In 1987, The Monkees released their first album of all new material since 1970. Pool It! arrived in August of that year from Rhino Records, preceded by the LP's first single and music video, "Heart and Soul," which made its mark on select channels and Nickelodeon (but famously not MTV).
The article below, "The Monkees: All New Tracks to Satisfy the Faithful," was originally published in Pulse!, a magazine that was available at Tower Records locations in the '80s. It includes comments from the album's producer, Roger Bechirian. Thanks to Keith Combs who shared the article on Facebook a while back, and I thought it would be nice to archive it in the Live Almanac's Pool It! category. Thanks, Keith!
This ad for Pool It! and "Heart and Soul" was included in the same issue of Pulse!:
While we're on the subject, here's a rare behind the scenes photo of Peter, Micky, and Davy during filming of the "Heart and Soul" video in Los Angeles in July 1987:
Finally, earlier this fall Henry Diltz shared this outtake from the Pool It! album cover photo session on his Facebook page:
"Heart and Soul," the first single from The Monkees' album Pool It!, was issued in July 1987. This clipping originates from an unknown source, and was originally published in August 1987.
If you are fan of The Monkees' 1987 album, Pool It! (and even if you are not), this edition of the Nesmith, Tork, Goffin & King podcast will be sure to please! Listen as host Mark Kleiner inquires about the seemingly long-lost second version of "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" with the song's co-writer Dick Eastman and chats with '80s Monkees manager David Fishof about record label interest for Pool It! Mark also speaks with former Rhino Records graphic artist Lisa Sutton, who discusses the album cover photo session, and finally, there's a revealing interview with the LP's producer, Roger Bechirian.
But wait, there's more! Mark also debuts the previously unheard demo for "Heart and Soul," the first single issued from Pool It!
"Heart and Soul," the first single from The Monkees' album Pool It!, was issued to radio on July 22, 1987 and to retail stores on August 3, 1987. The music video, despite being banned by MTV, was played heavily on alternate cable outlets, including Nickelodeon's Nick Rocks:
The B-side, Peter Tork's own "MGBGT," was recorded live during one of the final stops on The Monkees' massively successful 20th Anniversary Reunion Tour in 1986:
The front and back of the picture sleeve:
Rhino Records issued a promo CD for "Heart and Soul," along with a limited edition pink vinyl version of the single, which came in a hard stock picture sleeve:
The Monkees have performed the song live over the years, debuting it on the 1987 summer tour, where it was featured prominently in the encore. It stayed in the set list for the group's 1988 visit to Australia. After those performances, "Heart and Soul" would not be aired again in a live setting until 1996 and 1997, and it made a few select appearances on the 50th Anniversary Tour in 2016.
Peter has a lot to say about the sounds and style of Pool It! and more in this flashback piece from 1987...
The Monkees performed at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey on Sunday, May 29:
And here's "Take a Giant Step" and "Heart and Soul" from last night's soundcheck:
This was a fun poll, asking Monkees fans to choose their two favorite songs from Pool It! It's been running for a while now, but every time I checked the results and prepared to close it, inevitably there was a tie between a couple of songs.
Pool It!, the oft-maligned 1987 Monkees reunion album, was never the commercial juggernaut that was hoped, and its success was ultimately complicated by the breakdown of relations between The Monkees and MTV in early 1987, along with tensions surrounding the recording sessions (scroll down for the Pool It! entry). Monkees fans at the time were divided in their reactions to the new LP and its overall production. Some applauded the group for going in a new, current direction while others wondered what had happened to the classic Monkees sounds of yesteryear.
Despite being blacklisted by MTV, the creative music video for the first single, "Heart and Soul," was a hit on cable television music shows outside of MTV, and the song was well-received on the 1987 summer tour, where it opened the encore performance each night. But times were different, and MTV was a powerful entity that influenced radio programmers and more. As a result, "Heart and Soul," despite being a well-produced pop track, failed to connect with the general record buying public. In this poll, however, it easily takes the top spot in the minds of Monkees fans.
"Gettin' In," written by Peter Tork, was also played nightly on the 1987 tour. Peter hasn't talked much about the song over the years, but he did revive it during his 'In This Generation' solo tour in 2013. "Gettin' In" consistently held the second spot during the voting.
Rounding out the top five were "Midnight," an album track sung by Micky; the second single, "Every Step of the Way;" and "Don't Bring Me Down," another album track that received airplay on cable music show Nick Rocks in late 1987 after a video was produced highlighting a contest winner's day with The Monkees.
Take a moment to vote in the new Live Almanac poll (in the blog sidebar to the right), "What is your favorite Monkees album cover?"
Thanks to Jennifer who submitted this letter that she received from Rhino Records in late 1987. Jennifer can't recall exactly why she wrote to Rhino, but it looks like it had something to do with the lack of promotion and airplay the Pool It! album received that year. Remember, The Monkees and MTV had a falling out in early 1987 which resulted in the cable music network refusing to air the videos for the singles "Heart and Soul" and "Every Step of the Way." The lack of an MTV push most likely impacted radio airplay of the new songs. (You can read more about the Monkees/MTV feud here.)
To add more to a previous blog post, here's another story about the falling out between The Monkees and MTV in 1987. This piece comes from Musicade Catalog and was published sometime in late 1987/early 1988.