Wednesday, August 16, 2017

CoDoDo: My Countdown to Micky Dolenz, part 3

I love the Monkees.  Always have, always will.  Micky Dolenz is performing this weekend at the Marquee in Tempe, so I'm posting thoughts on some of my favorite Dolenz-sung Monkees tunes.

Admittedly, this wasn't an easy list to limit to just one post per day, for a meager five days until Micky's Saturday night show.  I could've easily started a week ago, and I don't know if that would've been enough.  Still, I'm pinpointing songs that grab me every time I hear them -- that I can't help but sing along to -- and we're talking 30 years running.

By that standard, I have to include this tune: "All Of Your Toys."  This song wasn't released on one of the Monkees' nine original-run albums, yet it was recorded in one of their very first sessions as an actual band, playing their own instruments in studio.  That's right -- the Monkees fought for the rights to play their own instruments, after criticism called them out for having studio musicians, even as many other bands of that era did (and still do).  The guys' origin as a made-for-TV band probably had a lot to do with that undue commentary.  

So, this is a fitting tune for one of their "official first."  They really were the producers' playthings, until they clipped the strings -- which one of the lessons I've learned from them. "I'm A Believer" was a great tune, but had the Monkees not sought the chance to prove themselves, they may have been lost to the annals of music history.  This effort is proof of the pop music greatness that was to come, and a fandom that will last forever!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CoDoDo: My Countdown to Micky Dolenz, part 2

I thought about calling this series "CoDoDoSolo: My Countdown to the Micky Dolenz Solo Show," since he'll be the only Monkee playing at the Marquee this weekend in Tempe, but I thought that was a long title and opted for an edit.  Speaking of edits . . .

"Mommy And Daddy" is probably Micky's most controversial song.  It appeared on "The Monkees Present," the album I admit to enjoying the least as a kid.  Conversely, it has two of my favorite Papa Nez tunes -- "Listen to the Band" and "Good Clean Fun" -- and I remember really liking "Little Girl," but I didn't connect with the rest of the record.  If the Monkees had their way, these songs should've been a part of their ideal double-vinyl set, where each of the guys would've had a side all their own.  Especially sans Peter, I think "Present" was just a little too uneven for my young ears.

Of course, now I totally dig it -- especially Micky's "Mommy And Daddy."  He penned the tune with his Native American roots in mind (that's what he's said) before the song quickly skews into a wild social commentary.  Apparently his initial lyrics were so dark, producers strongly encouraged a re-write.  Here's the original, unreleased version -- if anyone dismisses the Monkees as kids' stuff, just play them this!

The version that was released isn't much brighter.  Micky perhaps wisely drops the references to JFK and outright murder, and the inquiry about Mommy's pills is a little less accusatory.  Of course, it's all over YouTube if you really want to hear it -- and so is a clip or two of Micky himself explaining the song's origins.  

Regardless, "Mommy And Daddy" really transcends its time, considering today's political climate.  As much as I love the tune, I'm saddened that none of its questions have been answered yet, but I'm grateful we'll always have this music to help the pill go down.