The Monkees appeared on the NBC comedy program Laugh-In, hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, on October 6, 1969, five days before the release of the group's eighth album, The Monkees Present. In this clip, Micky, Davy, and Michael participate in the "Joke Wall" segment that was featured at the end of almost every episode of Laugh-In:
More clips of The Monkees' appearance on Laugh-In can be seen below:
(Micky, Davy, and Michael at :45 and 2:46 / Michael at 3:52)
Shoppers at the official online Monkees store can no longer add The Monkees Present deluxe box set to their cart, which appears to signal that it's now sold out. Limited to 5,000 individually numbered boxes, the second post-Peter Tork Monkees album was newly remastered and expanded by Rhino Handmade in 2013. Produced by Andrew Sandoval and consisting of three CDs and 85 tracks (60 previously unreleased), the package also included an exclusive bonus 7" vinyl single for "Good Clean Fun (Alternate Mix)" b/w "Mommy and Daddy (July 1969 Stereo Mix)" in a picture sleeve.
A while back at the Monkees Store, the super deluxe box set for The Monkees remained available while asking shoppers to "subscribe to back in stock notification." That set, however, was never offered again at the store, and the same option is currently being shown for The Monkees Present. The page for The Monkees super deluxe has since been removed from the store's website, and it's likely just a matter of time that the same will occur for The Monkees Present. Box sets for The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees and Head have long been sold out.
Still available is the recent super deluxe edition of More Of The Monkees, along with the deluxe edition for 1969's Instant Replay. Grab them while you still can!
Two songs tackled by Davy Jones during recording sessions for 1969's The Monkees Present went unheard for nearly 44 years until a super deluxe edition of the album arrived from Rhino Handmade in 2013. "Opening Night," written by Davy's friend Charlie Smalls (who had appeared as a guest on The Monkees television series in 1968 and who later went on to become the composer and lyricist of The Wiz), was recorded on May 1, 1969 at RCA Hollywood:
Andrew Sandoval detailed the session for "Opening Night" in his book The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation. Note that Andrew talks about the possibility that members of Sam & The Goodtimers, The Monkees' 1969 touring band, took part in the recording of the song:
"How Can I Tell You," written by Davy and Bill Chadwick, was recorded at the same time as Chadwick's "French Song," a song that was ultimately included on The Monkees Present when it was released on October 11, 1969. The song features Frank Bugbee and Louie Shelton on acoustic guitar, Michael Rubini on piano, Max Bennett on bass, and Hal Blaine on drums. Here's more about the June 27, 1969 session for "How Can I Tell You" from Andrew Sandoval's book:
In 1994, Rhino Records began issuing the original Monkees albums on compact disc, digitally remastered with bonus tracks. The Monkees Present was part of the second wave of the campaign, released on November 15, 1994, along with More Of The Monkees and Head. The package featured liner notes written by Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval.
The Monkees Present was originally intended to be a double album with color artwork, but for various reasons that plan was shelved. The '94 CD reissue featured a colorized cover, and a previous blog post examined why the color artwork was ultimately scrapped.
In 2013, The Monkees Present was once again reissued, this time by Rhino Handmade as a 3-CD box set.
In celebration of The Monkees' 40th Anniversary in 2006, Rhino Records (in conjunction with Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval) issued the group's first four albums (The Monkees, More of The Monkees, Headquarters, and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.) as 2-CD deluxe editions, featuring the original stereo and mono versions of each album, along with a bevy of bonus tracks, including remixes, previously unreleased material, alternate mixes, and more. By 2010, however, the formula had changed.
Rhino's specialty Handmade division stepped in, and beginning with The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees in 2010, the releases became lavish 3-CD limited edition box sets. Featuring a 3-D lenticular cover and a booklet with detailed liner notes written by Sandoval, the first 1,000 orders for the Birds box were accompanied by a bonus 45 single, and the entire set was sold out by early 2011.
A 3-CD box for Head arrived later in 2010 (now sold out), and Instant Replay (2011) and The Monkees Present (2013) followed. Due to the success of the releases, Rhino Handmade went back to the beginning of The Monkees' catalog, issuing a Super Deluxe Edition of The Monkees in 2014 (which now appears to be sold out, too).
Both Instant Replay and The Monkees Present are still in stock at The Monkees' online store, and, if you haven't picked these up, you won't be disappointed. Both sets are brimming with material recorded throughout 1968 and 1969, an era in The Monkees' recorded history that too often gets overlooked. Check out each set below by clicking on its image, and don't forget to start saving up for the next Handmade release, More of The Monkees, which is coming soon!
UPDATE 3/10/2018: "The Monkees Present" deluxe box set appears to be sold out
Guest Author Daniel Eckert: "'The Monkees Present' is the most personal, flawed, and honest album The Monkees made"
This is the eighth in a series of guest articles that have been submitted to The Monkees Live Almanac in celebration of the group's 50th Anniversary.
Daniel is a Monkees fan in his early 20s and was introduced to the band by his dad when he was in elementary school. Much to his father's surprise, Daniel became an avid Monkees follower and collector. "I would love to write a piece about my favorite Monkees album, The Monkees Present, and elaborate on what that album means to me," Daniel said in an email to The Monkees Live Almanac. "I have always found it to be the most personal, flawed, and honest album The Monkees made."
By the end of 1969 The Monkees were almost finished. A prolonged stint of television guest appearances, middling singles, and a troubled North American tour could not restore the group to their previous heights, nor could it save their career as an entertainment unit. Despite the challenges the year provided, Monkees fans were gifted one last great recording.
The Monkees Present should not be as good as it really is, being released in October 1969 just months before Michael Nesmith departed the group. Its ad hoc approach during a period that included occasional infighting within the trio, and after months of commercial disappointments, it would be easy to assume that the results led to a disastrous swan-song. Regarded highly by many Monkees fans, the countrified, stripped down, and punkish album shows a group that was still convinced they could deliver a quality listening experience and carve a niche for themselves within the adult contemporary market. The Monkees Present flows with more certainty than its predecessor (Instant Replay) takes more musical chances than any of their recorded output since Head, and is perhaps their most honest album since Headquarters. And it's also an album that offers a glimpse into what could have been had The Monkees remained a three-piece group into 1970.
To me, The Monkees Present represents the marvels and the missteps that are nearly synonymous with the Monkees brand. The release of the 3-disc deluxe version of the album in 2013 only highlights what many already realized from historical context: Present is good, but it could have been great. In true Monkees fashion excellent songs were sidelined for safe affairs that studio executives were certain would sell more to the kiddies. For example, the roaring "Steam Engine" becomes a victim of finance, and the beautiful "How Can I Tell You" is held back in favor of the groan-inducing 1966 leftover "Ladies Aid Society." What is a Monkees fan to do?
On the other hand, The Monkees Present delivers some of the group's finest. Nesmith's "Listen to the Band" is one of The Monkees' signature sonic moments. "Looking for the Good Times" imparts a Headquarters-esque harmony between Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz that to this day remains a pleasure to hear. "Mommy & Daddy" (in both versions) is a daring and relevant example of the maturation members of The Monkees were experiencing, this particular track having been written, produced, and delivered with confidence by Dolenz. Imagine for a moment if The Monkees would have produced another album in this vein. We can fast forward a bit and see that Michael's second single as a solo artist was the Billboard Hot 100 hit "Joanne." Davy's initial post-Monkees production, "Rainy Jane," experienced success at AM radio. And Micky offered (despite being ignored by the record buying public) a double-sided punch with both "Easy on You" and "Oh Someone." Don't forget the recordings by Nesmith and the First National Band, and clearly an argument could be made that worthy, high quality material was yet to come. A chart-topping hit in 1969 would have restored The Monkees' commercial fortunes and allowed them to leap into the next chapter of their career.
But another Monkees album would not follow Present, and the group would soon dissolve. 1970's Changes would be a Monkees album in name only, and shortly thereafter the curtain dropped as Micky and Davy parted ways in 1971. Despite the complicated history, the music of The Monkees endures all these years later. And The Monkees Present sounds better with every listen. Granted, it doesn't quite reach its potential and in spots is marred by poor song selections. But isn't that The Monkees in a nutshell? And isn’t it precisely The Monkees' tragic flaws that keep us diehard fans returning year after year? How many of us have made playlists for fantasy Monkees albums, dropping cuts like "Ladies Aid Society" for something like "Someday Man"? How many of us will fiercely debate how good a Monkees album could have been, or actually is, depending on our circumstances and musical tastes? The Monkees Present was my first brush with "adult sounds" from The Monkees, and it is the album I play more frequently than any other to this day. When my friends want to know what The Monkees are about, Present graces my turntable and I watch their mouths, slightly agape, as the banjo tears through "Good Clean Fun."
Thanks to Stephen Lewis for sharing his piece on The Monkees' eighth studio album.
Recap: Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith