In the summer of 1987, Rhino Records delighted Monkees fans when it delivered Missing Links, the first album to officially assemble unreleased Monkees songs long stored away in the vaults at RCA. Except for "Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears" and "If You Have the Time," both of which had been aired on the Saturday morning repeats in the early 1970s, and "Nine Times Blue," performed live by Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Davy Jones on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969, the remainder of the tracks were largely unheard (though some had floated around previously on bootlegs). Missing Links also featured what at the time was widely considered The Monkees' most famous lost song, "All of Your Toys," recorded during the Headquarters era and later shelved because of a publishing dispute. Initially available on LP and cassette, the collection was expanded in compact disc form in December 1988 with bonus tracks.
Two more Missing Links volumes followed: Volume Two arrived in 1990 and Volume Three in 1996. Volume Two, issued on cassette and compact disc only, included more previously unreleased tracks as well as versions of songs originally heard only on The Monkees TV show that were ultimately re-recorded by The Monkees under their creative control (the first recorded takes of "You Just May Be The One," "Valleri," and "Words," to name a few). Volume Three, available on CD only, continued this same approach of unreleased material and alternate versions. Bill Inglot and Andrew Sandoval's deep dive of the vaults that resulted in these finely crafted collections remain fan favorites.
All these years later, the original Missing Links trilogy is now slated to make a comeback for an exclusive, limited edition release on July 17 as part of a pandemic-adjusted Record Store Day 2021. Friday Music, which has previously tackled various Monkees reissues, announced today that all three Missing Links albums will be available on 180 gram audiophile vinyl in multiple color variations, limited to 2,000 copies for each volume. Of note, Volume 1 will contain the CD bonus tracks that were not part of the original vinyl and Volume 2 will feature the CD bonus tracks not found on the original cassette. This release also marks the premiere appearance of the second and third Missing Links installments on vinyl. Notably, the original cover of Volume 2 has been altered.
Record Store Day was founded in 2007 and has become an annual tradition. 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 have had several Record Store Day releases, all of which are collected in the archives of The Monkees Live Almanac. Be sure to search a list of this year's participating stores where you can pick up your selections, but be aware that the color of the vinyl inside your Missing Links copy will be a surprise.
Missing Links Volume Two
Missing Links Volume Three
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith