About the book
Music changed tremendously between 1966 and 1970. January 1966 began with We Can Work it Out. By 1967, the Beatles had given us “Sgt. Pepper.” Later in the year, I Am The Walrus expanded music even greater, and by the end of 1970, we were listening to My Sweet Lord.
The radio in 1970 sounded nothing like it did in 1966. There was no other time in musical history where music so drastically changed in such a short period of time.
And in the middle of all that were the Monkees.
That’s why we decided to arrange this book in chronological order based on recording dates. We think it will make a more interesting read. Instead of a research book — an encyclopedia of songs — we would rather have you read this from start to finish. This way, you can see how the music changed, not only in response to what was happening elsewhere in the music world, but within the Monkees’ own eras: The Boyce/Hart beginning, the Don Kirshner hits, the “we’re a real band” rebellion, the “three solo artists sharing an album”, the “we’re just the singers”, and the various reunions finally leading to “Good Times” which tries to place us right back at the beginning again, full circle.
We also discuss the albums themselves at their proper time chronologically.
This organization is also important because many of the Monkees songs were released long after their recording dates – it’s why Tear Drop City seems so out of place on the same album as Shorty Blackwell.
Many songs were also re-recorded over time. The version heard on the TV show may not be the one heard on the record. (And sometimes the TV show would speed up a song to make it fit into the show better!) We consider the songs on the twelve main albums as the “official” versions.
We included many songs that were never intended to be released but have seen the light of day through the “Missing Links” albums and the other extended versions of various LPs. However, we also ignore some of them too. Some of those extras are just rehearsals, parts of songs, unfinished bits, and things that honestly you’re not missing if you never hear. So please excuse us if we don’t discuss extended CD track 17: “Micky burps into the microphone.”
About the interviews
This book contains short interviews and comments from musicians who knew or were influenced by the Monkees:
- Gene Cornish (The Rascals: Groovin’, People Gotta Be Free, How Can I Be Sure)
- Ron Dante (The Archies: Sugar Sugar, Bang Shang a Lang)
- Dean Friedman (Ariel, Lucky Stars, Well Well Said the Rocking Chair)
- Tommy James (Crimson and Clover, I Think We’re Alone Now, Mony Mony)
- Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits: Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter)
- Butch Patrick (actor; The Munsters, Lidsville)
- David Peel (Lower East Side: The Pope Smokes Dope)
- Stu Phillips (Monkees TV series composer)
The book also includes
An Introduction from Howard Kaylan (The Turtles, Flo & Eddie, The Mothers of Invention);
A Foreword from Jerry Beck;
A cover by noted cartoonist Scott Shaw! (and a list of all the characters on the cover);
A short history of the group;
A detailed listing of all of the live performances by the Monkees from 1966 to the present;
A listing of every TV appearance (other than their own show);
A chart showing where their songs were on the Billboard Top 100 Singles and Top 200 Albums charts, along with a list of their albums and songs arranged by how well they performed on the charts;
Some of the fan comments from this web page; and
Pictures of all the album and single covers as well as many other pictures, including book covers, toys and merchandise, magazine covers, and live performances.
What the book is not about
It’s not about the TV show. It’s about the music, which has lasted 50 years.
It’s not a book with exacting details about every single song. There’s already an excellent book about that so there was no need for us to write another one.
It’s a book where we examine the music and discuss how it evolved and changed from start to finish, and where we give our opinions about each song. It’s fans talking to fans about the music.
Give us your comments!
To the right, you’ll find a list of some of the songs we discuss. Please feel free to enter your comments about each one. Share your thoughts. If you have a story about what that song means to you, let us know. If you’re aware of any interesting trivia about that song, let us know that as well.
If you were involved in the song any way (as a musician, producer, writer, or Monkee) we really want to hear from you.
Be sure to include your real name in your submission. We only want comments about the music, and not about politics or religion or anything else irrelevant. Your first comment must be approved, but after we know you’re not a spammer or a robot, you can post without having to get it checked first. Abusers will be removed. Be nice everyone!
The list here does not have as many songs as the book. In the book, we also look at some of the more obscure ones that showed up on the “Missing Links” albums and the various extended editions of the album re-releases.
Mark Arnold and Michael A. Ventrella