Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This Month's Colgems Upload: Headquarters (Stereo Album)

Here is the Monkees' third album, and third consecutive No. 1 LP. The tracks were taken directly from the vinyl that I have had in my collection for the past 42 years. You can access this album at http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/albumania/.

When I uploaded the mono version of this release, I went into a short history of the LP, so I won't do that again. But what I will talk about this time around is the possible reasons why a single was never released from this album in the U.S.

I don't know what the actual reason was, but I think I can come up with a few reasons why no song off this album came out as a 45 in the U.S.

First, I think that the Monkees were riding high at the time with "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"--a song which was contemplated for inclusion on the album but was scotched by the band as a result of the Don Kirshner fiasco--and slightly later, "Pleasant Valley Sunday." So, the group had singles on the chart, so there was no need to add another.

Second, I think that the Monkees looked at the what the Beatles had done with "Rubber Soul"--no singles either--and thought they could do the same, which would add to their credibility.

Third, I think Colgems, in its own way, may have wanted to punish the Monkees, blaming them for the Don Kirshner fiasco, and one way to do that was to release the LP without any singles.

Certainly, whatever the reason was, the album had its share of possible singles.

In Europe and elsewhere around the world, "Randy Scouse Git"--known as "Alternate Title" due to its risque title, at least in Europe--was a huge hit across the globe, and it gave credibility to not only the Monkees as a whole, but to Micky Dolenz as a songwriter. This is just what the band had been looking for, and I think Colgems knew this.

Anything on side two of the record--unquestionably the finest side of music the band produced during its short lifespan--would have qualified as a single (less "Zilch" of course). "For Pete's Sake," which was used as the TV show's second season closing theme, was a simply incredible track, and it was partly written by Peter Tork. "Sunny Girlfriend," one of Mike Nesmith's poppiest compositions, would have qualified too.

But the song what would have worked the best was, I think, way too controversial for Colgems liking. "Shades of Gray" would have been a great single, but I think the record company might have been worried about its anti-war sentiment to put it out as a 45.

As it is, it stands as one of the Monkees' greatest songs, on what is probably their best album.