Saturday, June 25, 2011

On my turntable (Monkees edition): Instant Replay

...and then there were three.

After the amazing HEAD turned out to be a box office flop, The Monkees quickly dusted themselves off and taped what was intended to be the first of three television specials for NBC, titled 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.  Upon completion of the special, Peter Tork left the band, citing exhaustion as his reason for departing. In truth, Peter's happiness as a Monkee had been on a steady decline since the group stopped recording as a band (as they did on their third LP, Headquarters).
"Tear Drop City", 1969

In Tork's absence, Micky, Mike, and David chose to forge ahead as a trio (they may not have had much choice, seeing as they were still under contract to Screen Gems).  For their first post-Tork LP the group raided the Monkee vaults for previously unissued material. Each Monkee also contributed some fresh tracks, some of which were quite exceptional (Davy's "You and I", in particular, stands out as one of the strongest tunes he ever wrote for the group).
The Monkees: Micky, David, Michael
The album's lead-off single, "Tear Drop City", dated way back to the band's 1966 Boyce & Hart sessions. The rationale behind releasing a two-year old song on 45 was that it might recapture some of the spirit that earned the band so many fans back in '66.  No such luck.

On the album charts Instant Replay performed better than the HEAD soundtrack, managing to at least crack the Top 40. To maintain their visibility with the public The Monkees began doing the rounds on various television programs including Laugh-In, Hollywood Squares, and the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. Meanwhile their television show had begun weekly reruns on Saturday mornings, a move that would help a new generation of young fans discover The Monkees.


Up next: The Monkees Present

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