The Monkees

The Monkees

by The MonkeesThe Monkees


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The Monkees' first album was a huge success, following on the number one single "Last Train to Clarksville." The Monkees spent 78 weeks on the Billboard chart including an astounding 13 weeks at number one. The record wasn't only a commercial juggernaut, it also stands as one of the great debuts of all time, and while the record and the group have faced criticism from rock purists through the ages, it stands the test of time perfectly well, sounding as alive and as much fun 40 years later. Prefabricated? Yes. After a fast buck? Yes. Exhilarating? Yes! Fab? Definitely! The music may have been created by studio cats instead of the band themselves but the pros weren't merely phoning it in. Listen to the aggressive guitars on "Saturday's Child," the raw romp of "Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day," or the cascading wall of guitars and fiddles on "Sweet Young Thing," and you know they weren't just padding their bank accounts. They were playing some real rock & roll and you can credit the producers for that. Producers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart aren't craftsmen on the level of Phil Spector (who was actually approached to produce the band but probably laughed the Monkees' team right out the door), but they knew how to craft razor-sharp and exciting pop tunes with lots of spark, soul, and the occasional psychedelic touch. And they knew how to get great vocals from their group. While the Monkees themselves didn't do much more than sing, the singing they did was first-rate. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better pop
ock vocalist than Micky Dolenz; his work on "Take a Giant Step" and "Last Train to Clarksville" is thrilling and bursting with life. The other lead vocalist, Davy Jones, thankfully doesn't get a chance to show off his full range of annoyingly whimsical mannerisms; Boyce and Hart keep him under wraps and his vocals on "I Wanna Be Free" and "I'll Be True to You" are achingly sweet, even a little soulful in a very British way. Boyce and Hart weren't the only great producers involved with the record, as a listen to "Papa Gene's Blues" and "Sweet Young Thing" show that Mike Nesmith also knew how to produce great pop music, despite what Don Kirshner may have thought. The various producers, supervisors, and coordinators were also savants when it came to both writing (in Boyce, Hart, and Nesmith's case) and picking songs for the group. Indeed, the only songs that feel like filler are the rudimentary rocker "Let's Dance On" and the silly "Gonna Buy Me a Dog," but even these throwaways are charming and stand up to repeated listens. It's easy to see why kids were buying this record as fast as the label could press them up. Despite the origins of the group and the behind-the-scenes machinations, the music itself is young, exciting, and free. Who cares who did what and who didn't do what when the results are as rock-solid as "Last Train to Clarksville" or "Sweet Young Thing"? You could stack The Monkees up against almost any record of 1966 and the competition would be fierce, with this record coming out on top except in only a few cases.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/22/2011
Label: Rhino
UPC: 0081227978006
catalogNumber: 527078


  1. (Theme From) the Monkees
  2. Saturday's Child
  3. I Wanna Be Free
  4. Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
  5. Papa Gene's Blues
  6. Take a Giant Step
  7. Last Train To Clarksville
  8. This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day
  9. Let's Dance On
  10. I'll Be True To You
  11. Sweet Young Thing
  12. Gonna Buy Me a Dog

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Monkees   Primary Artist
Glen Campbell   Guitar
Michael Nesmith   Vocals
Bob Cooper   Oboe
Keith Allison   Harmonica
James Burton   Guitar
Davy Jones   Vocals
Louie Shelton   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Micky Dolenz   Vocals,Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Jim Gordon   Drums
Jimmy Bryant   Fiddle
Larry Taylor   Bass
Hal Blaine   Drums
Tommy Boyce   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Gary Coleman   Percussion
Frank DeVito   Drums
Bonnie Douglas   Violin
Wayne Erwin   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Gene Estes   Percussion,Tambourine
Bobby Hart   Organ,Glockenspiel,Background Vocals
Jack Keller   Piano
Myra Kestenbaum   Viola
William Pitman   Bass
Michel Rubini   Harpsichord
Paul Shure   Violin
Peter Tork   Guitar
David Walters   Percussion
Joseph Ditullio   Cello
Gerry McGee   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Casey   Guitar
Jim Helms   Guitar
Bob West   Bass
Don Peake   Guitar
Fred Seykora   Cello
Billy Lewis   Drums
Michael Deasy   Guitar

Technical Credits

Carole King   Composer
Michael Nesmith   Composer,Producer
David Gates   Composer
Gerry Goffin   Composer
Tommy Boyce   Composer,Producer
Hank Cicalo   Engineer
Bobby Hart   Composer,Producer
David Hassinger   Engineer
Jack Keller   Producer
Russ Titleman   Composer
Steve Venet   Composer
Bernard Yeszin   Cover Photo

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