Last week, in celebration of Record Store Day Black Friday 2019, Rhino Records issued Christmas Party Plus! featuring Monkees holiday songs past and present. The two 7" singles are pressed on colored vinyl (one red/one green) and housed in a gatefold: "Unwrap You At Christmas (Radio Mix)"/"Unwrap You At Christmas (Andy Partridge Demo)" along with "Riu Chiu"/"Christmas Is My Time Of Year (1976 Mix)."
Live Almanac contributor Ben Belmares scanned his copy and shared it with the site. Thanks, Ben!
"She Makes Me Laugh" was the lead single from The Monkees' album Good Times! and was premiered on Rolling Stone magazine's website on April 28, 2016.
Accompanied by a lyric video that featured scenes from Monkees comic books produced by Dell in the 1960s, the video recently passed 1 million views on YouTube.
At the time of the song's release, Rivers Cuomo, lead vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, and songwriter of the rock band Weezer, who composed "She Makes Me Laugh," talked about The Monkees' influence on his career:
Last month, The Monkees’ first-ever holiday album, 2018's Christmas Party, was issued on 180-gram vinyl by Rhino Records in multiple formats:
Black 180-gram vinyl (at most retailers)
A limited-edition red or green version (exclusive to independent record stores)
A red and white "candy cane" exclusive (available only at Monkees.com)
Each version of the LP is tucked into a gatefold sleeve designed by comics legend Michael Allred. The Monkees’ stunning version of "Riu Chiu (TV Version)" as performed live a capella on the second season episode, "The Christmas Show," is tacked on as a bonus track.
Christmas Party is also available on compact disc and for streaming on Spotify.
Thanks very much to longtime Live Almanac contributor Ben Belmares for providing his scans of each version of Christmas Party on vinyl!
"Candy Cane" vinyl and labels
Green vinyl & labels
Red vinyl & labels
Black vinyl labels
Record Store Day was founded in 2007 and has become an annual tradition that takes place every April and on Black Friday in November. With a stated purpose of celebrating the culture of the independently owned record store, bands and labels will press unique items that are distributed exclusively to shops participating in the event. Thanks to Rhino Records, The Monkees made their Record Store Day debut with multiple releases in 2016, which are collected in the archives of The Monkees Live Almanac.
Upon its arrival late last year, Christmas Party became The Monkees' first-ever holiday album, featuring classics like "The Christmas Song," "Silver Bells," and "Wonderful Christmastime" alongside brand new material. And now, the good times continue as Rhino will issue Christmas Party Plus!, a package that highlights Monkees holiday songs past and present, on November 29 for Record Store Day 2019. This special release will include two 7" singles on color vinyl (one red/one green), all housed in a gatefold sleeve and limited to 5,000 copies.
The first record features two versions of the lead single from Christmas Party, "Unwrap You At Christmas." It will be heard here in its radio mix, and is accompanied by a previously unissued demo version by XTC's Andy Partridge, a longtime Monkees devotee who also penned this chestnut for the group.
The second record will include the classic performance of "Riu Chiu" (originally seen on "The Monkees' Christmas Show" episode in 1967), and is partnered with "Christmas Is My Time Of Year," which appears in its original 1976 mix for the first time in decades.
Be sure to check out Record Store Day's website to locate participating stores near you! And all things Christmas Party, including music videos, reviews, photos from the recording sessions, and more, can be found in the archives of the Live Almanac.
“Unwrap You At Christmas (Radio Mix)"/ "Unwrap You At Christmas" –Andy Partridge (featured vocal by Holly Partridge)
"Riu Chiu (Original TV Version)"/ "Christmas Is My Time Of Year (1976 Mix)"
This summer, Rhino Records has been celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock. To commemorate that moment in popular music history, Rhino launched their "Summer of '69 - Peace, Love and Music" retail campaign on July 9 with a series of limited-edition vinyl releases available exclusively at participating brick and mortar retail outlets. On July 23, the soundtrack to The Monkees' 1968 feature film, Head, was issued on silver vinyl as part of Rhino's celebrations.
Thanks a lot to Live Almanac contributor Ben Belmares for sharing his scans of this latest issue of the Head soundtrack.
Coming this September: Limited edition of The Monkees' "Christmas Party" on red/white vinyl (and more)
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM MONKEES.COM:
Yes, we’re a little late for Christmas in July, but hey, we’re early for Christmas in general! The Monkees’ first-ever Christmas album, CHRISTMAS PARTY, is coming to 180-gram vinyl for the very first time on September 13 in a few different formats:
Good ol’ black 180-gram vinyl at most retailers
A limited-edition red or green version exclusive to independent record stores
A red and white “candy cane” exclusive, available only at Monkees.com!
Our Monkees.com red and white “candy cane” version is strictly limited to just 1,000 copies, so don’t wait for Santa to snag it for you.
CHRISTMAS PARTY is pressed on 180-gram vinyl tucked into a beautiful gatefold sleeve by comics legend Michael Allred. It includes all the new holiday favorites from last year’s collection, with the addition of The Monkees’ shining moment “Riu Chiu (TV Version)” as performed live acapella on the Christmas episode of their show.
PRE-ORDER THE LIMITED EDITION RED/WHITE VINYL BY CLICKING THE IMAGE BELOW:
BUNDLE SET ALSO AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER:
Late A&R head’s reissues of everyone from the Ramones to the Monkees combined a scholar’s authority with a fan’s zeal
Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval remembered his friend Gary on Facebook:
By Justin Rakowski
Salt Lake City – December 6, 1969. As The Monkees walked off stage, nothing would ever be the same. At least in terms of their original run as a quartet, that was unceremoniously reduced to a trio earlier in the year. Apart from a few contractual obligations, Michael Nesmith was no longer a Monkee. This left Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones to continue on in some capacity. In addition to making a few promotional appearances under the guise of The Monkees throughout 1970, Micky and Davy undertook what would be the final Monkees album of the original Colgems era. Released in June of 1970, Changes unfortunately did nothing to bolster their fading popularity. While the single "Oh My My" barely cracked the Billboard Hot 100, Changes failed to grab the attention of what remaining fans they had and did not chart in its initial production run.
As decades passed and different waves of Monkees reunions cropped up, leading to more positive reevaluations of their career and musical output, Changes still held a somewhat “black sheep” quality when compared to The Monkees' other Colgems records. Growing up in the 1990s, I was too young to remember the massive resurgence in popularity the group experienced during their 20th Anniversary in 1986. Luckily, I discovered the "Pre-Fab Four" through Nick at Nite reruns during the mid-90s, leading me to hunt down every album released through the Rhino Records reissues on CD. Even as a young Monkees fan, Changes carried a stigma like no other Monkees LP had and initially I barely gave it a listen. Over the course of the ensuing years, my appreciation of the album grew slightly, but it still never reached the level of importance as their other albums.
In 2012, I met the woman who I would fall in love with and ultimately marry a few short years later. On one of our first dates, I discovered that she was quite familiar with a good number of Monkees songs, albeit the ones that were featured on the show, as she too watched the Nick at Nite reruns. Naturally, I gave her copies of all their albums, excited to see which one she would hold dear to her heart. After making her way through everything, I was shocked to find that she adored Changes and had memorized the lyrics to every song featured on the album in only a few short days. Her love for the album was contagious and I now started to listen with a different set of ears and appreciate it for what it was – a solidly written and performed set of catchy bubblegum songs that acted as a perfect bookend to a period that started with an album (The Monkees) that was essentially a solidly written and performed set of catchy bubblegum songs.
Through all of this, as many Monkees fans know, the multitrack recordings for all of the Jeff Barry-produced songs from the 1970 sessions are missing. Unfortunately this also includes two tracks, "Which Way Do You Want It" and "Ride Baby Ride," that were recorded but ultimately left off the final pressing of Changes. Given all these facts, we’ve been told time and time again that a Super Deluxe set of the album would be impossible given the lack of content. Once a Super Deluxe set of Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. is released in the coming years, the journey that Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval started nearly a decade ago will have ended. As a fan of both The Monkees and Andrew, I am incredibly grateful for the amount of dedication from them to bring us such wonderful sets and can’t wait to have a shelf with all the Super Deluxe sets next to each other, providing us with perhaps the most complete auditory history of a band’s output. But, the set will feel quite lonely if Changes isn’t there in some capacity to bookend everything as it did almost 50 years ago when it was first issued.
With all of that in mind, I propose a solution. When the time comes to make a decision on the merits of a Super Deluxe set of Changes and the missing tracks that still have not been found, here is a track listing that could fill three CDs and properly tell the story of The Monkees' Colgems-era output, including Davy’s final contractual obligation for Colgems that resulted in his self-titled album released on Bell Records in 1971. With that being said, I present you with…
CHANGES (SUPER DELUXE EDITION)
23. Oh My My (Mono Promo Film Mix)
24. 99 Pounds (Stereo Remix)
25. Midnight Train (Demo)
26. I Never Thought It Peculiar (No Strings and Backing Vocals)
27. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Mono Mix without Overdubs)
28. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Mono Mix with Overdubs)
29. I Never Thought It Peculiar (Stereo Remix)
30. Time And Time Again (Take 1)
31. Time And Time Again (Mono Mix)
32. Time And Time Again (Stereo Mix)
33. Post Cereals "Monkees Cereal Box Records" Commercial
34. Kool-Aid "Nerf Ball" Commercial
35. Kool-Aid "Buzzer" & "Snake In A Can" Commercial
36. Together (Davy Jones With Sam & The Goodtimers - Live on Music Scene - December 22, 1969)
37. Interview With Davy Jones on Music Scene (December 22, 1969)
38. Oh My My (Live At The Palace Theater - Cleveland, Ohio - July 27, 1997)
39. Midnight Train (Live At The Mayo Performing Arts Center - Morristown, New Jersey - Aug. 27, 2015)
BONUS VINYL 45
"Acapulco Sun" EP by The Monkees
Oh My My
Do You Feel It Too?
Thank you very much to Justin Rakowski for submitting his essay to The Monkees Live Almanac! I would also like to acknowledge John McCutcheon's wonderful website Monkee45s for some of the scans seen above.
While prepping this piece for the Live Almanac's blog, I contacted longtime Monkees fan, collector, and author Ed Reilly to see if he could share some unique Changes-era pieces from his collection to complement Justin's work. The items below come from Ed's collection - thanks, Ed!
Bell Records released the original Monkees albums in Japan throughout 1973 and 1974:
Thanks a lot to Ben Belmares for sharing his scans of The Monkees Greatest Hits, the 1976 compilation that Rhino Records has just reissued on orange vinyl as part of their "Start Your Ear Off Right" promotional campaign. Thanks again, Ben!
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.
A big thanks to (who else?!) Ben Belmares for sharing his scans of the Target version of The Monkees' new holiday album, Christmas Party.
John Hughes speaks to Micky & Michael about "Christmas Party," future touring plans, and more on Rhino podcast
On October 12, Rhino Records will release Christmas Party, the first-ever collection of Christmas music by The Monkees. The album 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"), as well as R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 ("Christmas Party"). Adam Schlesinger, who produced the LP (and 2016's Good Times!), collaborated with novelist Michael Chabon on "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 this Friday. A vinyl edition is in the works but will not be issued until 2019.
Retail giant Target will carry an exclusive bonus tracks edition of Christmas Party beginning on October 19 (a week after the release of the standard edition), and it's currently available for pre-ordering. Target's compact disc will feature two additional songs: "Riu Chiu" and "Christmas Is My Time of Year."
While we wait for the video of the first single, "Unwrap You at Christmas," to arrive, take a moment to catch up on all things Christmas Party in the archives of the Live Almanac!
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:
Thank you very much to John Hughes of Rhino Records for providing The Monkees Live Almanac with an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek in the studio when Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Scott McCaughey (The Minus 5) joined Micky Dolenz to record the tracks "Christmas Party" and "Jesus Christ" for the upcoming Monkees holiday album, Christmas Party. John is the executive producer of this latest Monkees project.
Left to right are guitarist Jody Porter, producer Adam Schlesinger, John Hughes, Mark Pinkus (President, Rhino Records), Micky Dolenz, drummer Brian Young, Peter Buck, and Scott McCaughey:
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 in 1991 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!
Last week, The Boston Globe, while interviewing Michael Nesmith, hinted that a Monkees Christmas album was forthcoming, even mentioning two songs that Nez had recorded for the project:
The surviving Monkees, Nesmith, Dolenz, and Peter Tork — Davy Jones died of a heart attack in 2012 — recorded a well-received comeback album, “Good Times!,” in 2016. True to form, Nesmith was not enthralled when the band asked him to take part in a follow-up, a Christmas album. But he relented, cutting two songs for the upcoming release, covers of “The Christmas Song” and “Snowfall,” the weird seasonal standard written by Claude Thornhill.
Speculation surrounding new Monkees recordings has abounded since June 2017 when Fountains of Wayne guitarist Jody Porter, who played on the 2016 Monkees album Good Times! (which was produced by his bandmate Adam Schlesinger), commented on Facebook that he would soon be in Los Angeles to work on a new Monkees LP.
Even before that, Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, the legendary new wave group responsible for songs like "Tempted and "Pulling Mussels (From the Shell), told Iain Lee on his UK radio show that he was writing songs for another Monkees album.
And now, Amazon has a listing for Christmas Party, set to be released by Rhino Records on October 12, 2018. Another website, Mascom, shows the album with the following track list (and low resolution artwork), advertising "new songs written by Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Andy Partridge (XTC), and Peter Buck (REM)":
Stay tuned to The Monkees Live Almanac for all of the latest about this upcoming release!
On this edition of THE RHINO PODCAST, host Dennis is in the booth with the one and only Micky Dolenz and Monkees reissue producer Andrew Sandoval to talk playing concerts in supermarket parking lots, Don Kirshner, JC Penney, long hair, Look Magazine, and why only 12 tracks originally made it on to MORE OF THE MONKEES. Find out what was left on the cutting room floor and how you can now hear those songs when you tune in.