The Monkees Live Almanac would like to wish a very happy birthday to legendary rock and roll/Monkees photographer Henry Diltz, who was born on this day in 1938 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Henry is also a musician, and was a member of the Modern Folk Quartet in the 1960s. While a member of MFQ, Diltz became interested in photography, met The Monkees, played on some of their recording sessions (that's Henry on banjo on "D.W. Washburn"), and took numerous pictures of the group. Henry was the official lensman at Woodstock and has photographed numerous album covers, including Morrison Hotel (The Doors) and the debut LP from Crosby, Stills & Nash.
In honor of Henry's birthday today, here's one of his photos taken during production of the second season Monkees episode, "Hillbilly Honeymoon," in September 1967:
"Hillbilly Honeymoon" eventually aired on NBC on October 23, 1967:
Happy Birthday, Henry Diltz! Read more about Henry and his legendary photographic work in the archives of The Monkees Live Almanac (scroll down after clicking on the link)!
In 2016, Patrick Zappi penned a three-part series, "Reimagining The Post-Peter Albums." And now Patrick has contributed another piece to The Monkees Live Almanac, featuring a retrospective playlist of Peter Tork's musical career that not only includes his time in The Monkees, but also highlights Peter's work as a solo artist, his musical partnership with James Lee Stanley, and his stint in Shoe Suede Blues.
"Come On In: The Best of Peter Tork (1966-2016)" by Patrick Zappi
Since 1966, the press and purported "serious" music critics have reveled in stories about The Monkees and their musical prowess. But after the group's triumphant 45th Anniversary Tour in 2011, progressive journalists have reassessed The Monkees' musical catalog and many now choose to celebrate this cast of actors, singers, and musicians and their metamorphosis into an authentic recording and touring project.
As longtime fans already know, and contrary to urban legend, the individual members of The Monkees all played multiple instruments with varying degrees of skill. Peter Tork cut his teeth in the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene, gigging with the likes of a then unknown Stephen Stills in The Buffalo Fish and jamming onstage with Mama Cass in her pre-Mamas and Papas project, The Mugwumps. Tork was a multi-instrumentalist who mastered the banjo, guitar, bass, piano, and even the French horn with exuberance. His stunning instrumental contributions are undisputed highlights of the Monkees catalog: the beloved piano lick from "Daydream Believer," the ominous organ solo on "Words," the breezy harpsichord on "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," the propulsive banjo on "You Told Me," the aggressive bass on "You Just May Be The One," the majestic piano on "Shades Of Gray," the rolling keyboards on "The Door Into Summer," the tense electric piano solo on "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and the famous guitar-intro to his own composition, "For Pete's Sake," which became the closing theme for The Monkees television series in its second season. The list goes on and on!
Peter's singing and songwriting however, were met with a different response. With a questionable pitch and a lovable but infrequently utilized voice, Peter became the Ringo Starr of The Monkees, an ace in the hole who was lucky to score a single lead vocal on any given album. In his heyday, Tork was an inspired but seemingly frustrated songwriter. Overshadowed by the prolific and somewhat dominant Michael Nesmith (who just happened to title Peter's signature composition "For Pete's Sake"), some of Peter's quirky, folksy, and bluesy gems were initially left unreleased until The Monkees' incredible resurgence in 1986 that ultimately opened the studio vaults. After that unprecedented commercial resurgence, Tork was able to spread his wings as a solo artist, exploring his folk roots with longtime friend and musical partner James Lee Stanley, tackling the roadhouse blues with the tongue-in-cheek titled band Shoe Suede Blues, and finally bringing his peculiar vision to life with 1994's Stranger Things Have Happened.
In February of this year, we lost Peter Tork to a longtime battle with cancer, but his music survives. The following is a retrospective of his career for fellow fans to enjoy. As Peter wrote, "To say that you can dig it, is to make your soul to fly . . . to heaven."
"Pleasant Valley Sunday" (With James Lee Stanley, Two Man Band, 1996)
"Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky" (The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., 1967)
"Your Auntie Grizelda" (The Monkees, More Of The Monkees, 1967)
"Words" (The Monkees, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., 1967)
"Shades of Gray" (The Monkees, Headquarters, 1967)
"Cripple Creek" (The Monkees, Live 1967)
"Alvin" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Tear the Top Right Off My Head" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Come On In" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Seeger's Theme" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Lady's Baby" (The Monkees, Originally Unissued, 1968)
"Prithee" (The Monkees, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, 1969)
"Can You Dig It" - Peter's lead vocal originally unissued (The Monkees, 1968)
"Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again" (The Monkees, Head, 1968)
"MGBGT" (The Monkees, B-side to "Heart & Soul," Live 1986)
"Gettin' In" (The Monkees, Pool It!, 1987)
"Since You Went Away" (The Monkees, Pool It!, 1987)
"Milkshake" (With Micky Dolenz & Michael Nesmith, Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Sea Change" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Giant Step" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"Tender Is" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
"I Believe You" (The Monkees, Justus, 1996)
"I Remember Christmas" (With James Lee Stanley, A Beachwood Christmas, 2003)
"Saved by the Blues" (Shoe Suede Blues, Saved by the Blues, 2003)
"Slender Tender and Tall" (Shoe Suede Blues, Saved by the Blues, 2003)
"She Belongs To Me" (Shoe Suede Blues, Cambria Hotel, 2007)
"Vagabond John" (Live 2012)
"Little Girl" (The Monkees, Good Times!, 2016)
"Wasn't Born to Follow" (The Monkees, Good Times!, 2016)
"Early Morning Blues and Greens" (The Monkees, Live 2013)
"For Pete's Sake" (Shoe Suede Blues, Cambria Hotel, 2007)
"Daydream Believer" (With James Lee Stanley, Once Again, 2001)
"Higher and Higher" (Stranger Things Have Happened, 1994)
Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith concluded the most recent leg of "The Mike & Micky Show" tour with a sold-out performance in Sydney, Australia at the legendary Sydney Opera House. Thanks to Ashley Kate and Roger D on YouTube for providing these wonderful videos!
As an added bonus, here's Nez and the band performing a rendition of Michael's "Silver Moon" during soundcheck in Sydney:
Note: The set lists for the shows in Perth and Sydney were identical to the set performed in Melbourne.
Live at The Palais Theatre, Melbourne, Australia
Live at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia:
Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz continue to promote their current tour in Australia, this time with an appearance on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering.
Micky and Nez were interviewed today by Angela Bishop on the Australian morning talk show Studio 10. "The Mike and Micky Show" debuts down under this Saturday evening in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Fiona Apple and more join Jakob Dylan in Laurel Canyon music documentary ‘Echo In The Canyon’
Thanks very much to Monkees fan Kirrily Ferngrove who created this wonderful video in tribute to The Monkees and posted it on YouTube:
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:
The Monkees' 1969 television special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee aired 50 years ago on April 14, 1969. Monkees archivist and producer Andrew Sandoval documented the making of the special in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the '60s TV Pop Sensation:
Thanks a lot to SirQ for alerting the Live Almanac to his personal restoration of 33 1/3:
In this very rare clip that was just uploaded to YouTube, Michael Nesmith performs "Propinquity" during what is seemingly an appearance on The David Frost Show in late 1971.
Don't forget to check out the history of this Nesmith classic in a previous post on the Live Almanac's blog, and enjoy this great performance!
In the spring of 2013, Peter Tork embarked on a solo tour entitled "In This Generation." Produced by Monkees archivist Andrew Sandoval, the show highlighted Peter's eclectic career in music.
In this video, filmed on June 1, 2013 at The Granada Theater in Dallas, Texas, Peter delivers an inspired performance of the Monkees classic "Pleasant Valley Sunday."
A big thanks to Sherri Hansen for sharing her wonderful footage from two stops on the just completed "Mike & Micky Show" US tour!
After reuniting in 1986 and undertaking worldwide tours through 1987, The Monkees were relatively out of the limelight in 1988. Peter Tork reemerged late that year with a short solo tour that included multiple shows at The Speakeasy in New York City. I vividly recall these concerts being advertised in fan club newsletters like The Monkees/Boyce & Hart Photo Fan Club and Monkee Business Fanzine, and later seeing Michael G. Bush's photos from the Speakeasy.
Beginning in the late 1970s and right up to The Monkees' phenomenal 1986 comeback, Peter had played numerous club dates in and around New York City as a solo artist and with his bands The New Monks and The Peter Tork Project, as documented in an essay on this blog by Fred Velez in 2017. Looking back, it's interesting to see how Peter seamlessly transitioned from playing stadiums, arenas, and amphitheaters in 1986 and 1987 while returning to the more intimate setting of New York City clubs in 1988. During these shows, he was backed by Jerry Renino (who was a member of The Peter Tork Project as well as The Monkees' backing band from 1989-2002), Michael Levine (electric fiddle), and Mal Stein (drums).
The March 1989 issue of Monkee Business Fanzine covered Peter's late 1988 concerts, which also included stops at The Town Crier in Pawling, New York and The Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts:
As mentioned in the above article from Monkee Business Fanzine, Peter's shows at the Speakeasy were recorded for a live album that ultimately was never released. However, thanks to Scott Erickson, select samples of those live recordings were heard for the very first time in a recent post on the Live Almanac's blog.
Heather Sciacca recently uploaded her photos from one of Peter's shows at The Speakeasy in New York City on the Torkees Discussion Group on Facebook. Thanks, Heather!
Finally, here is video footage of Peter's appearance at The Speakeasy in New York City (which is now a comedy club) on November 26, 1988, courtesy of Jennifer Winkle: