Please remember* that there has been no official announcement of new Monkees music from The Monkees or Rhino Records. However, with some recent hints about new Monkees songs floating on Twitter as of late, and other murmurs that material would be recorded for the 50th Anniversary this year, it's more than interesting that this listing has popped up on Amazon.
Here's the Nilsson demo for "Good Times."
Songwriter, producer, and Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger, who is denoted in the Amazon item description as the album's producer, was photographed with both Micky and Peter backstage at a recent Dolenz solo show in Hartford, Connecticut:
And Andy Partridge, noted singer/songwriter of the band XTC, who is also mentioned in the Amazon item description as a contributor to the project, posted the following on Twitter just last week:
Interestingly enough, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, who is referenced on Amazon as a songwriter for Good Times, graduated from the same high school as Peter Tork: E. O. Smith High School in Northeastern Connecticut.
Weezer covered "I'm a Believer" in 2010, and their version appeared on Shrek Forever After, a 2010 3D computer-animated fantasy comedy film.
Yet another advertised songwriter for Good Times, Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard, can be heard below covering two Monkees songs live in concert:
And check out this tweet from The Monkees Tour Twitter account from January 19 (in advance of Micky and Peter's appearance at the Family Gras festival), one that appears to foreshadow a Monkees album by the name of Good Times:
Stay tuned to the Live Almanac for more details!
Here's the description of the video from YouTube:
Taken from the 7a Records release 'Micky Dolenz - The MGM Singles Collection,' Daybreak is a great solo record from the former Monkee.
Written and produced by Harry Nilsson, Daybreak is a lost classic surely ranks up there as one of the great singles from the 70s.
This rare promotional video is directed by Micky and features a guest cameo from Harry Nilsson himself. It has been lovingly restored by film archivist Robert Reinstein. Many thanks, Robert!
Micky Dolenz - The MGM Singles Collection is a limited edition vinyl release on the 7a Records label. It comes in a beautiful gatefold sleeve and has a 12 page booklet that has over a dozen previously unseen pics from the legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz.
In 1977, Micky and Davy appeared on Our Show in England to promote their joint appearance in Harry Nilsson's play, "The Point," at London's Mermaid Theatre.
Here's a wide-ranging conversation with Micky conducted by Kevin Pollak, who hosts a weekly internet chat show. The interview was originally aired right before the 2012 Monkees tour. Micky talks about a lot of topics, including his relationship with Harry Nilsson, The Beatles, "Randy Scouse Git," The Point, working with Davy in the 1970s, Head, Michael's return to The Monkees in 2012, Justus, architecture, Frank Zappa, his latest solo album, and much, much more.
Here's one from the Live Almanac's YouTube channel. The "Buddy Holly Tribute" single was released in 1974 on the MGM-related label, Romar. It features a medley of some of Holly's best known songs: "Peggy Sue"/"Every Day"/"Maybe Baby"/"That'll Be the Day."
The photo is of John Lennon, Anne Murray, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper, and Micky at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles in 1974.
Don't forget about one of Iain Lee's current projects, Micky Dolenz - The MGM Singles Collection. Iain recently posted a message on the official Facebook page related to the Singles Collection:
OK, Christmas and the New Year are OVER!
That means we can crack on with this.
I am chasing up the album cover today. I've also chased up via email the interview with Micky. Hopefully it will happen this month.
I'll have a chat with Glen today about the booklet.
Need to have a little conversation with someone who MAY have better source material...can't say too much about this at the mo.
We are yay close. I am hoping we can get this record out by the end of March/start of April.
Not long to go now. Just one final push and we are there.
This is an ad for Harry Nilsson's 1968 album Aerial Ballet that appeared in the November 1968 issue of Flip. Nilsson penned both "Cuddly Toy" and "Daddy's Song" for The Monkees. As a result of The Monkees recording "Cuddly Toy," Nilsson got his big break in the music business, and as the story goes, felt confident enough to quit his day job working at a bank. Micky Dolenz and Harry (part of the legendary Hollywood Vampires club) were close friends until Nilsson's death in 1994.
Here is Harry's demo for "Cuddly Toy."
Depending on who you ask, The Monkees did or did not back Harry on the demo for "Mr. Richland's Favorite Song," which later appeared on Aerial Ballet. In the '90s through the publishing of Andrew Sandoval's book in 2005, the thinking was that all four Monkees were indeed playing on the demo under the supervision of Chip Douglas. Sandoval's book, however, only lists Michael Nesmith's involvement as a musician and producer along with a recording date of January 1968, after The Monkees had stopped working with Douglas.
The Monkees' official released version of Nilsson's "Daddy's Song" featured a lead vocal by Davy Jones, but Michael also attempted it:
Michael examines Harry's LP Pandemonium Shadow Show, which preceded Aerial Ballet in late 1967:
You wore makeup and created the character Alice Cooper. But the film also mentions The Who’s drummer Keith Moon, who always seemed to be playing a role as well, as the jester. Can you talk about him?
He was one of our very best friends. He would come to L.A. and stay with me for a week. Then he would stay with Harry Nilsson for a week, and then he would go to Ringo Starr’s house for a week. We loved having him, but he would wear you out, because he was always on. We used to have a drinking club, the Hollywood Vampires, with Harry, Ringo, Bernie Taupin, Micky Dolenz and, when he was in town, John Lennon. When we got together, it was a matter of the last man standing. Keith was like a brother to us. We’d always tell him, ‘Keith, you don’t have to entertain us.’ But he didn’t have an off button. He was like a little kid who needed Ritalin.
Check out this video that talks about the wild party days in Laurel Canyon, California in the 1960s with Micky, Peter, Mama Cass Elliott, Harry Nilsson, Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson, John Lennon and more. (Be sure to watch the entire video as there is Monkees content throughout.) Micky, Henry Diltz and Samantha Juste are featured sharing their recollections of the time period. You'll also see Micky show off some 'basement tapes' from his personal collection that preserves some of the jamming that occurred at his house during this era.
Micky and Davy starred in Harry Nilsson's "The Point" at the Mermaid Theatre in London in 1977. An original cast album was later released by MCA Records.
This picture was taken at one of Davy's book signings in Los Angeles in 1988. (Davy is holding the audio version of his book, They Made a Monkee Out Of Me.
Micky Dolenz Live
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart returns