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The Monkees’ Psychedelic Period

All 5 of the albums that the 4 Monkees made together came out in a span of about 2 years.  Yes, as they themselves said in a track from the movie Head, “You say we’re manufactured, to that we’ll all agree.  So make your choice and we’ll rejoice in never being free!”

So did they really have a psychedelic “period”?  Well, sort of.

Their first 2 albums were made under the heavy thumb of Don Kirshner. Mostly professional songwriters, studio musicians playing the instruments, the whole bit.  Then they got sick of it, despite the money, and wanted to take the wheel themselves a little more.  So their third album, Headquarters, is a little strange, and while still super-successful, was the least successful so far.  So for their fourth album, they wised up a little bit and had Chip Douglas produce it, and did use some other songwriters — Boyce & Hart, Gerry Goffin & Carole King, even Harry Nilsson.

So this was it — their psychedelic-ish album:

And once enough time went by and people got over the fact that they were a “band” instead of a band, you could notice how good this album was.  There were even a couple songs that flowed into each other — yep, a real album album!

Most notably, one song written by Mike Nesmith actually made it onto FM radio, which was kind of a big deal.  At that time, FM only played classical music or underground rock.  Normally, they’d never have touched the Monkees, but some DJ somewhere decided that “Daily Nightly” was cool enough for FM.  (It probably helped that the song wasn’t a hit.)

Back then, they’d make both stereo and mono versions of the same album.  I guess some older turntables couldn’t handle stereo records very well.  So if you get a chance, give the stereo version of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones Ltd. a spin.


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