My new book about the Monkees

While other kids wanted to be astronauts or doctors, I watched the Monkees and wanted to be in a rock band, playing music and having wacky adventures (because clearly the two went together). While I did eventually play in a number of bands, I never got my own TV show. And I still listened to my Monkees music even as an adult, along with my other favorites, Beatles, Elvis Costello, XTC, They Might Be Giants…  (I’d better stop here before this entire post is a list of favorites).MonkeesFrontCover_preview

I interviewed Mark Arnold here on this blog a while ago after he had written a book examining the Beatles’ music. “We should write a similar book about the Monkees,” I said.

We discussed the fact that there was already a book like that about the Monkees music, but then, after a few months going back and forth, decided that since there were dozens of Beatles books like that, the Monkees could stand to have a second one.

The plan was not to do a learned treatise, but more of a “fan’s look” at the music, by fans for fans.

We discuss each song in order in which it was recorded so the progression of the music can be seen. Mark and I come at this from different angles and disagree quite a bit; I talk a lot more about the music itself — the way the song was written, how the instruments were mixed, decisions the producer made — and that provides a contrast to Mark’s comments which hopefully makes a better read.

Then we list which Monkee played or sang on each song along with other trivia and information about the song’s position of the charts, whether it had significant covers done, and what albums you can find it on.

The book also contains a short history of the band, a listing of the Billboard charts so you can see how the songs and albums performed, a list of all their live performances and TV appearances over the years, and an extensive index so you can easily find the song or album you want to read about.

Part of the fun of doing this book was interviewing some of the musicians who were influenced by the Monkees, so I got to speak to Howard Kaylan (who wrote the introduction), Tommy James, Gene Cornish and Dean Friedman, and Mark spoke to Peter Noone, Ron Dante, and Butch Patrick. Their comments are side bits in the book.

Animation historian Jerry Beck (who assisted in the release of the Monkees’ movie Head on DVD) wrote the forward, and Emmy-Award-winning cartoonist Scott Shaw did the cover, filling it with all sorts of inside jokes for Monkees fans.

Like the title itself. There’s a Monkees song (written by Peter) called “Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?” so we used “Long Title” to start off ours as well. There’s a Monkees song called “Looking for the Good Times” and their final album was simply called “Good Times” after a song Nilsson wrote for them with that name.

The book was released a few days ago and immediately shot to number one on Amazon in the category of “Music Reference” so now I can brag that I am an “Amazon #1 Best-Seller” I suppose, if I wanted to be kind of cheesy.  Nah.

Anyway, this is certainly a special thing that won’t interest everyone but I hope if you are interested, you’d enjoy it. You can order it from Amazon or directly from the publisher (at a slightly cheaper rate)!

monkees cover

Isn’t this a great cover?


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