Welcome To AlbumLinerNotes.com
"The #1 Archive of Liner Notes in the World!"

Your Subtitle text
Pisces, Aquarius
To download this album via iTunes, click here: The Monkees - Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (Remastered) [Deluxe Edition]
To buy this album from Amazon.com, click below:
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd(Deluxe Edition, 2CD)

Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Jones, Ltd.

1. SALESMAN (2:37)
(Craig Vincent Smith)

2. SHE HANGS OUT (2:57)
(Jeff Barry)

(Chip Douglas/Bill Martin)

(Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil)

(Harry Nilsson)

6. WORDS (2:52)
(Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
Also issued as Colgems single #1007, July 10, 1967; Pop #11

(David Jones/Kim Capli/Eddie Brick/Charlie Rockett)

(Travis Lewis/Boomer Clark)

(Peter Tork)

(Gerry Goffin/Carole King)
Also issued as Colgems single #1007, July 10, 1967; Pop #3

(Michael Nesmith)

(Michael Nesmith/John London)

(Gerry Goffin/Carole King)

Bonus Selections:

14. SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT (Previously unissued)

15. GOIN’ DOWN (Previously unissued alternate mix)
(Diane Hildebrand/Peter Tork/Michael Nesmith/Micky Dolenz/David Jones)

16. SALESMAN (Previously unissued alternate mix)
(Craig Vincent Smith)


(Previously unissued alternate mix)
(Chip Douglas/Bill Martin)

(Previously unissued alternate mix)
(Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil)

19. DAILY NIGHTLY (Previously unissued alternate mix)
(Michael Nesmith)

20. STAR COLLECTOR (Previously unissued alternate mix)
(Gerry Goffin/Carole King)



Horns on “She Hangs Out”:
SHORTY ROGERS: arrangement

Horns & Strings on “Hard To Believe”:
ROBERT KNIGHT: bass trombone
VINCENT DeROSA: French horn
JIM HORN: baritone sax
GEORGE TIPTON: orchestrator
ROGER FARRIS: arrangement

Horns on “Goin’ Down”:
SHORTY ROGERS: arrangement

Strings on “Cuddly Toy”: unknown

Recorded at:
RCA Victor’s Music Center of the World, Hollywood;
RCA Victor’s Studio B, New York City;
RCA Victor’s “Nashville Sound” Studio, Nashville;
and Chicago between April 26 & October 4, 1967

Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (tracks 1-13) was originally issued as Colgems #104, November 14, 1967

In late 1967, the time when The Monkees released their fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. the group was at the height of their creative powers. But their problems were just beginning.

“By the time this album came out, we had really gotten our feet under us,” Michael Nesmith remembers. “We were feeling pretty good about the first season, and we were feeling pretty good about our improvisational and comedic skills.

“It was also at the height of Monkee bashing, which was pretty rampant at that point. Everybody in the press and in the hippie movement had got us into their target window as being illegitimate and not worthy of consideration as a musical force. We were really gettin’ beat up pretty good. It’s very difficult to explain now, especially if you weren’t there – the hatred that was engendered is almost impossible to describe. It lingers to this day among people of my age.”

The beginning of ‘67 had seen the group take control of their musical identities and create a formidable “group debut” album, Headquarters. One would think Headquarters’ quality would have silenced many of the group’s detractors.

“Headquarters? Oh, gosh no,” Nesmith is quick to correct. “What happened was staggering. The press went into a full-scale war against us, talking about how ‘The Monkees are four guys who have no credits, no credibility whatsoever and have been trying to trick us into believing they are a rock band.’ Number one, not only was this not the case, the reverse was true. Number two, for the press to report with general alarm that The Monkees were not a real rock band was looney tunes! It was one of the great goofball moments of the media, but it stuck.

“The records were goin’ #1, we were sellin’ millions of ‘em, and the people who somehow had got it into their minds that The Monkees weren’t a real rock band decided that this was some kind of great hoax that was being perpetrated. Which is just absurd. We never were a real rock band. We all knew what was goin’ on inside. Kirschner had been purged. We’d gone to try and make Headquarters and found that our better move was to just go back to the original song-making strategy of the first albums, except with a clear indication of how it came to be.”

The resulting Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., released November 14, 1967, was a shift from the overall purity of Headquarters to a more palatable, though still group-oriented, musical blend. “It’s sort of a mixed-mode band,” says Peter Tork. “You hear us, and you hear the pros. It’s a compromise. It’s not what I would have liked, but it’s better than what was before, as far as I’m concerned.

“Davy was sick of banging a tambourine through 54 takes of the basic tracks, and sometimes 70. Micky is incapable of trying to repeat a triumph – every time he does something great, he’s got to quit doing that. He did a great job on Headquarters, but that was that. So Eddie Hoh did the drumming. I don’t know if Micky could have done ‘Goin’ Down.’ But if Micky had been willing to become the drummer, we would have worked that out. That’s the thing about being a group – you deal with who you’ve got. With studio drummers, the producers make up in their mind what they want to hear, and they get the major professionals who can cut it: Hal Blaine or Eddie Hoh or what have you. The result is you get directed stuff, and there’s no group interaction, which is why I wanted the group to be on the album in the first place. You listen to Beatles albums, and one of the things that makes them great is they found ways to use who they had to get what they want, without asking anyone to do what they couldn’t do. That’s what makes groups work. That’s all I ever hoped for. I had it for a minute on Headquarters, and I thought it was pretty good.”

Aurally, the album reflects both The Monkees’ shifting musical roles and the advancements in recording technology that took place during the late ‘60s. Sessions started in April ‘67 employing two four-track machines but sometime in August shifted to RCA’s newly installed eight-track recording facilities.

Producer Douglas’ greatest concerns were with keeping the group’s attention long enough to get them on tape. “Just getting it done was like a major nightmare,” he says. “After they did Headquarters, it was really difficult to get together and talk about anything. There were all these parties going on at Micky’s house. Mike had his friends and his business things – he was always talking on the phone. There was hardly a minute and a half for you to actually sit down and discuss something without some interruption taking place. It was weird. Things were kind of falling apart. There was less and less time, and everybody was more and more frustrated, wanting to do their own ideas.”

To compound matters, a large portion of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. had to be recorded on the fly during The Monkees’ hectic 1967 summer tour. “Some was done in New York, some was done in Nashville, and some was done in Chicago,” Chip Douglas remembers. “As far as the number of takes per song, it went quicker. On Headquarters there was a lot of editing of different takes together to make one good take. The only difference was we had a different drummer, basically, and a few extra musicians to work with.”

Regardless of the scattered atmosphere of the sessions, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. captures some of The Monkees’ finest musical moments. “I thought Pisces, Aquarius was the one that caught it all,” says Nesmith. “We went back to the basics of making music for the television shows – trying to make good pop records – and I think we did a good job.”

The overall sales of the album (two million copies) still seem staggering. Within two weeks of release, it hit #1 on the charts, eventually logging a remarkable 47 weeks in the Top 200.

Nevertheless, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. would be The Monkees’ last attempt at group music-making, as well as their last album project with Chip Douglas. “They didn’t want to have to go through a central interpreter like me,” Douglas says. “After this album, everyone wanted to do their own songs and produce them the way they wanted to hear them.”

The Songs

“Salesman” kicks off the album in supreme Nesmith-twanging style. The track was cut primarily in Hollywood on June 14, 1967, with Eddie Hoh on drums, Nesmith on rhythm electric guitar, and producer Chip Douglas contributing the rock-solid bass line and gut-string guitar fills. The song was chosen by Michael and composed by a mid-‘60s acquaintance of Nes’, one Craig Vincent Smith. “Craig Smith was a member of a band whose name I can’t remember right now,” says Nesmith foggily. “I really liked the way they sang, and I produced a couple of songs on ‘em. I was drawn to record ‘Salesman’ because it reminded me of Sir Douglas and the Tex-Mex oompah.”

After some controversy, the ultra-sly “Salesman” was used to great effect on episode #52 of The Monkees’ second season. “That song was in the show ‘The Devil And Peter Tork,’” recalls Peter. “Initially, NBC said, ‘We’re not putting that song in because it has drug references.’ What it really says is, salesmen are so sleazy, they’ll just sell anything.”

More to the point, the show’s producers felt that NBC’s problem was with the script, not the song. “Bert Schneider was convinced that the reason that they didn’t want that episode out was that we were challenging the notion that you can’t say ‘hell’ on television,” says Tork. “Bert felt that they didn’t want to put the show on because they were pissed off directly and personally having their idea of what’s right and wrong challenged. They said it was centered on ‘Salesman,’ but he thought it was a red herring.”

“She Hangs Out” was previously recorded and almost issued on the infamous Colgems single #1003, which Don Kirschner attempted to release without The Monkees’ approval. The Monkees’ new and improved recording was previewed on episode #41, a full week prior to Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.’s official release. However, it was presented in an alternate mix that did not feature the song’s trademark Shorty Rogers-arranged horns. That version is unique to the soundtrack of the show and no longer exists as a master.

“The Door Into Summer” was a Bill Martin composition loosely based on the writing of author Robert Heinlein. Unlike the publishing stalemate that occurred when the group tried to release Martin’s earlier “All Of Your Toys,” no such conflict erupted over “The Door Into Summer.” This was mainly due to Martin’s decision to move his songwriting interests to Screen Gems so that he could freely submit songs to the group. Despite Martin’s optimism, this would be his sole released Monkees credit, though he would regularly contribute to various Monkees activities, group and solo.

“Love Is Only Sleeping” was not originally intended to be included on Pisces. This Mann & Weil song was meant to be issued as a single, one month prior to the album’s release. When a manufacturing foul-up caused some delays, Colgems re-thought their strategy and opted to issue the single’s more commercial flipside, “Daydream Believer.”

“‘Daydream Believer’ was supposed to be on the album,” says Douglas. “I always felt that the reason Pisces didn’t sell as well as the previous records was because they didn’t put ‘Daydream Believer’ on it. Lester Sill said, ‘We’re not puttin’ it on this album, we’re puttin’ it on the next album.’ That was their theory, you know, we’ll just keep one as an ace in the hole for the next album.”

“Cuddly Toy” was the earliest track cut for Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. It was recorded on April 26, 1967, under the title of “By Any Boy,” and is the only song on the album to feature Micky behind the drums. It was submitted to the group by the late Harry Nilsson, who first performed the song for the group during a private demo session. Nesmith recalls, “Harry was working at a bank at the time and writin’ songs on the side. He had a stack of songs. When I heard ‘Cuddly Toy,’ I said, ‘Oh man, we gotta do this.’”

With Davy’s super-sweet vocals, The Monkees’ version of “Cuddly Toy” took on an innocent veneer – however, the subject matter of Nilsson’s unsavory wordplay was a Hell’s Angels’ gang-bang. Reportedly, when Screen Gems’ Lester Sill was let in on this fact after the record’s release, he was furious. “There were a lot of double entendres and innuendos going around, but I ignored all that stuff,” says Nesmith matter of factly. “I certainly never had any sense of, ‘This would be cool. We’ll say something euphemistically.’ If I wanted to say something, I would have said something straight out. I liked ‘Cuddly Toy’ because I took it at face value.”

Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart’s lone contribution to Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. was the magnificent “Words.” The song had originally been recorded by Boyce & Hart for More Of The Monkees in August 1966. Using the duo’s version as a blueprint, Douglas and the band recut the track almost identically, but replaced the original version’s flute solo with a Hammond B-3 organ solo.

Tommy Boyce recalled the song’s inspiration: “We had done American Bandstand way up in Bakersfield, and they had this hayride. One girl was standing over to the side, and no one was talking to her. So we said, ‘Why don’t you come on the hayride with us?’ She said, ‘Well, no one really talks to me up here.’ I said, ‘Well, Rosemary, come on, and have a great time.’ When we got back to Los Angeles about two weeks later, she sent us this unbelievable thank-you note. As you opened the card, it just said in big letters ‘WORDS.’ She said, ‘Tommy and Bobby, WORDS can never express how nice you two were to me at the hayride.’ I said, ‘Wow! What a great idea for a song – words!’ That was also one of the first times we thought Peter could actually sing on a record – we thought it would be good for him and Micky to do those overlapping vocals.”

“Hard To Believe,” Davy Jones’ polished bossa nova effort, sits uncomfortably in the album’s otherwise psychedelic potpourri. The song was a collaboration of Jones’ with Monkee roadie Charlie Rockett, and Kim Capli and Eddie Brick, who were the drummer and lead vocalist respectively of the East Coast band The Sundowners. This group, along with Australian chanteuse Lynn Randell, served as The Monkees’ opening act on their summer ‘67 tour. “Hard To Believe” was recorded just before the end of the tour on August 23, 1967, by Davy and Kim Capli alone. As Chip Douglas recalls, the duo made full use of RCA’s new eight-track capabilities. “Kim Capli played all the instruments on that, starting with the drums. I’d never done that with anyone before. I have to admit I was never crazy about that song. Anyone from the outside collaborating with them was kind of like pulling it apart to me. I was always wishing for the group to collaborate.”

Though it is credited to their ‘60s alter egos, Travis Lewis and Boomer Clark, “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?” is actually the work of Michael Martin Murphy 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’ non-Monkees artist roster. “What Am I Doing Hangin’ ‘Round?” was chosen by Nesmith who saw the song as another step in the direction he ultimately hoped to take The Monkees in. “I felt country rock was honest, and I wanted to move The Monkees more into that,” says Papa Nes.

“This song had a lot of un-country things to it – a familiar change from a major to a 6th minor. It was a little bit of a new wave country song. It didn’t sound like the country songs of the time, which were Buck Owens.” Further adding to the song’s “new wave country” credibility was the use of Doug Dillard’s electric banjo.

Aside from his secondary role on “Words,” Peter Tork’s main vocal contribution to the album was the whimsical spoken word piece “Peter Percival Patterson’s Pet Pig Porky.” “That was taught to me by Judy Mayhan, who was a singer that I worked with and managed for a time – she had an album on Elektra,” Tork remembers. “It was just a thing she had heard at a nursery school. I got credited for it because Screen Gems never asked me who wrote it. It’s actually public domain.”

Before its appearance on the album, Gerry Goffin and Carole King’s “Pleasant Valley Sunday” was issued as a single on July 10, 1967. The recording was made on the Saturday and Sunday following The Monkees’ triumphant Hollywood Bowl performance on Friday, June 9, 1967. “It didn’t take too many takes to get that one,” says Douglas. “Bill Chadwick played the rhythm guitar, and Mike played the lead live and then overdubbed it and fattened it up.”

Nesmith remembers, “Chip said, ‘We need a riff like in “Paperback Writer,” “Last Train To Clarksville,” “Day Tripper.”’ ‘How does this riff sound?’ He played the riff to ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday.’ 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 work really well.’ I said, ‘That sounds good to me!’ So I pulled out the Black Beauty (Nes’ prized Gibson guitar), hooked it up and we made it. Everybody was trying to get that great big, present guitar sound – nobody knew quite how to do it. I think I used like three Super Beatle (Vox brand) amps playing really loud, trying to get the sound. It ended up sounding like it does, kind of wooden. There was a type of limiter compressor – which is still in use – called a UREI 1176. It was a tube-type compressor and limiter, and boy you could really suck stuff out of the track. I think everyone got a little carried away with the 1176 on that record.”

Also of note is the track’s remarkable reverb-drenched ending. “I think Hank Cicalo said, ‘Why don’t we crank on some reverb and make this big psychedelic ending?’” remembers Douglas. “The take just went on and on. It was a matter of either fading out or doing something.”

Michael Nesmith’s “Daily Nightly” was the album’s most overly psychedelic track. Micky Dolenz’s use of Robert Moog’s synthesized keyboard on this track marked the first time the instrument had been utilized on a mainstream pop record. “Somebody introduced me to this guy in L.A. named Paul Beaver, and he was representing the Moog company on the West Coast,” remembers Dolenz. “I went over to his workshop and saw one in operation – I was just blown away and ordered one immediately. It was a monstrosity to operate compared to what’s around now. Paul Beaver came around and helped me kinda set it up and tune it and stuff. But it was pretty exciting. I remember Mike was really into it.” After laying the basic tracks for “Daily Nightly,” Micky randomly overdubbed his Moog parts. Chip Douglas recalls, “It seemed chaotic when he was doing it. He had no idea how to play it; it was just random, hit-and-miss kind of stuff. I just turned on the track, and he did it one time through, and all of these weird sounds came out.” (When queried on the current whereabouts of his historic Moog, Dolenz reported with a chuckle, “I sold it to Bobby Sherman!” Easy come, easy go indeed.)

Nesmith’s inspiration for the song was the recent Sunset Strip skirmishes. “It was just a rambling comment on the Hollywood street scenes of the time, when people were meeting at Ben Frank’s (coffee shop), and Pandora’s Box had burned down. That was a very important corner, where the people would congregate. They had set a bus on fire, which in turn burned down Pandora’s Box. That was the first time that those crazy kids had got out of control (chuckles)! 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. So I just wrote it down in that poem.”

Michael Nesmith’s second composition for the album, “Don’t Call On Me,” was a re-vamped version of a song that Nesmith had been playing around with since ‘63. “That was pre-Monkees,” says Nesmith. “It was an experimentation in major 7th chords and what cocktail lounge music was all about.” While the track’s lead vocal was recorded in Nashville, the song’s opening and closing lounge banter was captured at RCA in Hollywood, far from the fictitious Pump Room in Chicago.

“Star Collector” was yet another brilliant song from stalwart tunesmiths Goffin & King. The song’s lyrics, sung by Davy, were about the growing phenomena of groupiedom. Musically, the song’s drawn-out ending is perhaps the most adventuresome and progressive highlight of the group’s catalog. This time around, the late Paul Beaver took over for Micky on Moog. “After Micky experimented with his synthesizer, I thought, ‘Well, let’s find a real synthesizer player,’” says Douglas. “Micky had told me about Paul Beaver. He was a good player and knew what to do.” Peter Tork disagrees: “I always thought Paul didn’t know what he was doing. As far as he was concerned it was just a monophonic keyboard – he played it for the musicality. 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. Paul thought it was a flute or something. He was sort of out there musically, but still within normal harmonic bounds.”

The bonus selections on this reissue of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. give insight into this album’s production process and capture many of the songs in one-of-a-kind alternate mixes from the period.

“Special Announcement” was originally intended to be the kick-off track for Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. It is a parody of the tape-machine alignment instructions used to maintain operations at RCA’s studios in Hollywood. The announcer is Peter Tork, and the closing dog barks were actually made by one of The Monkees during the October 9, 1967, session for the intro and closer of “Don’t Call On Me.” Perhaps sensing that this joke was just a little too obscure, The Monkees deleted this piece when the album was reassembled at the beginning of November ’67.

(Collector’s Note: If you wish to replicate the original line-up for Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., program your CD player to play this disc in the following sequence: 14, 2, 16, 5, 6, 12, 15, 3, 7, 8, 11, 9, 10, 20.)

“Goin’ Down” was originally to be a part of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. as well but was omitted when “Love Is Only Sleeping” was added to the album’s line-up at the last minute. With “Goin’ Down” secured as the flipside of “Daydream Believer,” the powers that be felt no need to include this exclusive track on the album. “Goin’ Down” is presented here in an unissued monaural mix, which is noticeably longer than any previous release of the track. The song itself was a product of the band’s increasingly frequent studio jam sessions. “That was originally the track for Mose Allison’s ‘Parchment Farm,’ and it came out real good,” Dolenz recalls. “I remember Mike saying, ‘Why should we cover someone else’s tune. We’re not stealing the melody.’” “Peter had always loved to jam to Mose Allison’s ‘Parchment Farm’ and started off on this thing,” says Nesmith. “Then Micky started riffing this thing over the top of it, and we just headed off into la-la land.”

Another item in Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.’s original assembly was the slightly different mix of “Salesman” featured here. The main difference between this and the final take is the brief Nesmith sales rap muttered over the fade. This variation first appeared on Rhino’s 1991 Listen To The Band box set in a re-mixed stereo version; however, it is included on this reissue for the first time in its original monaural mix.

The version of “The Door Into Summer” included as a bonus selection reflects Chip Douglas and engineer Hank Cicalo’s varied studio experimentation on this album. Just one of a dozen or so mixes made for this track, this particular version features completely different and somewhat mellower double-tracked lead vocals from Michael, as well as some different backing vocals at the fade from Micky. “It’s one of those things where you keep working on it and it changes, and you get to the final version, and it’s not as good as the earlier version,” says Douglas.

The alternate mix of “Love Is Only Sleeping” represents the stage of completion the material was in when it was transferred to eight-track for further overdubs in August 1967. This particular mix, derived from an original four-track master compiled on July 7, 1967, is notable for its more prominent acoustic guitar and distinctly different backing vocals from Micky and Davy at the close. Similarly, the early mix of “Daily Nightly” featured here is an original stereo tape made of the song just prior to eight-track transfer. When the expanded format was installed, Micky was given the space for his Moog experimentations over several tracks without disrupting the original recording. Finally, “Star Collector” appears here in a previously unissued long stereo mix. This take has even more Moog than the standard mix, plus vastly different edits, centered vocals, and a running time at least a half-minute longer.

– Andrew Sandoval

Produced by CHIP DOUGLAS
Music Supervision: LESTER SILL
Recording Engineers: HANK CICALO & PETE ABBOTT
Original Cover Design: BERNARD YESZIN

Produced for Reissue by ANDREW SANDOVAL & BILL INGLOT
Executive Producer: HAROLD BRONSON

Project Coordination: PATRICK MILLIGAN


Reissue Art Direction: COCO SHINOMIYA


Photos on inside inlay and CD label: NURIT WILDE



The Monkees (R2 71790)
More Of The Monkees (R2 71791)
Headquarters (R2 71792)
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (R2 71793)
The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees (R2 71794)
Head (R2 71795)
Instant Replay (R2 71796)
The Monkees Present (R2 71797)
Changes (R2 71798)
Listen To The Band [box set] (R2/R4 70566)
Live (1967) (R2/R4 70139)
Missing Links (R2/R4 70150)
Missing Links, Vol. 2 (R2/R4 70903)
Pool It (R2/R4 70706)

Heart & Soul (R3 1601)

Receive our special MAIL ORDER catalog featuring over a thousand critically acclaimed Rhino compact discs and cassettes. Send one dollar (check or money order, payable to Rhino Records Inc.) along with your name and address to: Rhino Catalog, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025-4900.

This Reissue/Compilation (P) & © 1995 Rhino Records Inc., 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025-4900.

Website Builder