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May 7, 2016 10:36 AM   Subscribe

The original "pre-fab four*", The Monkees, are putting out an album for their 50th anniversary, and like they did way back when, they've gotten some songs by big name/cool name songwriters, starting with "She Makes Me Laugh" is by Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and "You Bring The Summer" is by Andy Partridge of XTC.

*the name originally applied to them because the band members were cast for the TV show as a group "like the Beatles", the original "fab four". Later, when Eric Idle and Neil Innes did their Beatles parody "The Rutles", they also used the "pre-fab four" moniker. Of course, they haven't been any "four" for years as Mike Nesmith had stopped working with the others, except for their odd 1997 TV reunion. Then Davy Jones died in early 2012 (four years before another rocker named David Jones who had to change his professional name because of Davy), and Michael came back for some live performances (but not the latest ones on YouTube, they're all Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork) and for the anniversary album.
posted by oneswellfoop (47 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
A few weeks ago Tom Scharpling was asked to fantasy draft songwriter/singer pairs for this new Monkees album and suggested that Michael Nesmith sing a song by Greg Cartwright and it's literally the only thing I've thought about for the past four weeks.
posted by Old Man Wilson at 10:58 AM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Ahh! Always glad to learn what Andy Partridge is up to.

This would also be a grand occasion to rewatch Head.
posted by notyou at 11:01 AM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


... I'm a bit confused. This is Dolenz, Tork, and Nesmith? Or no Nesmith? (And oy SFF fandom, I kept wanting to write Naismith.)
posted by suelac at 11:21 AM on May 7, 2016


Close your eyes and it's easy to imagine Andy P./XTC playing "You Bring The Summer"
posted by djseafood at 11:24 AM on May 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


We're the young generation,
And we've got something to say.

posted by fairmettle at 11:31 AM on May 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Nesmith will be appearing on the album, but not touring, apparently (according to Wikipedia).
posted by rubber duck at 11:32 AM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nesmith is the heir to the Liquid Paper fortune. Even without The Monkees, he can do whatever the fuck he wants.
posted by hippybear at 11:34 AM on May 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


Always loved them, even if they got the funniest looks from everyone they met...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 11:40 AM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think I still remember the first person I met who was prepared to un-ironically defend loving The Monkees. This was a pretty hardcore power-pop stance to take, a long time ago....
posted by thelonius at 11:43 AM on May 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Nesmith is the heir to the Liquid Paper fortune. Even without The Monkees, he can do whatever the fuck he wants.

He inherited $25 million and we got Zilch
posted by hal9k at 11:44 AM on May 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


You know, looking at the track listing for the album, I think there is going to be that dark undercurrent to otherwise upbeat pop songs like was present in Monkees music all along. I mean, Last Train To Clarksville is about a guy leaving to be drafted into the Army during Viet Nam. etc etc.

It's that core of darkness that makes The Monkees more than "just a Beatles knock-off band" to me.
posted by hippybear at 11:45 AM on May 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


He inherited $25 million and we got Zilch

Well, we also got Elephant Parts.
posted by hippybear at 11:47 AM on May 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Sorry I didn't make it clear in the post that Nesmith IS on the album.

Ever since I hit 50, I've been dealing with "50th Anniversaries" of things (and having stronger memories of them as I've gotten to things I was old enough to remember); Rocky & Bullwinkle, The Flintstones, The Outer Limits (I'd been too young for the first-run Twilight Zone), the JFK Assassination, the Beatles... we've just gotten past the anniversaries of the TV debuts of Charlie Brown and Batman, the memories are rushing back, and it's getting scary (I was just hitting puberty when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon - THERE is one odd mix).

Still, I'm halfway surprised Andy Partridge didn't wait 4 years for the 50th anniversary of The Partridge Family... (or should I assume he always HATED that association)
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:59 AM on May 7, 2016


It's that core of darkness that makes The Monkees more than "just a Beatles knock-off band" to me.

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday, here in status symbol land... [Goffin/King]
posted by NorthernLite at 12:09 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, and oneswellfoop, the threads today are making me wish I had a brand-new comic book to read while listening to my brand-new Monkees LP.
posted by NorthernLite at 12:12 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Another Pleasant Valley Sunday, here in status symbol land... [Goffin/King]

Looks like another Goffin/King song originally recorded by The Byrds is going to be on the new album: I Wasn't Born To Follow.
posted by hippybear at 12:12 PM on May 7, 2016


Last Train To Clarksville

I'd like to take a moment and thank Sugar Smacks, or Sugar Quisp or Sugar Alphabets or Honey Comb or whatever speed-inducing cereal it was that included a 'Last Train To Clarksville' 45. For then it came to pass that there was much childhood rocking to eat cereal by.
posted by uraniumwilly at 12:21 PM on May 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


Oh man, the era of the back-of-the-box cut-out 45... I still have a Bobby Sherman (I'm Still Looking For The Right Girl) from the back of a Raisin Bran box from the early 70s. [that horn section!!!]
posted by hippybear at 12:25 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anybody who actively hates The Monkees seems like a bit of a square.

Also, Head fucking rules and is better than any of the Beatles movies, even the awesome ones.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:32 PM on May 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


Head is utterly brilliant. It isn't very friendly, but what it is trying to convey is soooo deep. It's like if George Harrison's attitude with the fashion designers from A Hard Day's Night was taken and that attitude was shaped into an entire movie.
posted by hippybear at 12:33 PM on May 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ahh! Always glad to learn what Andy Partridge is up to...

Andy did an AMA two weeks ago if you didn't see it.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:42 PM on May 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


When might someone's voice just start sounding old? Springsteen, McCartney -- both seem to be keeping up some crispness over, well, 4-5 decades. At some point, it goes right?
posted by skepticallypleased at 12:50 PM on May 7, 2016


Well, I have noted that voice actress June Foray is 96 years old and only recently has slowed down... two years ago she did a gig doing the 'little boy' voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and it sounded just like 50+ years ago. My radio mentor Gary Owens kept up his 'announcer's baritone' well into his 70s and quietly retired when he started to lose it.

But the recent concert clips of Some of the Monkees show Mickey Dolenz looking quite old but still singing mostly like he did in the '60s.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:04 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Monkees also gave us, via a guest appearance on their show, Tim Buckley's best version of his "Song to the Siren."
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:09 PM on May 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm going to see The Monkees when they play here in Boston later this month, but had not heard about this anniversary album, so thanks for this post! The last time they played in Boston was one of the shows where Mike Nesmith joined them, but I missed that one because I didn't hear about it until the day before. I vowed then that the next time they came to town I would not miss it. It won't be the same without Mike and Davy, but I'm still psyched to see the show.
posted by briank at 1:32 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Monkees were the band that made me love music, nearly 50 years ago, but all this has done is make me sad, reminding me that I'll likely never see another XTC album. Oh, and hippybear - that Bobby Sherman flexi-disc was floating around our house too.
posted by davebush at 2:42 PM on May 7, 2016


The only "paper record" I ever played more than once was inside a MAD magazine.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:48 PM on May 7, 2016


Nesmith is the heir to the Liquid Paper fortune. Even without The Monkees, he can do whatever the fuck he wants.

He wrote his own songs for the B sides of many of the Monkees albums, which meant that he got his own royalties from every album sale. After the Monkees, he went on to make several of his own hits, then spent some of the Liquid Paper money to try something new: music videos. He created a music video television show called Popclips, which got bought then turned into MTV.

So, yes, he can do whatever the fuck he wants.
posted by eye of newt at 2:50 PM on May 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


My mom took me to my first Monkees' show when I was in first grade. I've seen them every time I could since, most recently when Mike toured with them. My daughter was with me for that one. A few years back, on the drive to Florida, my mom, the kid, and I did the Monkees walk on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I am unapologetic for my love of them. Mike Nesmith writes long and thoughtful Facebook posts, and also this gem.
posted by Ruki at 3:43 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


He inherited $25 million and we got Zilch

Zilch! Mr. Bob Dobalina! Del the Funky Homosapien!

I've a had a onomatopoeic version of DtFH's "Mr. Dobalina. Mr. Bob Dobalina" stuck in my head for months. I could only remember the basic rhythm and not the words other than "Mister Something, Mister Something Something." I didn't think I remembered it well enough to attempt an AskMe question. Turns out I had - I should have asked the question here so that hal9k could save the day.
posted by Ranucci at 4:20 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ok folks, whenever one of us finds a version of You Bring the Summer with AP on vocals, make a FPP so we can all have an XTC party right here. Rather that than wait for an untimely demise a la Prince. K?
posted by OHenryPacey at 4:20 PM on May 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


Is Head available in any internet-friendly medium yet? Last time I tried to track it down, the only option was to download a VHS conversion off the back of a truck.
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:24 PM on May 7, 2016


It's on DVD.
posted by ardgedee at 4:59 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


While I am not one to condone the abomination that is stuffed-crust pizza, I do think this Pizza Hut commercial where Ringo Starr "reunites" the Monkees (sans Nesmith--natch) is a classic.

I wonder how this commercial fits into the AU Ringo Star Timeline.....
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:43 PM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


IIRC, the Rhino DVD is a pan-and-scan; Criterion put it out in the BBS Box Set, but that's now out of print... I heard there may be a standalone version of Head soon though?
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 7:30 PM on May 7, 2016


It runs on Turner Classic Movies in widescreen from time to time.
posted by hippybear at 7:34 PM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


I know it's kinda in related posts, but what's being done to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the New Monkees?
posted by Mezentian at 8:47 PM on May 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I thought we'd agreed we would never talk about "The New Monkees" again...
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:02 PM on May 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I wonder if they'll be all over the teen magazines again like they were for the 20th anniversary. (And the first time around, of course!)
posted by SisterHavana at 11:56 PM on May 7, 2016


Many years ago on a trip to Las Vegas my friends and I were several rounds in and got to discussing about how hilarious it would be if we paged each other in the casino as Mr. Dobalina, Mr. Bob Dobalina. Several hours later after we'd split up I heard that very message come over the loudspeakers, so I went over to the nearest courtesy phone and answered it with a hearty "Jeremy, you fucking bastard!"

...only to find that the person on the other end of the phone was not Jeremy the Fucking Bastard, but a complete stranger who sounded both confused and indignant. I stammered an embarrassed sorry, goodbye and hung up before I could learn if that person really was looking for an actual factual Robert Dobalina, or if they were somebody else with the same stupid idea we had.

Zilch!
posted by Spatch at 12:12 AM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


it's literally the only thing I've thought about for the past four weeks

Not while you're crossing the road, I hope?
posted by Paul Slade at 1:47 AM on May 8, 2016


I wonder if they'll be all over the teen magazines again like they were for the 20th anniversary. (And the first time around, of course!)

Are there still teen magazines?
posted by Mezentian at 2:07 AM on May 8, 2016


I automatically favorite anything that touches on The Rutles, which IMO is absolute brilliance.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 5:03 AM on May 8, 2016


I too am an unapologetic Monkees fan. The tv show was shown on the bbc during school holidays in the early 80s and I thought they were contemporary. I loved them so much I had a false memory of them turning up on the beach near my house and playing a game of football. It was years later when I realised it must have been some 4 local older boys is projected onto.

I caught 5 minutes of Head one night on Channel 4 but it was past my bedtime and it was years before I found out just what I'd seen. It was the first VHS I bought and is the movie I've watched the most.

I'm not feeling these new tracks so far sadly. The production on Micky's voice sounds awful to me.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 1:53 PM on May 8, 2016


I'm not sure how I feel about the new album, but I will always love the Monkees. It makes me a bit sad that I never saw the four of them together, but I'm glad I've seen both groups of three, and Nesmith solo.

Nesmith is an interesting character. He used to (or maybe even still does) run a think tank where brought together 5 thinkers of different disciplines to solve problems together. It's all very mysterious. He also runs something called Videoranch, where there are concerts in a secondlife-like 3d environment.
posted by missmerrymack at 5:15 AM on May 9, 2016




I am of no fixed low opinion in regards to this matter.
posted by y2karl at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2016


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