In an August 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Peter talked about The Monkees' third #1 single, 1967's "Daydream Believer":
"This comes from what I called the 'mixed-mode' period. The first one was the Don Kirshner mode where he oversaw the records and everything was under his control. Then we did Headquarters where it was just us. 'Mixed' was us and some pros in the studio. With 'Daydream Believer,' I was on the piano and I came up with this opening lick which I thought was just sparklingly original. When you play it today, everyone thinks of 'Daydream Believer.'
"What really makes the song work, I think, is the chord change on 'Jean' in 'Cheer up sleepy Jean.' It goes from a IV chord to a V chord to a III. That's a very unexpected and sweet chord change. It really grabs your attention. Then there's the line, 'What can it mean to a daydream believer and a homecoming queen.' It doesn't go right in your face, but when you think about it you figure it out. You're like, 'Okay, the guy is in a workaday world and he's got his head in the clouds. His girlfriend was a homecoming queen, but they're still scratching.' You don't get all that until you think about it for a long time.
"Davy sings this one, and he was such a talented guy, and a good actor. He was probably the best actor among us. He probably had the best musical mind, too. The best brain and maybe the best heart. "
The Monkees' last original single, "Oh My My," was released in April 1970. The group's fanbase had shrunk considerably by this time, and the song received limited airplay and suffered even worse sales figures. Debuting on the Billboard chart on June 6, 1970 at #99, it peaked at #98 the following week.
The Live Almanac broached this topic last year - what are your choices?
The music video for "Every Step of the Way," the second single from The Monkees' 1987 album, Pool It!, was filmed in a Los Angeles alley on October 9, 1987. It debuted on Nickelodeon's Nick Rocks video show on Friday, November 6, 1987.
Here's the video with Micky's live vocal for "Goin' Down" that was featured in the second season of The Monkees:
50 years ago today, The Monkees commenced work on "Pleasant Valley Sunday." Andrew Sandoval documented the June 10, 1967 session at RCA Hollywood, one day after The Monkees' triumphant concert performance at the Hollywood Bowl, in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
Gerry Goffin & Carole King's "Pleasant Valley Sunday" is one of Chip Douglas's most complex productions for The Monkees. Sadly, session tapes will not survive for this landmark date so it is impossible to follow this wonderful creation step-by-step. The basic track is most likely recorded with Chip Douglas and Eddie Hoh forming the rhythm section of bass and drums while Michael and Peter perform on electric guitar and piano. Union documents indicate Micky is also present for this session, and it is quite possible that he contributes some acoustic guitar to the track. Additional guitar overdubs will be recorded tomorrow.
Chip Douglas: "Mike played the lead guitar. That was my riff that I threw in there and taught to Mike. Not many guitar players can play it the right way. ... It's kind of an offshoot of the Beatles song 'I Want To Tell You' but in a different tempo and with different notes.
"I wish I could hear the original demo, because I can't recall if I got a [lyric] line right or not. It's in the bridge, 'creature comfort goals can only numb my soul and make it hard for me to see.' For 'make it hard for me to see,' for some reason I had the impression that I didn't do the right line in there, or changed it possibly. I couldn't understand that line, or something like that. One of those great mysteries.
"I do remember seeing Carole King up at the Screen Gems office from across the room after we did 'Pleasant Valley Sunday.' She kind of gave me this dirty look. I thought, 'Was it that line that I got wrong, perhaps? Or didn't she like the guitar intro?' It was faster, definitely, than the way she had done it. She had a more laidback way of doing stuff."
Michael Nesmith: "I remember that we went after the guitar sound. Everybody was trying to get that great big present guitar sound - Beatle [amplifiers] in the studio, playing really loud trying to get the sound, and it just ended up sounding kind of ... like it does. Kind of wooden. There was a tube-type of limiter/compressor called a UREI 1176, and boy you could really suck stuff out of the track. That was the first time that we really could do it. I think everybody got a little carried away with the 1176 on that record."
On June 11 and 13, 1967, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was treated to overdubs, including backing vocals from all four Monkees.
In a 1982 interview with Bruce Pollack, Peter Tork discussed the blending of Micky and Michael's voices throughout "Pleasant Valley Sunday":
"A notion of mine that I was really pleased with took over at one point, and that was having two guys sing in unison rather than one guy doubling his own voice. So you've got Mike, who was really a hard-nosed character, and Micky, who's a real baby face, and these two voices blended and lent each other qualities. It's not two separate voices singing together, it's really a melding of the two voices. Listening to that record later on was a joy. "
"Pleasant Valley Sunday" was issued as Colgems single #1007 on July 10, 1967, right in the middle of The Monkees' ultra-successful summer tour that year. It was backed with "Words," written for the group by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The single is considered to be one of their most successful (certified Gold just four days after release), and it's worth noting that radio gave attention to both sides. As a result, "Pleasant Valley Sunday" peaked at #3 in Billboard while "Words" topped out at #11. The songs were later featured on The Monkees' fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
A week before The Monkees was set to debut on NBC on September 12, 1966, The Monkees undertook a promotional tour that made stops in Chicago, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. The group would be introduced to deejays, members of the press, and record dealers. The band's first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," had been released in August and was already quickly climbing the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The promotional tour was launched in Hollywood on September 1 with a private reception at Screen Gems. A "gigantic block party" was organized to commemorate The Monkees television series, and two episodes were screened during the festivities. The Monkees gave a brief performance in front of the gathered attendees, but it's not known which songs were played.
"Heart and Soul," the first single from The Monkees' album Pool It!, was released in July 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.
The latest stellar release from 7a Records is a very limited edition (500 copies) 7" yellow vinyl single featuring two live cuts by Davy Jones. The single includes Davy and his band performing "Daydream Believer" and "I Wanna Be Free" during a tour of Japan in May 1981.
Be sure to purchase your copy today at Amazon (in the US or UK) or via Deep Discount! You can also hear audio samples of the tracks from a previous post here on the blog.
As always, thank you very much to Ben Belmares who shared the scans of his copy with the Live Almanac!
This article is a time capsule on the state of The Monkees heading into what turned out to be the very challenging year of 1969 for the group. Davy talks about the lack of success of their most recent singles and why he thinks they underperformed. He also discusses 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee (which had yet to air), songwriting (including Micky's "Mommy and Daddy"), what he thinks their 1969 tour should encompass, and much more.
Thanks to 7a Records for giving The Monkees Live Almanac an exclusive sneak peek at their next release, and their first Davy Jones-related product! "Daydream Believer" b/w "I Wanna Be Free" was recorded live in Japan during a concert performance by Davy in 1981. This 7" single will arrive on yellow vinyl and be limited to 500 copies. Details on how to order appear below. Thanks again to 7a!
Pre-orders in the United States are now being taken by Deep Discount and Amazon with a release date of March 3, 2017. The single will be available in the United Kingdom on February 24 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK.
UPDATE 1/30/2017: 7a Records has provided a sample of both sides of the single: