1967 - January: The Monkees "More of the Monkees"

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Manage episode 306633661 series 2520806
By Rob Marbury, Wayne Rowan, Bruce Fricks, and Brian Dickhute. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

This second studio album from The Monkees was number 1 on the Billboard 200 for 18 weeks, displacing their debut album to get there. More of the Monkees has been certified quintuple platinum, was the first pop/rock album to be the best selling album of the year in the U.S. – and the third best-selling album of the 60’s.It is also the one that Monkee Michael Nesmith said was “probably the worst album in the history of the world."

The Monkees were originally Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones. The group was conceived for the TV series “The Monkees” which aired from 1966 to 1968, and the band members primarily contributed lead vocals and only limited roles in the studio, as they were expected to spend their time filming the television series. Michael Nesmith composed and produced some songs, and Peter Tork did some guitar work, but it was mainly session musicians. The Candy Store Prophets were the studio band for the first album, and other session musicians including The Wrecking Crew were involved in the second album.

Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider had the idea for the show. They interviewed musicians for the job, first recruiting Davy Jones, who had been working in Broadway. The instruments played were driven by what looked good on camera rather than what they actually played. Davy Jones was the only one with experience playing drums, but he was considered too short so Dolenz was assigned to the drums. Nesmith was on guitar, Tork on bass, and Jones was the front man. The more natural lineup for concerts would be Jones on drums, Tork on guitar, Nesmith on bass and Donlenz as front man.

The show was a hit, but the music was a bigger hit, with album sales outstripping Nielsen ratings. That pushed the producers to pay more attention to the music. It also encouraged the studio to send the Monkees out to play live concerts. These guys were recording the TV show by day, recording songs by night, and doing special appearances on the weekend, then they had to figure out how to rehearse for live performances. It was all very confusing for the “band,” with Nesmith shocked to see the first album presenting them as an actual band. That was October 1966. But the second album was released while they were on tour as a real band in January of 1967. They hadn’t selected the songs, and it went out without their permission or knowledge. They weren’t even given a copy, but had to buy it in a record store. The album cover was a picture of the band originally taken for a JC Penny commercial. This would eventually lead to the band being able to take creative control, and Don Kirshner being dismissed.

Despite the controversy, this is quite a good album, and quite representative of the music at the time.

(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
This track was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and Micky Dolenz is on lead. Paul Revere & the Raiders originally recorded it, but the Monkees' version is the best known. It was also the first song from the Monkees' to chart as a B-side.

Mary, Mary
Also featuring Micky Dolenz on lead, this track was written by Michael Nesmith. It was originally recorded by The Butterfield Blues Band in 1966, and in the summer of the same year Nesmith produced and recorded the song for The Monkees with Dolenz on lead and the Wrecking Crew on backing instruments. It was never released as a single in the U.S., but was given away as a cut-out cereal box prize in 1969.

When Love Comes Knockin' (At Your Door)
Davy Jones takes lead duties here, and the song was written by Carole Bayer Sager and Neil Sedaka.

I'm A Believer
This is the big hit from the album. Micky Dolenz returns to lead, and the song was written by Neil Diamond. It hit number 1 for the week ending December 31st, 1966, and would be the biggest selling single for all of 1967. It went gold within two days of its release because of advance orders.

ENTERTAINMENT TRACK:

Main theme from the television series The Green Hornet)
This was the last month for a short-lived series was famous for co-starring Bruce Lee as Kato. It also had a crossover with the Batman TV series.

STAFF PICKS:

Happenings Ten Years Time Ago by the Yardbirds
Brian's brings us the psychedelic sensibilities of the Yardbirds. The singer is looking back on the time from a perspective of reincarnation. This song has participation from both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. John Paul Jones also contributed the bass lines for this one.

Look What You've Done by Pozo-Seco Singers
Rob features a folk-oriented piece from Don Williams before his solo career. Williams would go on to have 17 number one country hits. His hits would be covered by everyone from Eric Clapton to Pete Townshend...to Telly Savalas.

(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet by The Blues Magoos
Wayne's staff pick returns to the psychedelic genre. This is the best known song for The Blues Magoos. While not very successful commercially as a band, the Blues Magoos was a big influence on many bands including Pink Floyd.

Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys
Bruce brings us the high water mark song of The Beach Boys' discography. Good Vibrations was the costliest single ever recorded. Brian Wilson recorded a bunch of short musical modules with his bandmates and with session musicians at four different Hollywood studios. He had more than 90 hours of tape to make this 3.5-minute single. Wilson's mother was the inspiration for this song.

COMEDY TRACK:

Snoopy vs. The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen
A novelty song inspired by the comic serial "Peanuts," in which Snoopy often daydreams of fighting the Red Baron in his doghouse - re-envisioned as a Sopwith Camel.

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