Friday, September 17, 2010

Go To the "Head" of the Class

The "Head" bandwagon has revved up and it appears to be in full swing right now.

On Monday, Sept. 20, an expanded edition of the Monkees' soundtrack to their only movie will be released by Rhino Records. It will have numerous extras, including much unreleased material.

Then, a few weeks later, the film will be re-released in a boxed set of DVDs highlighting movies of the late 1960s. I have also heard that the film, also with numerous extras, will be re-released as a single film on its own before the end of the year.

"Head" is one of the most insane, off the wall movies ever released. If for some reason you may have not seen it yet, it is something that you must see not once, but several times. Each time you see it, you will get something different out of it.

It is not the Monkees' TV show dragged out to almost 90 minutes--it is something way more than that, giving us a vehicle to both look at Davy, Peter, Mike, and Micky at that time in their careers, but also a way to look at our society at that time and yes, a way to look at us.

This was guerilla movie making before the term was coined, and there are so many ins and outs to this film that it would take me a 10,000 words just to get into it superficially.

Funny, but the soundtrack often gets lost in the discussion of this film, but it is wonderful. It features some of the Monkees' best, most adult songs, and it also features snippets of dialogue and sound effects that make listening to the soundtrack another fulfilling experience, even if you have never seen the film.

I purposely am not going too long with this entry, because this is supposed to be a Colgems site, and really, all these years later, this has nothing to do with the label.

However, the re-releases are an astounding event, considering how the film and soundtrack bombed so badly more than 40 years ago.

So go out and get the album and DVD when it appears, because you will move to the "Head" of the class of rock and roll by doing so.

You won't be sorry, I can promise you that.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

This Month's Colgems Upload - Golden HIts

The Monkees TV show was a great success on CBS's Saturday morning TV lineup. The lunacy of the show fit right into the cartoons and other live action programs that made up this schedule.

Little kids who were either not born when the show originally ran from 1966-1968 on NBC, or were too young to watch it, now had the Monkees as their own as their older brothers and sister moved onto other musical and television interests.

In order to pacify the younger folks, CBS, RCA, Colgems and Post Cereals each participated in a plan to market the Monkees to these young kids, not on a major scale like they did a few years earlier, but with a smaller vision in mind.

The first parts of this marketing plan was the release of the "Changes" LP, and the video and single of the tune "Oh My My." The video was unique to the Saturday morning shows, and although the LP only featured Davy and Micky, it could satisfy the small fry's desire to own something "Monkees" that their older brothers and sisters didn't have.

Sure, the album and single flopped, but they were out there for the kids to buy--or, more to the point, for their parents to buy for them.

The next step in this program were the Post cereal box records. Parents were buying the cereal, anyway, so these records were an added bonus.

Out of the cereal box records promotion came "Golden Hits," a mail-away compendium of all the songs included in the cereal box record series.

You can access this album at

There was absolutely nothing new on this LP, and it was shabbily made and produced for the kids who collected the cereal box records, featuring those songs, and only those songs, on a vinyl LP that these kids could call their own. For some kids, it was probably the first vinyl LP they ever owned.

Although these kids didn't know it, the LP was an el cheapo, put out by Colgems though RCA's Special Products Division. Little care was given to its creation, and even song titles were misspelled on the back cover: check out the misspelling of "Valleri."

Anyway, parents had to send away for it, and I am sure that when kids finally received the LP, they were smitten forever with Micky, Davy, Mike (who was featured with Micky and Davy in a picture on the back cover) and Peter, who was not visually represented on the album but was actually on a few of the tracks musically.

Colgems was on its last legs, and had one more Monkees LP to release before it went kaput. More on that next time.