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Music Box Disc 2
Disc 2 - 1967

The final straw in The Monkees’ musical showdown with Kirshner, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” was the single that broke the camel’s back.  By issuing this single without the band and Raybert Productions’ permission, Kirshner found himself ousted from The Monkees project.  Kirshner immediately sued Columbia Pictures for $35.5 million dollars, and the single was recalled.  It would be reissued weeks later with a different flip side.

Neil Diamond: “It sounds more like a Neil Diamond kind of song.  I would guess that it was something that I had started and thought that they might be able to do or like.  I was not involved in the session at all; as a matter of fact, I’ve never met The Monkees.  I’ve always been very thankful to them because they helped pay for my kid’s braces!  I have a wing of my house dedicated to them.”

2. SHE HANGS OUT (Single Version)
At the heart of Kirshner’s dismissal was his refusal to include a Monkees-performed recording on one side of the band’s third single.  Unfortunately, Kirshner felt obligated to give Neil Diamond the A-side of the record after the success of “I’m A Believer.”  Moreover, producer Jeff Barry probably wanted another slice of the pie.  “She Hangs Out” was originally slated as the flip side to “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.”  It is possible that the song was first circulated on a custom-pressed promotional single manufactured by Don Kirshner at the beginning of February 1967. 

This single’s label read: “MY FAVORITE MONKEE” DAVY JONES SINGS.  This was not only an overt reference to Jones’ apparent loyalty to the Svengali, but a testament to Kirshner’s assertion that he could “do it without them.”   The “them” being Mike, Peter, and Micky, and the “do it” meaning record and release Monkees records regardless of whom they featured.  In Canada this single somehow managed to make it to the stores as a standard release (without the “FAVORITE MONKEE” business on the label).  But the rest of the world wouldn’t hear the song until the group’s recording was released on November 1967’s Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.


“The Girl I Knew Somewhere” wound up as the flip side of commercially released copies of “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.”  It hails from the second-ever recording session to feature The Monkees singing and playing as a group.  At their first group session a month earlier, The Monkees had tried the song with Michael on lead vocals, but the results were turned down for release.  The purpose of the second version, included here, was to record a new take with Micky singing lead, ensuring the song’s chances for single release.

Chip Douglas (producer): “It was Lester Sill’s feeling that Micky should sing it.  Probably Bert and Bob’s too.  It never occurred to me because it was Mike’s song.  Lester must have suggested, ‘Well, get Micky to sing it, and we’ll put it out as a single.’”

“The Girl I Knew Somewhere” was one of Michael Nesmith’s breeziest pieces and worked especially well in the group dynamic.

Michael Nesmith: “That was out of the ‘You Just May Be The One’ mold.  An attempt to write pop songs that might be playable by the group as a band.”

Peter Tork: “It’s one of Mike’s better ones of the era.  I remember the harpsichord solo.  I had the general idea for a while, and then Mike was in my dressing room, and I played him what I had for it.  I was noodling around with it.  Then we hit that discord on the downbeat at the end of the solo, and I hadn’t meant to do that.  I said, ‘What was that?’  Mike said, ‘I heard it, I heard it.’  I tried it again – it just seemed to be locked into my hands.  We were tickled to death to have this funny note.  It disappeared in the record.  You know the harpsichord did not work too terribly well in pop music.  It was just something that I wanted to do because I’m partly a classicist.  I believe in the old stuff.  Bach was already by that time my favorite composer, so harpsichords were the thing.  I had one on the TV show episode with Julie Newmar; they mounted it on a bicycle.”


Bill Martin’s “All Of Your Toys” was cut in January 1967 at the first group recording session, and it was hoped that it too would become a single release.  However, Jim Dickson and Eddie Tickner (managers of The Byrds among other artists) owned the song’s publishing rights, and the two refused to sell the song outright to Screen Gems.  Screen Gems in turn refused to release anything they could not wholly own.

Chip Douglas: “We thought that was going to be a great single.  I got real excited when Bill Martin showed it to me.  I said, ‘Hey, this would be great.’  I didn’t realize at the time that I didn’t have a chorus.  I probably would have written one had I had the chance to do it today.  It was the kind of song that I didn’t quite finish off right; it kind of goes into this rip-off of ‘Paperback Writer’ build-up thing in the middle, with the ascending ‘ahs.’”

Neil Diamond’s “Love To Love” was taped at the New York sessions for “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” and was ultimately shelved when Kirshner was fired.  In August 1969 the backing track was dusted off by music coordinator Brendan Cahill, who supervised Davy Jones’ double-tracking of a new lead vocal onto the two-year old recording.  Work never progressed beyond this point, and “Love To Love” was not originally issued.  In the early ‘70s a rough mix of the song escaped the vault, eventually turning up on the 1979 Australian-only compilation Monkeemania.

Neil Diamond: I never heard them do it.  You know honestly, I don’t ever remember sending it to The Monkees or The Monkees ever recording it.  It may have been one of the songs I was writing for one of my albums that Jeff tried with them.”

Michael Nesmith’s “You Told Me” kicked off The Monkees’ first group-only album, Headquarters.  The song’s bass line and mock frantic count-off were inspired by The Beatles’ Revolver album opener, “Taxman.”

Peter Tork: “The opening is satirical of ‘Taxman.’  That’s the one with the banjo.  Very interesting use of banjo on that cut – thought it really kicked it.  I suppose anybody listening to it would sort of automatically throw that into a country bag in their mind, but I always thought that that was just a pretty ‘rock-y’ use of the banjo.  My friends all said, ‘That’s your ax, buddy.’  I think that it just really kills when the banjo comes in right in the middle of that, and the band hits with that nice bass drop.  I think in some ways that one moment whips the other two albums to hell.  Tommy and Bobby were really experts at doing what they did, and Donnie was an expert at doing what he did, but none of those guys were really interested in how music is just exciting in and of itself.”

Boyce & Hart’s “I’ll Spend My Life With You,” a Kirshner reject from the More Of The Monkees sessions, was rerecorded for Headquarters.  With a great production courtesy of Chip Douglas, the band’s agile performance makes this second version clearly superior.

Tommy Boyce (songwriter): “We wrote that in the office.  In those days I was a bit confused about women in general.  This particular girl – she left me for a gangster, actually, a New York gangster.  Bobby helped me finish it, and I played it for her thinking that it would maybe get her to stay with me.  Of course she left.”

Peter Tork: “I liked ‘Spend My Life With You.’  I managed to talk to Tommy about that.  It was one of the few real songs he wrote, because there really was somebody.  You can tell, you know, that the song is real heartfelt.  Something about it is not jacked-up and forced.  Did you notice, incidentally, there were no traps on that song – there’s not a drum kit on it.  The rhythm section is Micky playing backbeats on the guitar and David on the tambourine.  Michael was taking a few pedal steel lessons.  I would not like to have seen us become a country music band, but I love the idea of Michael playing pedal steel.  He’s a very powerful guy in a lot of ways.”

Prior to his production debut on Headquarters, Chip Douglas had played bass with such groups as The Turtles, Modern Folk Quartet, and The Gene Clark Group.  He contributed his song “Forget The Girl” to the Headquarters project, a selection that did not originally meet with Kirshner’s approval.

Chip Douglas: “I’d showed it to Kirshner, and his comment was, ‘It kind of has a negative message, don’t you think?’  I was really taken aback.  I’d never thought about it that way.  It was kind of advice to myself.  I was crazy about a girl who had this other guy that she was crazy about.  I knew it was never going to work out.  I had real mixed feelings when we did that because no one could pick up on the original riff that I had worked out for it.  I had gone with (The Turtles’) Mark Vollman into Harmony Records, and we made this little demo of it.  It was more like ‘Rescue Me’ from Fontella Bass.  I was hoping it would sound Motown.  Nobody could get the hang of that riff because of the way it started.  It didn’t start on the downbeat; it was a couple of beats before the downbeat.  It turned out a lot more bubblegum than I had hoped.”

Peter Tork: “I thought that was a pretty good song, actually.  He’s a pretty sophisticated musician, but I’ve heard places where his sophistication just totally ran away with him.  This was not a case where that happened.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I like the changes, and I like the lyric too.  It was fun to do.”


Michael Nesmith’s “You Just May Be The One” proved to be the group highlight of Headquarters.  Captured in just two takes, the results are pop perfection.  The song dates back to Nesmith’s days as a folk artist performing at the Troubadour club in West Hollywood.

Chip Douglas: “That’s when I first got to know him; he knew me more than I knew him.  I saw him with Bill Chadwick doing ‘You Just May Be The One.’  That is the one song that I remember I was real impressed with.  I remember those harmonies – Bill Chadwick hitting that high A note (on the bridge).  I thought, Wow, that sounds neat.  So when the song came up for suggestion to put on the album, I said, ‘Yeah, that’s great.  Can we do that same harmony like you guys used to do it?’ He said, ‘Sure, Micky will do it.’”

Peter Tork: “It has to bars of five in the middle of it, which Mike didn’t know he’d written.  I mean, I told him that, and he just didn’t take it in because he never listened to me.  Somebody else told him, and he came at me yelling, ‘Look what I did!’  It was a good Mike song.”

Historical note: Michael Nesmith produced an earlier version of “You Just May Be The One” during sessions for the first Monkees album.  Like many other tracks from this period, this first version appeared on the television soundtrack only and was unissued until the release of Missing Links, Volume Two in 1990.


Another Headquarters highlight is Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil’s “Shades Of Gray.”  Vocally, the song features a graceful blend of Davy, Peter, and Micky’s voices.  Musically, it boasts a baroque string and horn arrangement courtesy of Mike and Peter.

Chip Douglas: “I guess the vocal arrangement was pretty much my idea.  There was some collaboration that went on.  I’m sure we tossed it around, but I generally always tried to get them to sing together.  Put harmony parts onto each other.  We just started somewhere with Davy and continued and added more parts as we went along.”

Peter Tork: “Great song.  We were just thrilled to death with that.  We created that arrangement ourselves from scratch.  I don’t remember what kind of a demo they gave us.  Mike wrote the horn and cello parts, and I notated them.  Mike basically wrote the counterpoint stuff in his head.  It was great to have him do that and to know how to tell a French horn player what to do.  I created that piano intro.  I thought, by the time I got it done, This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.”

Historical note: The August 12 issue of Billboard reported that “Shades Of Gray” was to be released as a single after strong airplay in regional markets such as Milwaukee.  However, no single was ever released from Headquarters in the United States.

Peter Tork: “My only regret is that we couldn’t generate a bona fide single off that album in this country.  ‘Shades Of Gray,’ I guess, has been deemed to be the hit from that, sort of an album hit.”

Chip Douglas: “Micky’s song was maybe going to be the single.  There was some talk about it, but I guess it just wound up having no single.  They thought, ‘Well, we’ll just sell the album, we don’t need a single.  We’ll just synch all the songs in the TV show, we’ll make a big advertising thing about the album, and that’ll be enough.’”

One of the last songs recorded for Headquarters, Tork’s “For Pete’s Sake” lyrically presaged the rapidly approaching Summer of Love.  The song, which was adopted as The Monkees’ second-season closing theme, was co-written by Tork’s housemate, the late Joey Richards.  Richards later co-wrote The Byrds’ single “Bad Night At The Whiskey” with Roger McGuinn.

Peter Tork: “The lyrics were just out of he air.  It was really handy.  It was just me playing these chords at my house, and Joey Richards threw in a couple of odds and ends of lines as I was going along.  It just fell right into place.  There was no particular reference; we weren’t thinking about anything much.  The lyrics sound a little silly to me now, but it was OK.  Mike played the seventh changes on the organ.  The thing about it that I remember is that one note is an added fourth; it’s not a suspended.  It was so weird, and it sounds so funky.  I was really pleased with that.  My first song on a Monkees record and my first song that I had written.”


This rollicking number was the first track taped specifically for the Headquarters album, on February 23, 1967.  A sprightly Nesmith country-rocker, the song was quickly adopted into The Monkees’ live repertoire.  It remained a fixture of the group’s set list through their Far East tour in 1968.  When the reunited foursome (clad in matching red velvet suits) performed it on their British Justus tour in 1997, it was hard to believe that it wasn’t 1967 all over again.

“No Time” grew out of a jam session with some “pro” players that took place toward the end of the Headquarters sessions.  The results of that jam were haphazard and unusable, so a few days later, the group (sans pros) returned to hit the simple 12-bar style number on their own.  This “group-only” recording was the most spirited performance on the entire album.  With the quickly completed track at hand, a set of lyrics was composed to make light of their hectic schedule.  Being that this was the last session for an already overdue album, they literally had “no time” to waste.

Michael Nesmith: “I think that was something that just popped out of the session.”

Micky Dolenz: “We were working real well together at that time.  I remember we just wanted to do a rock ‘n’ roll tune.  I think that probably started off as a jam or maybe it started off as ‘Long Tall Sally.’”

Peter Tork: “‘No Time’ was just a Chuck Berry rip-off.  Micky and Mike went out into the hall and wrote these weird-ass lyrics for it.”

Micky Dolenz: “I remember Mike and I sitting in the control booth writing the lyrics.  Coming up with, ‘Hober reeber sabasoben hobaseeba snick’ – that was Bill Cosby, who we were big fans of at the time.  Then, ‘Runnin’ from the rising heat to find a place to hide, the grass is always greener growing on the other side’ – is police and marijuana.  ‘Andy, you’re a dandy, you don’t seem to make no sense’ – is about Andy Warhol.”(2)

When the song was completed, the writer’s credit was given to engineer Hank Cicalo as a gift from the band.

Micky Dolenz: “We just gave him the song as a tip for being so loyal and such a wonderful engineer for so many years.  He made a lot of money off that!  But we wrote it; he didn’t write it.”

Peter Tork: “Hank got into a little trouble about it too, because engineers are not supposed to solicit songs.  When RCA saw his name on the thing, they thought, ‘God, he solicited this tune.’  He had to go in there and explain.”

Chip Douglas: “He was able to make a down payment on his first house with that.  They were anxious to take care of everybody, because we’d all worked on it together and put in a lot of time and effort.  It was a group effort definitely.”

Headquarters’ closing track is actually one of the first items recorded for the project.  Written by Micky Dolenz in February 1967 during a trip to London, the song was recorded a few days later.

Micky Dolenz: “It was the morning after The Beatles had thrown us a party.  I had some girl with me, and my friend was in the room just sittin’ around.  I was literally making it up as I went along.  It’s not very significant, but it mentions The Beatles, it mentions this girl that I was with at the time, who later on was to become my first wife.  She’s the girl in the limousine.  It was just about my experiences.  It was like word association.  Mama Cass is in there, The Monkees’ experience of the limos and black, darkened windows and black leather Naugahyde.  Then there was a social comment about being abused for having long hair.  When I got back we were doing Headquarters, and I started playing it.  I don’t recall specifically how we managed to put the arrangement together, but it was a pretty collaborative effort at the time with Chip Douglas.  I should think Chip had a lot to do with it.”

Peter Tork: “God, I remember when Micky showed me that – I was so excited.  (He) played me the verse, and he played me the chorus, and he said, ‘And then at the end we do them both at the same time!’  Wow, that was a brilliant piece of music.  I’ve always thought that Micky was far more creative than he ever gave himself credit.  I always thought that song was proof of it.”

The Monkees hadn’t had a single on the charts since “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” in May, and “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” recorded the day after the band’s triumphant Hollywood Bowl concert, restored them to the Top 10 in July 1967.  Written by the team of Goffin & King, “Pleasant Valley Sunday” is a social commentary on suburbia.

Chip Douglas: “It didn’t take too many takes.  Bill Chadwick played the rhythm guitar, and Mike played the lead live and then overdubbed it and fattened it up.  That was my riff that I threw in there and taught to Mike. It took about two weeks for him to learn that.  Not many guitar players can play it the right way.  I’ve seen them all try on the various stage bands – you know they don’t quite have it right.  It’s kind of an offshoot of The Beatles song ‘I Want To Tell You’ but in a different tempo and with different notes.”

Michael Nesmith: “Chip came in and said, ‘You know, what we need is a riff.  We’re living in the time of the riff: “Paperback Writer” and “Last Train To Clarksville,” “Day Tripper.”  You know guitar riffs.  How does this riff sound?’  I said, ‘Well, teach it to me.  Let me see.’  So he taught it to me, and he said, ‘You know, we could put this to “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” and it would really work well.’  I said, ‘That sounds good to me.’  So I pulled out the Black Beauty (Nesmith’s prized Gibson Les Paul model guitar), hooked it up, and we made it.  I remember we went after the guitar sound.  Everybody was trying to get that great, big present guitar sound – nobody knew quite how to do it.  I think I used three (Vox) Super Beatle (amplifiers) in the studio, playing really loud trying to get the sound.  It just ended up sounding like it does, kind of wooden.  There was a type of limiter/compressor called a UREI 1176, and boy, you could really suck stuff out of the track.  That was the first time that we really could do it.  I think everybody got a little carried away with the 1176 on that record.”

Chip Douglas: “I wish I could hear the original demo, because there’s a line in there that I can’t recall if I got right.  It’s in the bridge, ‘Creature comfort goals, can only numb my soul and make it hard for  me to see.’ ‘Make it hard for me to see,’ for some reason I had the impression that I didn’t do the right line or changed it possibly.  I remember seeing Carole King up at the Screen Gems office after we did “Pleasant Valley Sunday.”  She kind of gave me this dirty look.  I thought, ‘Was it that line that I got wrong perhaps, or didn’t she like the guitar intro?’”(3)

The song’s fade was a production innovation with the track feeding back into an endless tunnel of reverb, finally crashing to a thunderous halt with the stopping of the tape machine.

Chip Douglas: “We just did one take like that, and I think Hank said, ‘How about we crank on some reverb and make this big psychedelic sort of ending.’  I said, ‘OK, fine.’  He just started to add the echo and boost the pre-echo, and that’s the way it turned out.  We kept that take and thought, Wow, far out.  Let’s use this one.”

Michael Nesmith: “That’s just your standard psychedelic ‘Whoa, let’s leave that on there!’”

Peter Tork: “It went into mush at the end.  We let it fade off into echo and psycho-jello.  We were pretty full of ourselves in those days, some of us anyway.  Poor Davy never did get what this stuff was about.”

For the flip side of “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” a Boyce & Hart song was rescued from the More Of The Monkees sessions and recut.  Using the old version as a model, the band’s new recording was almost identical, except for a moody organ solo from Peter Tork, which replaced the original version’s flute piece.  The final product was so strong that it charted independently of “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” at #11 – the group’s most successful B-side ever.

Bobby Hart: “‘Words’ was written before The Monkees project was given to us.  It was another one of the songs I was doing in the nightclubs with my band, The Candy Store Prophets. ‘Words’ and ‘She’ were from the same period of about six months.  We were highly influenced by the new psychedelic wave that was hitting L.A.”

Tommy Boyce: “‘Words’ was a fabulous song.  We had done American Bandstand way up in Bakersfield, and they had this hayride.  There was this one girl kind of standing over to the side.  So we said, ‘Why don’t you come on the hayride with us?’  She said, ‘No one really talks to me up here.’  I said, ‘Well, come on and have a good time.’  Her name was Rosemarie.  About two weeks later she sent us this unbelievable thank-you note.  I remember I showed it to Bobby.  As you opened the card, it just said in big letters ‘WORDS can never express how nice you two were to me.’  I said, ‘Wow, what a great idea for a song – Words!’  That’s when we thought it would be a good idea to have Peter come in and sing with Micky.  It’s overlapping.  Give him a chance to sing.”

Chip Douglas: “I never really heard the other one very much, but it’s something they wanted to do.  We tried to do it as close to the original one, I guess.  The only difference is there’s Monkees in the background instead of Boyce & Hart.”

John Stewart’s “Daydream Believer” was the second-biggest-selling record of The Monkees’ career and their fifth straight gold single.  It is surprising then to note that “Daydream Believer” may have never been a hit if not for a bizarre twist of fate.  The song “Love Is Only Sleeping” was originally slated to follow “Pleasant Valley Sunday” as a single, but when the overseas masters did not arrive in time to make the scheduled simultaneous worldwide release, the single was postponed. 

Eleven days later Screen Gems officially scrapped the release, deciding that the more commercial flip side, “Daydream Believer,” should be placed on the A-side.  The revamped record was issued on October 25, 1967, and it became The Monkees’ third and final chart-topping single a few weeks later.  The song itself carries one small change from John Stewart’s original.  The line “Now you know how happy I can be” originally contained the word funky in place of happy.  Some felt that Davy might sound awkward bragging about his funkiness, so this small change was made.(4)

The flip side of “Daydream Believer” was “Goin’ Down,” a group concoction that grew out of a spontaneous jam session.  The chord progression was a spin-off of a Mose Allison blues alternately known as both “Parchman Farm Blues” and “Parchment Farm.”

Michael Nesmith: “Peter had always loved to jam on ‘Parchment Farm’ and started off on this thing.  We just headed off into la-la land.  Then Micky started riffing this thing over the top of it.”

Peter Tork: “Somebody gave me an arrangement of ‘Parchman Farm’ that a friend of theirs had sort of generated – the real folk process at work.  I had played that version around for a while amongst the guys.  I don’t remember why we started playing it that day, but we just jammed it unrehearsed.”

Micky Dolenz: “It was the exact same song, and we were covering it basically.  So we did the tracks, and it came out real good.  I remember Mike saying, ‘All it is is the chord progression; we’re not going to steal the melody or anything.  Let’s use this track but write other words, another melody to it.  Why should we just cover somebody else’s tune?’  So I said, ‘OK, fine.  Good idea.’”

Peter Tork: “Next thing I knew Lester came to us and said, ‘Listen, we’ve written some lyrics for that song, and we’re gonna overdub some horns, and get Micky to go in and do it.’  That was it.  That was ‘Goin’ Down.’  It was really great, you know, one of the things that can only come up if you’re sort of engaged in the recordmaking process on a regular basis.”

Micky Dolenz: “Diane Hildebrand was given the track, and she was told to go away and write a song.  She came back with this song, and I started practicing it.  Singing it like this (adopts slow tempo).  She said, ‘No, no.  It’s twice that fast.’  I was doing it half-time.  I remember that I said, ‘What?!’  She said, ‘Yes, it’s twice that fast.’  I get a lot of comments about that tune.  (On the TV show) I did that live.  You don’t see nobody doing that stuff these days, do ya?”

The Monkees’ fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., put yet another spin on the group’s sound.  While they still played most of their own musical accompaniment, their recordings now featured a compliment of sidemen to fill out their sound.  The album kicked off with “Salesman,” a Nesmith twanger written by a protégé of Michael’s named Craig Smith.

Michael Nesmith: “Craig Smith was a member of a band The Penny Arkade.  It was Chris somebody and Craig, and they were writers and singers.  I really liked the way they sang.  I produced a couple of songs on ‘em.  They wrote one thing called ‘Give Our Love To All The People,’ which I just really liked.  The reason I was drawn to ‘Salesman’ was because it reminded me of Sir Douglas and the Tex-Mex oom-pah.”

Chip Douglas: “I used to see him around all the time.  He was sometimes on the set and stuff.  I saw him once when he was spaced out and had come back from Peru and had an album he was selling hand-to-hand.  He had long hair and a spider tattooed in the middle of his forehead.  He was just a nice kid, you know, a nice American boy.  To see him years later was pretty bizarre.  He said, ‘Remember me? I used to be Craig Smith.  My name is Maitreya Kali now.’  He was pretty trippy.”

Historical note: Craig Smith’s (or Maitreya Kali’s) homemade album Apache features his own version of “Salesman” with a lead vocal from none other than Mike Love of the Beach Boys!  It is now a widely pirated psychedelic rarity.

Unlike the publishing stalemate that occurred when the group tried to release Bill Martin’s earlier “All Of Your Toys,” no such conflict erupted over his “The Door Into Summer.”  This was the result of Martin’s decision to move his songwriting interests to Screen Gems, which enabled him to freely submit material to the group.  Despite Martin’s optimism, this would be his sole released Monkees credit, though he would regularly contribute to future Monkees activities, group and solo.  Of particular note, Martin was involved in a number of Michael Nesmith’s video projects, including Elephant Parts, which in February 1982 won the first-ever Grammy® award for a video.

Bill Martin (songwriter): “The title was based on the Robert Heinlein’s book The Door Into Summer, which was about time travel.   ‘The Door Into Summer’ is about the search for happiness and is basically an antiwar song.”

Chip Douglas: “We did a demo of that together, Bill Martin and I.  It had a real good feel to it, but we had to redo it for some reason.  Someone didn’t like it, one of the guys or something.  I was always a little disappointed in the newer version from the original demo of it.”

Bill Martin: “Micky tried singing it, and Mike tried it a couple of times also.  The problem was that they didn’t like the echo at RCA, so they strung me a mike from Studio A to the men’s bathroom.  Mike did his vocal in there to achieve the right effect.”

Michael Nesmith: “I didn’t have anything to do with it.  They said, ‘Will you come sing?’  That’s all I did.  I was not part of the creative process nor did I understand the process in any way.  I was a hired singer.”

As previously noted, “Love Is Only Sleeping” was originally slated to be a single.  When this did not come to pass, it became one of the many psychedelic-influenced songs on Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.  The group first heard the song via a demo from songwriters Mann & Weil.

Michael Nesmith: “I remember when they would send me Barry and Cynthia’s songs.  We were always looking for songs to record.  I just remember liking the song quite a bit in the demo.”

Chip Douglas: “We all listened to the demos and we all said, ‘This one sounds good.  Let’s do this.’  So it was a group effort when it came to the demos; we’d all listen down.  ‘Love Is Only Sleeping’ had a strange time signature to it: 7/4 time.  I think (that riff) was on the original demo.  It’s a D tuning.”

Peter Tork: “Kind of a smoky background, wasn’t it?  Kind of a little surreal.  Pisces, Aquarius was all a mixed bag.  I don’t have any recollection of ‘Love Is Only Sleeping.’  I might not have been there.”

Harry Nilsson’s “Cuddly Toy” had been demoed specifically for The Monkees during a private session in March 1967.  Nilsson had signed with RCA Records only a matter of weeks before and was just beginning to record his critically acclaimed Pandemonium Shadow Show album for the label.  The Monkees cut the song in April 1967, making “Cuddly Toy” the oldest recording featured on Pisces, as well as the last Monkees studio recording to feature Micky on drums.

Chip Douglas: “It might have been the first thing we did after Headquarters, because it has Micky on drums.  It had the Headquarters sort of lineup on it.”

Peter Tork: “That’s me on piano.  That I remember.  There’s something great about that one too.  It was great to meet Harry.  He was so talented and so obviously good right away.”

Chip Douglas: “I’d known him from being with Phil Spector.  He was still working at the bank when he was working for Spector.  Never making any money.”

Michael Nesmith: “Bill Martin brought Harry over while we were doing Headquarters. What I understood was that Harry was working at a bank at the time and writing songs on the side, trying to make a living at it.  He had a stack of ‘em, but I loved ‘Cuddly Toy’ when I heard it.  I said, ‘Oh man, we gotta do this.’”


Though it was originally credited to their ‘60s alter egos Travis Lewis and Boomer Clark, “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?” is actually the work of Michael Murphey and Owen Castleman.  The pseudonyms were part of the baggage of their incarnation as The Lewis & Clark Expedition, who along with Sajid Kahn and The New Establishment, made up the remainder of Colgems Records’ non-Monkee artist roster.

Michael Nesmith: “I knew Michael from Dallas before The Monkees and had remained an acquaintance of his.  Watched his songwriting.  Thought of him as a good songwriter.  One of the things that I felt was honest was country-rock.  I wanted to move The Monkees more into that, because I felt like, ‘Gee, if we get closer to country music, we’ll get closer to blues, and country blues, and so forth.’  Michael and Boomer Castleman – Boomer was his nickname – were writers at Screen Gems, and they wrote all kinds of really wonderful little songs, and ‘Hangin’ ‘Round’ was just one of them.  I think Mike Murphey was more of the architect of that song than Boomer Castleman, but I don’t know, they may have written it equally.  It had a lot of ‘uncountry’ things in it: a familiar change from a major to a 6th minor – those kinds of things.  So it was kind of a new wave country song.  It didn’t sound like the country songs of the time, which was Buck Owens.”

Michael Nesmith’s “Daily Nightly” was a groundbreaking track for The Monkees.  The lyrics were inspired by the November ‘66 riots on the Sunset Strip, while the music sounded like it came directly from outer space, via Micky Dolenz’s use (the first ever recorded on a pop record) of the Moog synthesizer.

Michael Nesmith: “I wrote it because I had bought a Hammond B-3.  That guitar line – that’s a keyboard lick that I’m not sure how it goes over into the guitar, but it got over there.  I may have done it or Chip may have done it.  It was kind of a rambling comment on the Hollywood street scene of the time.  When Ben Frank’s was going on and all that.  As a matter of fact, somewhere around that time (the nightclub) Pandora’s Box had burned down. 

Pandora’s Box was at the intersection of Crescent Heights and Sunset Boulevard.  That was a very important corner there, and they had caught a bus on fire, which had then in turn burned down Pandora’s Box.  That was the first real time that those crazy kids got out of control.  I was amused by the obvious inability of the press to digest this information; they just didn’t have any sense of what was going on at all.  Completely lost. So I just wrote it down in that poem.”

Micky Dolenz: “That was the first time anybody had used a Moog as far as I know on a pop album.  I had the first Moog on the West Coast.  Somebody introduced me to this guy in L.A. named Paul Beaver; he was representing the Moog Company out here.  I went over to his workshop and saw one in operation.  I was blown away and ordered one immediately to go on the road – it was built in traveling cases.  We took it on the road – it was kind of weird – hell of a thing to set up.  It was a monstrosity to operate compared to what’s around now.  It was very difficult to tune.  So, Paul Beaver came around and helped me set it up and tune it.  It was pretty exciting.  I remember Mike was really into it.  He thought it was incredible, because it was state of the art at the time.”

Goffin & King’s “Star Collector” closed the Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album with more spacey Moog music – and a somewhat salacious lyric for The Monkees.  The song, which dealt with the growing phenomena of rock groupies, predated The Rolling Stones’ similarly themed (and titled) “Star Star” by some six years.  Also of note, a Moog “professional,” the late Paul Beaver, was brought in to twiddle the knobs and handle the more musically complex parts on “Star Collector.”

Chip Douglas: “After Micky experimented with his synthesizer I thought, ‘Well, let’s find a real synthesizer player.’  I’d heard about Paul Beaver; Micky had told me about him.  He was a good player, and he knew what to do.”

Peter Tork: “Micky’s Moog part on ‘Daily Nightly’ was, I thought, brilliant.  Another example of his intense creativity when he was into it.  He just made the Moog stand up and speak in a way that Paul Beaver didn’t.  It was like Paul thought it was a flute or something.  He was kind of out there musically, but it was still within the normal harmonic bounds.  Micky just went out there with his stuff; it was about screeches and swoops.  I went to a party at Micky’s house once with a friend, and we were standing there, and I said, ‘And there is the famous Moog synthesizer.  Micky’s one of the better Moog players around.’  Micky came by at that moment, and he said, ‘Yeah, but it’s even better if it plays itself.’  He pushed a few knobs and turned the thing on and then walked away.  It honked and did things on an absolutely random basis, never repeated itself.  It was so interesting.  You know he was really out there, Dolenz.  One of my great regrets is that he wasn’t able to credit himself for his own creativity.  That to me is one of the great tragedies of the history of The Monkees.  Maybe the greatest single tragedy, aesthetically anyway.”

The annotated Track-By-Track Notes for this disc can be found on a tab on the left or by clicking here.
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