Friday, October 15, 2010

More Of The Monkees ... She Hangs Out (And Other Cool Stuff!)

Got some really cool stuff when we mentioned THE MONKEES the other day ...

Hi Kent,
You struck a chord with your comments about the original 45 version of "She Hangs Out" by the Monkees. I LOVED that song and version when it was first released in February, 1967 and then quickly withdrawn. I thought there had to be a 45 out there that did not get taken back. As it turned out, I was able to get the Canadian 45 a decade later! I heard the 45 on WKYC's Big Jack Armstrong radio show and taped it! Attached is how it sounded that night in 1967 from Dodge City, Kansas, on 1100 AM from Cleveland.

Also attached are scans of the very rare Canadian RCA 1003 45. It was withdrawn and reissued as RCA and Colgems 1004 with "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" as the new B side to "A Little Bit Me". Also attached are scans of both sides of the record sleeve issued for the pre-release 1003 45. Funny how it states "It's Number 3 for the Monkees!" meaning the third hit, yet it would fall to #4 in the release numbers!! Also, the CHUM chart for 3/6/67. This is the week RCA 1003 reaches #8 in Canada, but was withdrawn and the following week, no B side is listed! Contrary to the CHUM chart book, CHUM did not list "She Hangs Out" after this week. Also attached is the front cover of the CHUM 4/3/67 chart. The Monkees had just appeared the day before in Toronto and there are photos of the group. Even tho early in their live appearance career, the Monkees appear to be playing and singing. Not sure what instrument Davy is playing. Maybe it is the notes heard after the singing of "She Hangs Out" from their single? I gotta guess they played the song in Canada at that concert, since it was released? The LP version would come out 3 months later, but the 45 version would remain rare and available only on the 45 scanned here until Rhino put it on a CD in the 80's!! Love it!
Clark Besch

As a record collector, I've gone through a few copies of the rare Canadian single (on the red RCA label, catalog number 1003). I don't remember EVER hearing this played on the radio when the original version first came out in Canada, which is really rare because WCFL played virtually EVERYTHING by The Monkees in hit rotation, including many of the album cuts!
In fact, they aired the original TV version of "Valleri" for a LONG time, taped off the "Captain Crocodile" episode ... it regularly came in as the most-requested song on their evening "favorites" countdown ... I was blown away when it wasn't released as their next single. Even more so when it came out a year LATER ... by then everybody had already forgotten about the song! (For more on the strange history of "Valleri" be sure to check out our Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart article on the other Forgotten Hits Website ... this particular chapter ... Chapter 6 ... is one of the most widely-circulated pieces we've ever done!
And, for even more fun, read our exclusive interview with Bobby Hart, also on this site, where I asked him about Tommy's claims pertaining to "Valleri"!)

Of course back then any number of Monkees' LP tracks could have easily been Top 40 Hits ... "She" (off their "More Of The Monkees" album) also came in at #1 for WEEKS in the daily "favorite songs" countdowns ... tracks like "I Wanna Be Free", "Mary Mary", "Theme from 'The Monkees'", "Forget That Girl", "Shades Of Gray", "No Time", "Randy Scouse Git", 'She Hangs Out", "Cuddly Toy" and "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round" all played like singles back in the day ... as did (to a lesser extent) "For Pete's Sake", "Early Morning Blues And Greens", "Your Auntie Grizelda", "Saturday's Child" and "Gonna Buy Me A Dog".

Having not seen the CHUM Charts that featured "She Hangs Out", I just assumed it charted as a tag-along B-Side. (The CHUM Book I have shows it only charting for two weeks and peaking at #8 ... again, I'm guessing as the B-Side to "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You", which later peaked at #1 and rode the Canadian Charts for 13 weeks. As quickly as it was pulled from the market, I can't say that this surprises me at all.)
Wow ... what a GREAT chart!!! "She Hangs Out" IS shown as the B-Side of "A Little Bit Me" ... and this must be the week it peaked at #8. A couple more Two-Sided Hits top the charts ... "Penny Lane" / "Strawberry Fields Forever" by The Beatles and "There's A Kind Of Hush" / "No Milk Today" are #1 and #2 respectively. You'll also find Forgotten Hits Favorites like The Turtles at #3, Chicago's Buckinghams at #17 (on the CANADIAN chart!!!), The Electric Prunes at #29, Neil Diamond coming down the chart with his latest "You Got To Me" (at #48) and other local Chicagoland hits like "Grizzly Bear" by The Youngbloods and "Morningtown Ride" by The Seekers locked in The Top 30. And look at their #5 "Hot New Hits" ... it's "Yellow Balloon" by Yellow Balloon!

DIDJAKNOW?: According to Andrew Sandoval's liner notes to Rhino's "Missing Links, Volume 3" CD, the first issue of the Jeff Barry-produced "She Hangs Out" (the Canadian B-Side in question) came out on a Don Kirshner released single pressed with the heading "My Favorite Monkee" / "Davy Jones Sings", implying that Kirshner may have already been laying the groundwork for Jones to leave The Monkees and pursue a solo career. (As the typecast teen heart-throb of the band, he was EXACTLY what the teenie-boppers too young for The Beatles were looking for ... but Micky Dolenz could out-sing him under the table!) A "Davy Jones Presents" record label followed (with maybe a couple of non-Monkees-related releases) and then disappeared. According to Sandoval, cases of Jones' "My Favorite Monkee Sings" 45's were later found unsold, stashed in the basement of the Kirshner residence! (lol)
The release of "She Hangs Out" in Canada proved to be Kirshner's downfall, however, as he was the ousted from the band and relieved of his "Music Supervisor" title.
Personally, I always preferred the commercially released version authorized by the band. The original "R & B - tinged" take just didn't SOUND like The Monkees ... but it sure does make for an interesting collectible (and another one of those "what might have been" moments.)

Since we seem to be on a major Neil Diamond roll here, let's not forget THIS Neil / Davy Jones classic, ALSO from their second album ... "Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow" (kk)

Meanwhile, this just came in from Wild Bill Cody ...
Michael Nesmith, as you know, was the lead guitar player for the Monkees and wore that stupid hat ... but he was also an incredible talent, innovator and one of the best businessman EVER!
At any rate, one of the songs I dearly love that he did was a song called "Joanne",
At the time, he was long gone from the Monkees and on his own ...
please check this out and enjoy it.
Included in the band is my old bud John Jorgenson (Desert Rose Band) and on pedal steel Red Rhodes.
Wild Bill

"Joanne" by Michael Nesmith (and The First National Band) was the closest any of The Pre-Fab Four came to a Monkees solo hit. Much like the surprise of George Harrison's out-of-the-box smashes "My Sweet Lord" and "All Things Must Pass", everybody figured that it'd be frontmen Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz who'd enjoy solo chart success ... but Dolenz never hit the pop charts with any of his solo releases (save the low-charting "Don't Do It" in 1967, which was actually recorded BEFORE he joined The Monkees).

Davy Jones also had a minor pre-Monkees hit with a tune called "What Are We Going To Do?" (#93, 1965) ... and came close with the Neil Sedaka-penned tune "Rainy Jane", which peaked at #32 in Cash Box in 1971 (and was a #7 Hit here in Chicago.) For some crazy reason, they never released "Girl" as a single. (That's the song that he sang on that famous episode of The Brady Bunch ... it's since gone on to become a cult / shing-a-ling classic!) It could have been a decent-sized hit if released in a timely fashion.

But Nesmith went all the way to #17 in Cash Box Magazine with his countrified hit "Joanne" back in 1970. (Here it is at its original tempo ... a lot less likely to put you asleep than the above "live" version from youTube!)

While everyone expected Mike to be the first to leave The Monkees (especially after he failed to appear on a few episodes during the second season), it was actually bandmate Peter Tork who flew the coup first. (Tork never had a solo hit either ... and barely sang when he was WITH the band!)

After their television series was cancelled, Nesmith stuck around for a couple more albums (both of which featured more and more country-sounding music ... in fact, The Monkees even appeared on The Johnny Cash Show as a trio singing a couple of country tunes!)
After he finally threw in the towel (or would that be the wool hat), Micky and Davy regrouped for one more album called "Changes", produced by Jeff Barry. (The running gag in the industry at the time was that these guys were going to milk this whole Monkees thing for everything it was worth ... first a quartet ... then a trio ... now a duo ... there was speculation that one of them would eventually release an album billed simply as "The Monkee"!!!)
Thankfully, it never happened ... and numerous reunions have filled the past 45 years since the TV Show first aired. (In fact, with the 45th anniversary right around the corner, one cannot help but wonder just what might be in store for Monkees fans in 2011!)
A newly released deluxe CD version of their "Head" soundtrack hits the streets next and their catalog has been repeated updated and upgraded since Rhino took over in the '80's. So don't write these guys off just yet ... they always seem to have at least one more surprise up their sleeves! (kk)