By the time The Monkees Present was released in October 1969, the group's commercial fortunes had dwindled. Their eighth LP, it peaked at a disappointing #100 on the Billboard charts. Original plans were more substantial than the product that was finally delivered. "It's going to be a double album," Micky said during an appearance on The Hy Lit Show in late 1968, "where we'll each have a side where we produce our own particular sounds, whatever." Peter Tork's subsequent departure, combined with The Monkees' steady drop in popularity, nixed those ideas.
When The Monkees Present hit record stores, the original double album concept had been pared down to a single disc. Even the cover art fell victim to the group's plummeting fame. Michael Nesmith recalled the change years later in a conversation with Andrew Sandoval. "The one that had the black and white cover done with Marks-A-Lot," said Nez when referring to Neko Cholis' sleeve design, "that was supposed to be in color. Apparently it was in color and they wouldn't do a color separation, because by that time we were, you know, as cold as yesterday's soup. Nobody would spend any money."
In 1994, The Monkees Present made its compact disc debut courtesy of Rhino Records. It was finally issued with a color cover, redrawn and designed by Lisa Sutton:
Here's the unused original color gatefold art for The Monkees Present. Like the color cover design, the gatefold style was not utilized when the LP was ultimately pressed.
The current Live Almanac poll (which can be found in the blog sidebar to the right) is asking fans to choose their favorite Monkees album cover. The Monkees Present is at the bottom of the barrel, garnering just 1.15% of the hundreds of votes cast at the time of this blog post.
Don't forget to vote!
Live in 2021