In a recent email to subscribers, Andrew Sandoval, author of The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story, provided a detailed update on the shipping status of his new book, which is now expected to arrive in early September. As an added bonus, Andrew takes us back to the fall of 1966 with a compelling account of the initial recording session for The Monkees' signature hit single, "I'm a Believer."
Andrew's message appears below, and there's still time to pre-order a copy of Day-By-Day!
Greetings Beatland Readers!
As July 1966 ended, only Don Kirshner was sure of the Monkees’ success. When his trusted record makers – Snuff Garrett, Mickie Most, Carole King & Gerry Goffin – fell away, he remarkably switched gears to pull together an exceptional album – The Monkees – in just four weeks. And should the resulting release have any kind of success, he also had twelve songs (“All The King’s Horses”; “The Kind Of Girl I Could Love”; “I Don’t Think You Know Me”; “So Goes Love”; “I Won’t Be The Same Without Her”; “You Just May Be The One”; “I Can’t Get Her Off Of My Mind”; “Mary, Mary”; “Of You”; “(I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love”; “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”; “Whatever’s Right”) already in progress to comprise a second album.
“Everybody seemed enthusiastic, except Mike Nesmith. [He had] a big attitude right from the beginning and he said at one point, ‘I’m a producer too, and that ain’t no hit.’ So, it was like, ‘Oooo.’ To break the tension I made what I thought was an obvious joke. I said, ‘Well, Mike, it’s not finished. You’ve got to picture this with the strings and the horns.’ Which I thought there wasn’t going to be strings and horns [on it, but he would understand that] and he goes, ‘Well, maybe it could be something with strings and horns.’ Then he realized everybody laughed and the relationship goes down from there.”
It is unknown if allowing Nesmith to sing at all was a bit of psychological theater staged by Kirshner and Barry to get what they ultimately wanted (Micky on lead vocals). Either way, Donnie would later learn he was playing with fire if his intention was indeed to play Nesmith. “We got in the studio,” recalled Davy in May 1967, “and Mike didn’t sing it the way Donnie wanted him to sing it and Donnie asked Mike to sing it a certain way and Mike didn’t sing it that way. And during a break Mike just split; he just left…He wasn’t taken off lead. He chose to be taken off himself by leaving.”
Peter Mills is the author of the exceptional 2016 book, The Monkees, Head, and the '60s, and a friend of the Live Almanac. A while back, Peter relayed that he had to leave an abundance of material for his book on the cutting room floor, including an examination of Michael Nesmith's work with Ian Matthews in the early 1970s.
And now, Peter is sharing more of his shelved research, this time focusing on one of The Monkees' most iconic songs, "Goin' Down." Enjoy Peter's essay, linked below:
"The Girl I Knew Somewhere" has long been considered one of the most significant songs in The Monkees' canon. It was first attempted at RCA Hollywood on January 16, 1967, a significant day in Monkees history as it marked their first true "group" recording session and helped fuel an already bourgeoning internal power struggle between The Monkees and Don Kirshner.
Written by Michael Nesmith, and featuring Peter Tork's whimsical harpsichord performance, the song went through different iterations in the recording studio, including lead vocals from both Nesmith and Micky Dolenz. On its own merits, it reached the Billboard Top 40 as the flipside of "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and was featured prominently on The Monkees' television show.
Check out this recent piece by Stephen Lewis where he examines what is probably the Live Almanac's favorite Monkees song, and enjoy a few different versions of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" in the videos below!
(Master backing track)
7a Records has revealed that a digital single, "Different Drum" / "Propinquity", will be issued on April 23 as a preview of Micky's forthcoming album, Dolenz sings Nesmith, a collection of songs featuring Micky paying tribute to the songbook of Michael Nesmith. The single can now be pre-ordered from Amazon and iTunes in the US (and in the UK, too), with an official release date set for April 23. Check out the YouTube video below for extended snippets of the songs and more!
UPDATE 4/23/2021: Listen to Micky's new single below, and don't forget to download or stream it via iTunes, Amazon, or Spotify.
The Monkees' legendary 1967 single, "Daydream Believer," is featured prominently in the trailer for WandaVision, the upcoming streaming television miniseries created for Disney+ based on the Marvel Comics characters Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch and Vision.
Check out the trailer for WandaVision below, coming to Disney+ this January:
The former Monkeesmixography website, which classified every Monkees track by mix/master/remaster, and more, is being converted into a book by Craig Smith and Derek Miner. Mixing Links: The Monkees on Disc doesn't have a release date, but fans can now review another excerpt that was recently revealed on their website! Featured in this update is "Goin' Down," originally issued as the B-side to "Daydream Believer" in October 1967. And don't forget to follow Mixing Links on Facebook!
"Goin’ Down" started life as a jam following a take of "She Hangs Out" on June 21, 1967. Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork played electric guitar with a rhythm section of "Fast" Eddie Hoh on drums and producer Chip Douglas on bass. The original tracking was recorded to 4-track tape, though it is most likely the recording was transferred to 8-track for later overdubs. The brass parts were recorded September 15, 1967, both a 12-piece accompaniment (which may have been recorded to just one mono track!) plus saxophone and trumpet solos. It is unclear if the vocals were added before or after this instrumentation.
Thanks to John at Monkee45s.net for the images seen above!
A big thank you to Richard Flynn of All Things Music Plus+ on Facebook for sharing this rare advertisement promoting The Monkees' third single, "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"/"The Girl I Knew Somewhere," originally published in the March 18, 1967 issue of Record World.
In 1979, Micky Dolenz partnered with Chrysalis Records to release "Love Light"/"Alicia" as a single in the United Kingdom. According to The Monkees: A Manufactured Image, the first 1,000 copies were pressed with a picture sleeve, and the B-side happens to be a Dolenz original. Both songs were featured on the 7a Records CD edition of Micky Dolenz - The MGM Singles Collection, and they are now available to stream or download on most major media platforms:
The July 15, 1967 issue of music industry trade magazine Cash Box featured an ad for The Monkees' double-sided smash single, "Pleasant Valley Sunday"/"Words":
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:
Micky's early 1970s singles, originally released on the MGM label, were collected for the first time ever in 2015 courtesy of Iain Lee and Glenn Gretlund of 7a Records, both longtime Monkees fans and co-producers of Micky Dolenz - The MGM Singles Collection.
The set, originally available as a gatefold vinyl and digital download but later released on compact disc, featured the A and B-sides of Micky's tenure at MGM as well as his collaboration with Michael Lloyd (Starship) that yielded the 1972 single "Johnny B. Goode"/"It's Amazing to Me." The CD version contained a plethora of bonus tracks, including Micky's late '70s/early '80s singles and collaborations with Christian Nesmith and Circe Link.
Micky placed his stamp of approval on the project, and conducted several interviews in support of it. "It's really a great package," Dolenz told Examiner.com. "Over the years, I've had versions of those songs, one on a tape here, on a disc here, on a demo here," he said. "It's nice to have them all in one package."
The MGM Singles Collection is a stellar release that is highly recommended by the Live Almanac. Bolstered by the photography of Henry Diltz and superb liner notes (by Mark Kleiner Biggar) and mastering, the set is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK and is also downloadable on iTunes. You can take a look inside the compact disc package below, thanks to Ben Belmares, and read more about Micky's career at MGM in the archives of the Live Almanac.
Liner Notes by Mark Kleiner Biggar
Updated Liner Notes for Compact Disc Release by 7a co-owner Glenn Gretlund
The Compact Disc
"The Christmas Song," the classic holiday standard performed by Michael Nesmith on The Monkees' new album Christmas Party, debuted in music video form today on RollingStone.com. Produced, directed, and animated by Jonathan Nesmith and Susan Holloway, the clip features newly recorded dialogue by both Michael and Micky Dolenz.
Coming after the Live Almanac's exclusive sneak preview yesterday, The Monkees' YouTube channel has unveiled the brand new lyric video for "What Would Santa Do," the latest track in the spotlight from the group's recently released holiday album, Christmas Party. Enjoy!
As revealed yesterday on YouTube during the live chat that accompanied the premiere of its official lyric video, "Unwrap You At Christmas" was treated to a single mix by music engineer and mixer Tom Lord-Alge, who has previously worked with U2, Peter Gabriel, Santana, and many others. You can listen to the single mix below!
Video for "Unwrap You At Christmas" debuts (UPDATED with vinyl release date for "Christmas Party" album and more)
The holiday season continues to deliver for Monkees fans as the brand new lyric video for "Unwrap You At Christmas," the debut single from the group's first-ever holiday album, Christmas Party, has premiered on the official Monkees YouTube channel, and in a brand new single mix to boot! Join the Watch Party in real time now (on the right side of the video).
UPDATE: The chat revealed that the vinyl release for Christmas Party is currently slated for September 2019.
UPDATE #2: Rolling Stone - Watch the Monkees’ New Cartoon Video ‘Unwrap You at Christmas’
UPDATE #3: "Unwrap You At Christmas" (Single Mix) now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and YouTube
(Video credits: Art by Michael Allred / Colors by Laura Allred / Directed by John Hughes)
"Unwrap You At Christmas" is now available for download and streaming! Written for The Monkees by XTC's Andy Partridge, the song features a lead vocal from Micky Dolenz and is the first official preview of the group's holiday album, Christmas Party, set for release this Friday.
"Unwrap You At Christmas" can be downloaded on Amazon and iTunes and is also streaming on Spotify. Listen to it on YouTube below!