Here is an ad from the November 1989 Rhino Records catalog advertising the release of Missing Links, Volume 2. (Volume 1 was released in 1987.)
Could we ever see a Volume 4? The last Missing Links collection was released in 1996, right after the original Monkees albums had been remastered for release on compact disc. Those 1994/1995 sets also featured bonus tracks, including alternate versions and unreleased material.
Fast forward to the mid-2000s when Rhino decided to release deluxe editions of the first four Monkees albums. By the time The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees came around for deluxe treatment, the series was turned over to Rhino Handmade. The Handmade division has produced the well received over-sized box sets for the Birds album along with Head, Instant Replay and soon, The Monkees Present. Combined, all of these releases have opened up The Monkees tape vault more than fans could have ever imagined, and arguably more so than other groups and artists.
There is still some material, however, that has yet to see the light of day and would fit nicely on a potential Missing Links, Volume 4 collection. Granted, I'm hoping Rhino restarts the Handmade boxes from the beginning, issuing the first four Monkees albums in that format. If they don't, another Missing Links compilation, via Rhino Handmade, would make sense.
Some unique alternate TV versions of Monkees songs still have not seen official release on CD, and would make a great start for a new collection:
1. "Saturday's Child" - alternate mono mix unique to the TV show soundtrack
2. "Take a Giant Step" - alternate mono mix with a different Micky lead vocal
3. "Laugh" - alternate mono mix unique to the TV show soundtrack
4. "She Hangs Out" - alternate mono mix unique to the TV show soundtrack
5. "Love Is Only Sleeping" - alternate mono mix unique to the TV show soundtrack
6. "Star Collector" - alternate mono mix unique to the TV show soundtrack
7. "All the King's Horses" - alternate mono mix unique to the TV show soundtrack
Other questions can be asked, too. Have more tapes been discovered in the archives? Andrew Sandoval has played multiple unique mixes of Monkees songs on his Come to the Sunshine internet radio program that have yet to see official release. Have the tracking session tapes been located for the Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album? Perhaps one day the multitracks for Changes and the 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee soundtrack will turn up. A dream find would be the recording sessions that The Monkees undertook with Snuff Garrett, the first producer chosen for the project. Then there's the ubiquitous questions surrounding the missing two songs from the Changes recording sessions, "Ride Baby Ride" and "Which Way (Do You Want It)." And finally, what material exists in private collections, whether it be backing tracks, acetates, demos, or completed songs that we have yet to hear?
Andrew Sandoval spoke about the Monkees tape library in two different interviews available on this site that can be found here and here. (And his book, the ultimate guide to the recording history of The Monkees, is available for purchase.)
If you're like me and enjoy the details of each Monkees song and seeing every mix it has been released, a must stop visit for you online would be the great Monkees Mixography website.
Be sure to watch this late 2011 interview with Andrew Sandoval where he discusses The Monkees, their tape library, and much more.
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith