The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees: Wikis

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The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
Studio album by The Monkees
Released April 22, 1968
Recorded Late 1967/Early 1968
Genre Rock
Length 37:00
Label Colgems Records (USA)
RCA Records (rest of the world)
Arista Records (1992 Japanese CD release)
Rhino Records (1985 vinyl reissue, 1994 CD reissue)
Sundazed Records (2009 vinyl reissue)
Producer The Monkees, Chip Douglas
Professional reviews
The Monkees chronology
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
(1967)
The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
(1968)
Head (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
(1968)

The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees is a studio album by The Monkees released in April 1968.

Contents

History

The year 1968 brought mixed returns for The Monkees. Their television series was cancelled, their first motion picture project, Head, failed at the box office, and in December, Peter Tork left the group. However, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees was another successful album, yielding the group's sixth million-selling single in "Valleri" and yet another number one in "Daydream Believer", a bittersweet pop song from the pen of former Kingston Trio member John Stewart. Perhaps no other two tracks define Davy Jones as a pop music singer more than these two hits.

After gaining complete artistic control over their musical direction and finally being allowed to play instruments on their own records in early 1967, the monumental success of Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. began to somewhat rebuff the critics who propagated that The Monkees was a band of talentless individuals who were simply lucky enough to gain recognition through their 'manufactured' origins.

The desire and focus, however, to remain as a complete band unit in the studio quickly evaporated after the Pisces album, when, much to the dismay of Tork, each individual band member began to produce his own sessions with his own selected studio musicians, often at entirely different studios around the Los Angeles area. An agreement was made to label all finished efforts as 'Produced by The Monkees', but in reality, beyond a few exceptions, most of the recordings featured on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees revert back to the recording process of the first two albums—less group dynamics—except now each band member was fully in charge of the sessions. Chip Douglas, producer of The Monkees' previous two albums, fully expected to continue as the band's representative in the studio, but found the individual Monkees more interested in exploring their own diverse musical backgrounds with their own friends rather than relying on Douglas as the central figure.

Those diverse musical backgrounds, while making for an interesting mix of styles and sounds on Monkees albums, most likely also contributed to the downfall of The Monkees as a self-contained studio band. Four different musical outlooks resulted in less and less harmony in the recording process after Headquarters, and the results of that fracture are found on this album—Jones' Broadway rock, Michael Nesmith's country and western leanings, and the rock and soul of Micky Dolenz. Unfortunately for Tork, even though several of his compositions were considered for release on Birds, his participation is almost zero on this album; he appears only on "Daydream Believer." He spent the rest of his Monkees tenure struggling to find his footing in the studio now that the band was no longer working organically.

Despite all the intrigue surrounding the sessions that produced The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, several songs stand out as some of their finest recorded work. "Tapioca Tundra", a wildly experimental piece of poetry put to music by Nesmith, charted surprisingly well as the b-side to "Valleri" at #34, perhaps the strangest song to hit American top 40 radio ever. "Auntie's Municipal Court", another Nesmith composition, featured an excellent double lead vocal by Dolenz and Nesmith, and "Zor and Zam" boasts some of the best Dolenz vocals ever recorded. Veteran Monkees tunesmiths Boyce and Hart contribute another classic to the proceedings in the psychedelic "P.O. Box 9847", while Jones submits perhaps his finest composition to date in the orchestral "Dream World".

The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees, the fifth album by the band, was also the first Monkees album not to go to number one, instead charting at number three and eventually selling over a million copies.

For record collectors and diehard Monkees fans, the extremely rare U.S. mono album (COM-109), released in a limited quantity as mono albums were being phased out by 1968, has become a highly-sought item for its unique mixes that differ from the common stereo versions (most notably on "Auntie's Municipal Court"). Most foreign mono copies feature the stereo mixes reduced to one channel.

In January 2010, Rhino Records' "Rhino Handmade" website announced that they would be releasing a 3-CD boxed set reissue of the album. The set is said to contain the original stereo and mono versions of the album, plus over 60 other tracks from the original album's sessions. The release date is listed as "08/02/2010".

Original album track listing

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Side 1

  1. "Dream World" (David Jones/Steve Pitts)
  2. "Auntie’s Municipal Court" (Michael Nesmith/Keith Allison)
  3. "We Were Made for Each Other" (Carole Bayer/George Fischoff)
  4. "Tapioca Tundra" (Michael Nesmith)
  5. "Daydream Believer" (John Stewart)
  6. "Writing Wrongs" (Michael Nesmith)

Side 2

  1. "I'll Be Back Up On My Feet" (Sandy Linzer/Denny Randell)
  2. "The Poster" (David Jones/Steve Pitts)
  3. "P.O. Box 9847" (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
  4. "Magnolia Simms" (Michael Nesmith)
  5. "Valleri" (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
  6. "Zor and Zam" (Bill Chadwick/John Chadwick)

Bonus tracks (1994 Rhino reissue CD)

  1. "Alvin" (Nicholas Thorkelson)
  2. "I’m Gonna Try" (David Jones/Steve Pitts)
  3. "P.O. Box 9847" (Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart)
  4. "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (Neil Sedaka/Carole Bayer)
  5. "Lady’s Baby" (Peter Tork)

Original Album

The track line up for the album, compiled on March 9, included the following songs:

Side 1:

  1. "Through The Looking Glass" (early mix)
  2. "We Were Made For Each Other"
  3. "Writing Wrongs"
  4. "I'll Be Back Upon My Feet"
  5. "Valleri"
  6. "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again"

Side 2:

  1. "Dream World"
  2. "P.O. Box 9847"
  3. "Tapioca Tundra"
  4. "The Poster"
  5. "Alvin"
  6. "Daydream Believer"
  7. "Zor And Zam"

Session information

Dream World

  • Lead Vocal: Davy Jones
  • Guitar: Michael Deasy, Al Hendrickson, Gerry McGee
  • Piano: Don Randi
  • Bass: Max Bennett
  • Drums: Earl Palmer
  • Percussion: Brendan Cahill, Teresa Helfer, Milt Holland, Jerry Williams
  • Violin: Sam Freed, Nathan Kaproff, Martin Limonick, Alexander Murray, Erno Neufeld
  • Cello: Marie Feram, Edgar Lustgarten, Jacquelyn Lustgarten, Fredrick Seykora
  • Trumpet: Buddy Childers, Jack Shelton
  • Trombone: George Roberts
  • Horns: John Cave, Don Duke, Arthur Maebe
  • Arrangement: Shorty Rogers
  • Recorded at Western Recorders Studio 2, Hollywood, 6 February 1968 and RCA Victor Studios, Hollywood, 8 February 1968

Auntie’s Municipal Court

  • Lead Vocals: Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith
  • Guitar: Mike Nesmith, Keith Allison, Bill Chadwick
  • Keyboards: Harry Nilsson
  • Bass: Richard Dey
  • Drums: Eddie Hoh
  • Other personnel unknown
  • Recorded at RCA Victor Studios, Hollywood, 6 January, 15, and 16, 1968

We Were Made for Each Other

  • Lead Vocal: Davy Jones
  • Guitar: James Burton, Michael Deasy, Al Hendrickson, Gerry McGee
  • Piano: Michael Melvoin
  • Bass: Max Bennett
  • Drums: Earl Palmer
  • Percussion: Brendan Cahill, Milt Holland, Jerry Williams
  • Violin: Sam Freed, Nathan Kaproff, George Kast, Marvin Limonick, Alexander Murray, Erno Neufeld
  • Cello: Maria Fera, Jacquelyn Lustgarten, Kurt Reher, Eleanor Slatkin
  • Trumpet: Buddy Childers, Jack Shelton
  • Trombone: Lewis McCreary
  • Horn: Vincent DeRosa, David Duke, Richard Preissi
  • Arrangement: Shorty Rogers
  • Intended for Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.

Tapioca Tundra

  • Lead Vocal, Whistling, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar: Mike Nesmith
  • Drums: Eddie Hoh
  • Other Personnel Unknown
  • Lyrics are from a poem Nesmith wrote prior to composing the music
  • Recorded 11 November 1967

Daydream Believer

  • Lead and Backing Vocal: Davy Jones
  • Harmony Vocal: Micky Dolenz
  • Electric Guitar: Mike Nesmith
  • Piano: Peter Tork
  • Bass, Percussion: Chip Douglas
  • Drums: Eddie Hoh
  • Percussion: Bill Martin
  • Violin: Nathan Kaproff, George Kast, Alex Murray, Erno Neufeld
  • Trumpet: Pete Candoli, Al Porcino, Manuel Stevens
  • Trombone: Richard Noel
  • Bass trombone: Richard Leith, Philip Teele
  • Arrangement: Shorty Rogers
  • Recorded at RCA Victor Studios, Hollywood, June 14 and August 9, 1967
  • Issued as a single on Colgems #1012, 25 October 1967, reaching number one
  • Only song on Birds featuring all members of the band, and the only song featuring Tork at all
  • Replaced "Love is Only Sleeping" as a single

Writing Wrongs

  • Lead Vocal, Piano, Electric guitar, Organ: Mike Nesmith
  • Bass: Richard Dey
  • Drums, percussion: Eddie Hoh
  • Other Personnel Unknown
  • Recorded at RCA Victor Studios, Hollywood, 3 December 1967
  • Final product is two takes spliced together

I'll Be Back Up On My Feet

  • Lead and Backing Vocal: Micky Dolenz
  • Guitar: Al Casey, Michael Deasy, Dennis Budimir
  • Harpsichord: Michael Melvoin
  • Bass: Max Bennett
  • Drums: Earl Palmer
  • Percussion: Brendan Cahill, Milt Holland, Stan Levy
  • Sax: William Hood
  • Trumpet: Buddy Childers, Oliver Mitchell
  • Trombone: Louis Blackburn, Lew McCreary
  • Arrangement: Shorty Rogers
  • Intended for More of The Monkees, then again for Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
  • Recorded at RCA Victor Studios, Hollywood, 9 March and 14 March 1968

The Poster

  • Lead and Backing Vocal: Davy Jones
  • Guitar: Al Casey, Michael Deasy, Howard Roberts
  • Piano: Don Randi
  • Bass: Max Bennett, Lyle Ritz
  • Drums: Hal Blaine
  • Percussion: Gary Coleman, Gene Estes
  • Trumpet: Buddy Childers, Clyde Reasinger, Jack Shelton, Anthony Terran
  • Trombone: Milt Bernhart, Richard Leith, Lew McCreary, Frank Rosolino
  • Sax: John Lowe
  • Violin: Nathan Kaproff, George Kast, Alex Murray, Erno Neufeld, Ambrose Russo
  • Arrangement: Shorty Rogers
  • Recorded at RCA Victor Studios, Hollywood, 15 February and 17, 1968

P.O. Box 9847

  • Lead Vocal: Micky Dolenz
  • Guitar: Gerry McGee, Louie Shelton
  • Bass: Joe Osborn
  • Tack Piano: Bobby Hart
  • Drums, Percussion: Billy Lewis
  • Violin: Victor Arno, Jack Pepper
  • Viola: Philip Goldberg
  • Cello: Raymond Kelley
  • Arrangement: Don McGinnis
  • Inspired by an idea by Bob Rafelson

Magnolia Simms

  • Lead Vocal, Guitar: Mike Nesmith
  • Tack Piano: Paul T. Smith
  • Bass: Max Bennett
  • Drums: Earl Palmer
  • Trumpet: Oliver Mitchell
  • Trombone: Lew McCreary
  • Woodwinds: Jim Horn and Jack Nimitz
  • Recorded at RCA Victor Studios, Hollywood, 2 December 1967
  • Recorded as a low-fi song with deliberate surface noise and skipping as if it came from a 78 RPM record

Valleri

  • Lead Vocal: Davy Jones
  • Guitar: Gerry McGee, Louie Shelton
  • Bass: Joe Osborne
  • Drums, Tambourine: Billy Lewis
  • Sax: Jim Horn, Jay Migliori
  • Trumpets: Ollie Mitchell, Roy Caton
  • Trombone: Lew McCreary
  • Arrangement: Don McGinnis
  • Recorded at United Recorders, Hollywood, 26 December and 28, 1967
  • Issued as a single as Colgems #1019, March 2, 1968, reaching number three
  • Second time the band recorded it, with the same personnel; the remake was so the Monkees could take production credit
  • Colgems chief Lester Sill rejected the first mix, saying it needed "more punch", and had a brass section overdubbed

Zor and Zam

  • Lead Vocal, Percussion: Micky Dolenz
  • Guitars: Keith Allison and Bill Chadwick
  • Piano: Michael Melvoin
  • Bass: Chip Douglas, Richard Dey and Max Bennett
  • Drums: Eddie Hoh
  • Additional Drums and percussion: Hal Blaine, Milt Holland and Stanley Levey
  • Additional Personnel on horns, strings, etc.
  • Arrangement: Shorty Rogers
  • Re-recorded version of track originally featured in the final episode of the TV series, "Mijacogeo (The Frodis Caper)"

Bonus tracks session information

Lady's Baby

  • Lead Vocal, Guitar: Peter Tork
  • Backing Vocal: Karen Harvey Hammer
  • Electric Guitar: Stephen Stills
  • Bass: Lance Wakely
  • Drums: Dewey Martin
  • Sound Effects: Justin Hammer
  • Recorded at various California studios between January and March 1968
  • originally intended for the album but constant production changes and re-recordings by Tork caused the song to not be finished in time for release

Other personnel

  • Produced by The Monkees (except "Daydream Believer" produced by Chip Douglas)
  • Recording Engineers: Pete Abbot and Hank Cicalo
  • Music Supervision: Lester Sill
  • Original Cover Design: Allan Wolsky and Friends

References

  • All information can be found on the Rhino reissue of the Monkees' The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees
  • The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story of the 60s TV Pop Sensation by Andrew Sandoval

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