Rolling Stone makes it official: The Monkees to release first holiday album, "Christmas Party," on October 12 (UPDATED X2)
Two years after the triumph of Good Times!, The Monkees are set to release Christmas Party, their first-ever collection of holiday music. The album, produced by Adam Schlesinger (who also oversaw Good Times!), will feature newly recorded versions of classic Christmas songs including "Silver Bells," "The Christmas Song," and "Wonderful Christmastime" along with brand new songs written for the group by Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo ("What Would Santa Do"), Andy Partridge of XTC ("Unwrap You At Christmas"), R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 ("Christmas Party"), and Schlesinger with novelist Michael Chabon ("House of Broken Gingerbread"). Covers of Wizzard's yuletide classic "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" and Big Star's "Jesus Christ" will also be heard on the album.
Christmas Party includes new vocals by Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, plus the late Davy Jones’ voice - taken from vintage recordings - also appears on two songs. It will be available for purchase on compact disc and as a digital download on October 12. A vinyl edition is in the works but will not be issued until early 2019. The first single, set for an October release, will be Andy Partridge's "Unwrap You At Christmas," and a lyric video will be produced to promote the track.
Along with producer Schlesinger, Cuomo and Partridge are returning to the Monkees fold as they were the songwriters responsible for the two lead singles from Good Times!, "She Makes Me Laugh" and "You Bring the Summer." Two of Michael Nesmith's sons also acted as co-producers (Christian on "The Christmas Song" and Jonathan on "Snowfall").
Davy's tracks on Christmas Party were originally recorded years ago with former Monkees producer Chip Douglas. Schlesinger worked with the master tapes as given to him by Douglas, creating new instrumentation around Davy's vocals.
Target will carry an exclusive bonus tracks edition of Christmas Party on October 19 (a week after the release of the standard edition), featuring two additional songs:
1) "Ríu Chíu" (group version as heard on the 1967 "Christmas Show" episode with improved audio from its previous CD appearance on the 2007 deluxe edition of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.)
2) "Christmas Is My Time Of Year" (the one-off 1976 Christmas single recorded by Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork and produced by Chip Douglas - this will mark its first official appearance on a Monkees album)
Here is the official track listing of Christmas Party, and you can listen to the LP's executive producer John Hughes (of Rhino Records) and Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval breakdown each song on the latest episode of Zilch.
"Unwrap You At Christmas" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"What Would Santa Do" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Mele Kalikimaka" (Lead vocal: Davy)
"House Of Broken Gingerbread" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"The Christmas Song" (Lead vocal: Michael)
"Christmas Party" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Jesus Christ" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Silver Bells" (Lead vocal: Davy)
"Wonderful Christmastime" (Lead vocal: Micky)
"Snowfall" (Lead vocal: Michael)
"Angels We Have Heard On High" (Lead vocal: Peter)
"Merry Christmas, Baby" (Lead vocal: Micky)
Stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for all the latest news and information surrounding Christmas Party and more!
Peter Tork's "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again" was one of the many highlights found on the soundtrack to The Monkees' 1968 feature film, Head. Originally recorded and intended for release on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, "Long Title" featured contributions from Peter's longtime friend Stephen Stills, Buffalo Springfield's Dewey Martin, and Greenwich Village pal Lance Wakely. Peter's guitar work on this track stands as some of his finest.
The track appeared in the film Head during the Michael Nesmith birthday party scene:
This is a really nice article from the June 1995 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine that discusses Peter Tork singing the "Star Spangled Banner" in Portland, Maine for the (Double-A baseball team) Portland Sea Dogs on their opening night.
A little note on Chris: I connected with him online in 2000 or so. In 2001 I began a small project, writing brief summaries for each Monkees tour and embellishing the information with set lists and reviews. Brad Waddell at Monkees.net was kind enough to publish my work on his website that year, and Chris was a big help in collecting variations of set lists from different tours, reviewing the summaries I had written, etc. It ultimately took a decade for this website to be created, but the genesis of it all started during that time with assistance from Chris.
The Live Almanac first reported about Peter's involvement with the movie in December 2013.
A big thanks to Jeff Gehringer for sharing his personal photos of The Monkees receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on July 10, 1989, along with some shots from the post-ceremony press conference at the Sheraton-Universal Hotel.
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