Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Colgems Soundtrack-Oliver

Next to The Monkees albums, the most successful LP put out on the Colgems label was the soundtrack to the Academy Award winning film "Oliver."

Based on Charles Dickens' classic "Oliver Twist" novel, the film, based on the stage play, follows the story of young Oliver and his encounters with an array of colorful characters including the Artful Dodger and Fagin.

Of course, the main Colgems connection was that Davy Jones was the original Artful Dodger on Broadway, and on record and in the film, his role is reprised by Jack Wild, who attained brief teenybopper status in the role. Shani Wallis, Mark Lester and Ron Moody also starred.

Here is a track from the film soundtrack, "Food, Glorious Food" featuring Mark Lester.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Final Monkees Colgems Single

All good things have to come to and end, and the final Monkees Colgems single put an exclamation point to The Monkees project.

Put out to coincide with the "Changes" album release, "Oh My My" was a vain attempt to resurrect a once glorious franchise. It's soul/bubblegum leanings, brought to the fore by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim, gave Micky Dolenz one of his best vocal outings. The B side was bubblegum to the extreme.

Consequently, the single flopped, the album was a dud, and The Monkees, as we know it, was done--at least for a while.

By the way, an accompanying video was made of the song, having the remaining Monkees riding motorcycles. Mike was gone, although contractually, he appeared with his former bandmates in a couple of print ads and commercials, including for the new Nerf line of toys.

And Peter, at this point in time, as they say, was real GONE.

Colgems Back Covers-The Monkees Beards Cover

The Monkees' "Headquarters" album was their third chart-topper, but it was interesting beyond its #1 status on several levels.

First, it was the first Monkees album to come out after Don Kirshner got booted off the project. The Monkees played their own instruments on the LP, along with a number of session players. Also, the album featured no singles released in the U.S., although Micky Dolenz's "Randy Scouse Git," as "Alternate Title" around the world due to the inappropriate slang nature of the title, was a hit around the world.

Another distinctive feature of the LP was that when it was rereleased, a new photo was added to the back cover, that of The Monkees--with beards! Why this photo was added is unknown, but it has made the rerelease very collectible, as the "beards cover."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Colgems Songwriters: Gerry Goffin and Carole King

The Brill Building produced some excellent songwriters in the pre-Beatle era, but the duo of Gerry Goffin and Carole King were able to carry over their successes through the Beatles era and beyond.

The writers of the song "The Locomotion" and many other big hits in the early 1960s hooked up with The Monkees project early on, and produced a number of remarkable tunes for the Pre-Fab Four during the 1966-1970 era.

"Take a Giant Step," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and "The Porpoise Song" are just a few of these tunes, but there were many others. They helped define The Monkees sound, and along with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, were the engine that enabled The Monkees project to get off the ground and prosper.

The married Goffin and King had actually recorded themselves way before The Monkees project, but King has gone on record as saying the success they had with this project gave her the confidence to go out on her own as a performer. Goffin has also recorded solo, but he never matched the success of King. The two divorced in the early 1970s.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Hoyt Axton

As mentioned earlier, Hoyt Axton was only one of three Colpix artists who came on board Colgems when it was created in 1966.

Although his output was just one single, I must say it is one enjoyable record, both A and B sides. And the picture sleeve, as you can see, is pretty outstanding too.

Right after the release of this record, his name became even better known in the musical community, as he wrote a number of pop and rock hits for a slew of varied artists. Here is a list of some of them:

"The Pusher", covered by Steppenwolf on their debut album in 1968;
"No-No Song", which became a #3 hit for Ringo Starr in March 1975;
"Never Been To Spain", covered by Three Dog Night and Elvis Presley; and,
"Joy to the World", the Three Dog Night hit from April 1971 which reached the top spot on the charts.

He later became a well known character actor, but Axton, who died in 1999, will always be remembered for his songwriting.

Although just a minor blip on his musical map, here is San Fernando, one side of his lone Colgems release.

Colpix/Colgems Crossovers

The predecessor to Colgems was Colpix, also owned by Columbia Pictures. The label had a wide range of stars on the label, many leaning toward teen-pop/television crossovers, including Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen, the kid stars of The Donna Reed Show.

However, as The Monkees project was taking hold, Colpix would slowly revamp itself into Colgems, dumping most of its established artists and starting afresh with The Pre-Fab Four and a few other artists.

But the label did not fully get rid of all of its artists. Michael Nesmith (as Michael Blessing) and Davy Jones (as David Jones) had recorded for Colpix, and, of course, their output reverted to The Monkees project once that got under way. Hoyt Axton also recorded for Colpix, and seamlessly moved over to Colgems with one lone single, which will be discussed further at another time.

There actually was one album that crossed over intact from Colpix to Colgems, and that was the Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack. It has since been on a number of labels, and over the past 40 years, it has rarely--if ever--truly been out of print.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Colgems Cross Pollination

A good song is a good song, and the people at Colgems certainly knew this. That is why, on occasion, more than one Colgems artist recorded the same song. Take, for instance, the following tune by The Fountain of Youth, "Take a Giant Step."

This Carole King/Gerry Goffin composition is most famous as the B side to The Monkees' very first hit, "Last Train to Clarksville," and it is also on the Pre-Fab Four's first album. However, with the #1 popularity of "Clarksville," the tune kind of got buried.

Come to the rescue a new version of the song from a group the label was trying to push. The thought was, "Put out a newer version of a Monkees song, and it will create an instant identification."

This version was released as a single, and like the other Fountain of Youth records, it went nowhere. The Fredricksburg, Texas, group, pretty much never recovered.

So much for good intentions. Now you can be the judge.

(By the way, without a Fountain of Youth photo to feature here, I have included the somewhat rare black and white picture sleeve of The Monkees first single. I believe this came out after the original color picture sleeve, but I am not sure.

If anyone has a scan of The Fountain of Youth--either this single or a group photo--please send it to me and I will upload it to this blog.)

Head Soundtrack

One of my favorite albums of all time is "Head," the soundtrack to The Monkees' one and only film.

The album truly mirrors (pun intended) the wild landscape of the film. With a couple of songs mixed in with bits of dialogue and sound affects, one does not have to see the film to get the full thrust of this LP. It truly stands on its own.

And incredibly, every Monkees track on the LP shines, every vocal is among the best vocals that the band members ever recorded, and quite frankly, everything works. If The Monkees and their handlers (including Jack Nicholson) were trying to deconstruct the Pre-Fab Four, you wouldn't know it from this album.

Unfortunately, we will never know what further worlds Peter, Micky, Mike and Davy would have visited musically, as this was their last recording as a foursome on Colgems. We got a glimpse with the underrated music from their TV special "33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee," but it was just a tease.

Head is the real item.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

More on Paula Wayne-Scopitones

The ever elusive Paula Wayne actually filmed two Scopitone romps for two of her Colgems singles.

For those who don't know what a Scopitone is/was, it was a forerunner of today's music video. I think it was shot on 16mm film. American Scopitones were shown on a device that was placed in bars. Although popular in Europe (in particular, in France), it never caught on here and died in the early 1970s.

Anyway, does anyone either have these films or can tell us a little more about them?

K-236 Paula Wayne "It's A Happening World"
K-237 Paula Wayne "Yours Till Tomorrow"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Colgems Back Covers

We always remember great album covers, but what about the back covers? Especially in the old days when there were readable liner notes, back covers offered a wealth of informaton about the act in question, as well as the lineup of album songs and a couple of photos.

Here are the first two Monkees albums--how can anyone forget these back covers?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Colgems Songwriters - Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart

Talking about Colgems songwriters, you can't leave out Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Their music and production highlighted the early output of The Monkees, and they did all this while carving out a pretty neat recording career of their own, highlighted by "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight."

They did just about everything for The Monkees project, and were basically "the chief cook and bottlewashers" of the project under Don Kirshner. When Kirshner was booted, Tommy and Bobby basically were, too, but at that point, they had their own careers to worry about.

Although they did not record for Colgems (their records are primarily on A&M), the success of The Monkees--and thus, the success of Colgems Records--could be tied into their efforts.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Colgems Soundtrack - Casino Royale

One of the biggest selling soundtracks put out by Colgems was this LP, which features the music that was included in the popular James Bond spoof. Ironically, two hit singles came from the soundtrack--Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' theme song and "The Look of Love" from Dusty Springfield. However, neither of these was released as a Colgems single. Due to some bizarre arrangement, each was released on the label the artist recorded for at the time (Herb Alpert's on A&M and Dusty Springfield's on Philips), and were substantial hits on those labels. The soundtrack rose to #22 in 1967 on its own merits.

Here is the theme song to the movie as it was featured on the soundtrack.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Neil Sedaka Colgems Tune

As promised, here is the song "Let the Good Times In" by The Hung Jury. It was written by Neil Sedaka and Carole Bayer.

Neil Sedaka

The Hung Jury entry brought up Neil Sedaka's name. The prolific singer/songwriter had a somewhat influential effect on several Colgems artists, as did many Brill Building alumni.

"When Love Comes Knockin' At Your Door" was recorded by The Monkees, and several other of his tunes were recorded by them. He also had music recorded by The Hung Jury and others. His tunes were co-written, with long-time writing partner Howard Greenfield and with Carole Bayer.

I'll put one of his Colgems tunes up later.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hung Jury Buses 45

Here is the actual Hung Jury 45 that I placed the link to. It was written by Parker and Moeller and produced by Chris Houston. I don't have any information on the single beyond that, nor do I know who these people are, although they might have been part of the group for all I know.

Any further information would be appreciated.

Colgems' Last Gasp With The Monkees

Incredibly, Colgems Records lasted into 1971 with this el cheapo release of Monkees tunes. It was a double-LP set, featuring most of the best-known tunes from the Pre-Fab Four.

But boy, was it cheesy! From the front cover drawing, to the vinyl, which was floppier than stomach flab, this set signalled the end of the label.

At one time, this album was very hard to find, but it has turned up pretty consistently on various sites over the past 10 years or so. I got mine in the 1970s for about a dollar, which in my mind, is really all that it is worth. For completists, though, it's a must have.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hung Jury

Another obscure group that put out a few great singles on Colgems was The Hung Jury. Again, I have no data on who they were, but they put out a great song like this one--why was it not a hit?

Listen and let me know what you think.

One of the Rarest Colgems Singles

The Colgems label had its share of rare singles. This was perhaps one of the rarest. It was from the classic film and soundtrack "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." I have never seen a promotional copy of this single, only what you see here. That is pretty unusual, as promo copies seem to be in more abundance than the released singles more times than not on this label.

Frank DeVol was a legendary musician, was involved in countless films and TV shows, and actually was featured on the various "Fernwood" shows as the bandleader without a clue.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Another Obscure Colgems Soundtrack

Otley is another obscure soundtrack album put out by Colgems. This movie came out in 1968, and is another soundtrack that I don't have in my collection.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Colgems Soundtrack-The Southern Star

For every Oliver, Colgems put out several much more obscure soundtracks. Here is one of them.

Personally, I don't have this soundtrack. Does anyone out there have it? Tell us about it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Colgems Ad

Here's a Monkees ad, for Valleri and Tapioca Tundra, both of which charted on Billboard's Hot 100. In those days, both A and B sides could chart, and The Monkees accomplished this feat several times, most prominently with I'm a Believer/(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone and Pleasant Valley Sunday/Words.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Second Coming of the Great Sajid

The great Sajid Khan has entered our midst once again, enchanting us with a cover version of a song by the Brothers Gibb.

Come walk on the flower petals of life, grasp your love beads, and create a new mantra. You will need one when the great Sajid warbles this heavenly tune.

Praise Sajid!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Colgems Changes

Here is another teen magazine featuring The Monkees. This one is particularly interesting because on the cover, you can see the changes that the guys went through leading up to their tenure as the Pre-Fab Four, and into the second season of their TV show.

Those changes to the musical landscape ultimately doomed The Monkees, as it did the Colgems label. But it was nice while it lasted, wasn't it?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Original Instant Replay Cover

Here is the original Instant Replay cover. Notice the changes in the photos of Mike, Micky and Davy--very different from the cassette cover, and different from the rereleases that followed.

Colgems Promos Part 2 - Rich Little

Here is a yellow Colgems promo for Rich Little's "That's Life."

To kill two birds with one stone, impressionist Little recorded this one single for Colgems, an odd little novelty that is far from being memorable. The man of 1,000 voices made other records besides this one, but this single may have been his first.

Colgems Promos

As with every record company, Colgems released numerous promotional recordings for radio stations. Here is one of them, Hoyt Axton's lone single for the label.

Some of these were white, and others were yellow. I don't know if the different colors meant different things, but what I do know is that some of these promotional copies are not as rare as the actual Colgems official 45 releases are. Try to find the actual Fountain of Youth and Hung Jury Colgems releases, and I bet you find the promos easier than those actual releases!

I will post more promos in the future.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Colgems Artists The Fountain Of Youth

The Fountain of Youth was a band that received something of a push from the label. Their Colgems output is pretty solid, although they never achieved the fame that they should have from these releases.

I have no information about band personnel at all. If somebody can fill us in on who these guys were, it would be really appreciated.

In the meantime, here is one of their better tunes, Liza Jane, from 1969.

Colgems Formats Part 3-Cereal Box Records

Monkees cereal box records found on the back of Post cereal boxes came upon the scene in 1969, when the show became a staple of Saturday morning television.

There were three designs, all pictured here. Notice that the likeness of Peter Tork is missing on these records. He left the group to pursue other interests in 1969, and the group continued as a threesome until Mike Nesmith left in late 1969 (he did stay on to fulfill some contracts, including one that the band had with Nerf products).

Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones stayed on through 1970, and even recorded a single together under their own names until 1970. They they went their separate ways until 1975, when Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart came together.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Colgems Formats Part 2

Here is another of the formats that Colgems used for its releases. I assume this came out when the original album was released (see Colgems discography).

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Colgems Formats

Colgems Records were not only released as vinyl singles and albums. The label also released its most popular products (Monkees, some soundtracks) in various formats, including cassette, 8-track and reel-to-reel tape.

Here is one, featuring two Monkees albums. I would say that the various formats are pretty rare, and even rarer if they are still usable today.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Colgems Gold Record

This supposedly is the gold record given to Davy Jones when the Colgems album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd. reached gold record status.

I know that they make many copies of these gold records and give them out to lots of people, and there are also phonies that unscrupulous people make up and sell as the real thing.

I don't know about this one; nor to I know how to tell a counterfeit from a real one.

That being said, take a look for yourself.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Lewis and Clarke Expedition - Destination Unknown

Here is one of their best songs. Too bad it went by the wayside. And it had a good picture sleeve too!

Colgems Records-New Uses

Somebody is actually selling this on eBay as a candy dish!

Talking about turning coal into diamonds!

Colgems Ad-The Lewis and Clarke Expedition

The Lewis and Clarke Expedition were Colgems' number two rock act, but certainly a distant second to The Monkees. Ironically, there were several Monkees connections in the band, primarily Michael Murphy, who had written some songs for the Pre-Fab Four and was friends with Michael Nesmith.

Their biggest hit was "I Feel Good (I Feel Bad)," which probably would have hit the top of the charts if it was recorded by Nesmith and his group. LCE actually produced a number of excellent singles ("Blue Revelation" stands out), but they were never able to become that popular, even though they did garner some TV and movie exposure.

Michael Murphy went on to become a popular artist, with "Wildfire" his biggest pop hit and under the monicker Michael Martin Murphy, a number of country hits. Another band member, Boomer Castleman, is a well-known name in pop music too.

Here's an advertisement touting them. Look for more later.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Let Us Join Together ... The Mighty Sajid Khan Is Finally In Our Presence

Ah yes.

It is now time to venture back to an age when things were simpler. The air was cleaner (cough, cough), the water was clearer (gurgle) and people lived life one rose petal at a time.

Light up some incense, and come to the magic land inhabited by ...

Sajid Khan.

Ha Ram. Ha Ram. Ha Ram.

Colgems Logo

Here's the Colgems logo--just so it is on the site somewhere.

I also put this in one other place. I am sure you will find it.

Colgems Star Sajid Khan

Next to Davy Jones and the rest of The Monkees, no other Colgems artist got more of a major push as a teen idol than Sajid Khan. He rose to fame in both the movie and TV versions of Maya (co-starring Dennis the Menace's Jay North), and he had "that look" for a 1960s teen idol.

Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine gave him ample spreads into the early 1970s, and thus far, he is probably one of the few performers from India to receive such coverage.

Since his heyday, he has become a big actor in Bollywood, although few of his films have been seen by American audiences.

He released one Colgems album and a couple of singles. Although his singing talent was dubious at best, his recordings are breezy and airy, sort of like Davy Jones if Davy was from India. They are "world" before the term "world music" was ever coined.

More from Sajid's recordings later today.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Colgems Soundtrack: Getting Straight (1970)

Getting Straight was a hip movie for 1970, starring then sizzling hot Elliot Gould and Candice Bergen. Gould plays Harold Bailey, who returns from Vietnam to get his masters degree so he can teach English. However, the explosive atmosphere on collge campuses forces him into a role as a campus radical. Bergen plays his girlfriend, who dreams of living in the suburbs.

Even the presence of Gould and Bergen couldn't lift the film out of the doldrums, and it pretty much bombed during its run in theaters. However, the soundtrack holds up as a period piece, featuring some pretty interesting music. Here is a sample, the Main Title of the film by Ronald Stein.

Paula Wayne: The Discography

From Phil X. Milstein, who runs the terrific site Probe (, here is a Paula Wayne singles discography. She was also on a number of Broadway soundtracks, including Golden Boy and Best Food Forward.

Monocle 102: And Then Some / Imagination

Columbia 43727: Never Less Than Yesterday / In The Name Of Love
Columbia 43876: It Could Happen / Nothing Left To Do But Cry

Columbia 44033: Lonely People Do Foolish Things / Will I Never Learn

Colgems 1021: It's A Happening World / Yours Until Tomorrow
Colgems 1027: It'll Break Your Heart / Now That I Need Him

Colgems 5002: Denver To L.A. / You With Darkness On Your Mind

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jewel Akens

Jewel Akens was already something of a seasoned performer when he came to the Colgems label. The Texas native already had a chartbusting hit, as "The Birds and the Bees" hit No. 3 in January 1965. Later that year, he had a smaller hit with "Georgie Porgie," and still later "It's the Only Way to Fly."

His sides for Colgems were fun, although they did not chart. Here is one, "You Better Move On," which is one of his best songs period.

Colgems Artists in Magazines

Since Colgems was a teen-oriented label, you can bet that any teenybopper magazine worth its salt featured Colgems artists on its covers and in its pages. The Monkees, of course, got the majority of coverage, but other Colgems artists, like Sajid Khan, Sally Field, and The Lewis and Clarke Expedition, also got page space.

This is one of the countless magazines which covered The Monkees in the 1960s.

Colgems Paula Wayne 45

Here is a Paula Wayne single on Colgems. There were no picture sleeves of any of her Colgems output.

Any more information about her would be appreciated.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Colgems Ad

Here is another Colgems ad, touting The Monkees' new release. It was in Billboard magazine.

If you have any Colgems ads you would like to share, please drop me a line. I have a few jpegs of them, and I am looking for more.

In Cold Blood

After watching Capote with my wife last night, I felt that this should be posted. This is a great film with a great soundtrack by Quincy Jones, but it is woefully out of print.

Enjoy this track.