I’ve been working on my Monkees book for a couple of weeks now, and am about half done with the first draft, so I’m going to start posting each chapter here as I go through and do a quick polish-up, before I do the final draft, the same way I’ve serialised my other books.
But one thing I’m mentioning in the introduction (which, as always, will be for paying customers only) which needs to be stated here is how I’m dealing with unreleased material.
Many of the Monkees’ best songs, or their most interesting artistic works, were never released at the time – songs like (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love, Nine Times Blue, Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun To Care) or Lady’s Baby remained in the vaults, and were only released on rarities collections or as bonus tracks on CDs.
To make matters worse, many of these songs were recorded several times, in several different versions, and these versions have been released on multiple discs – so if you talk about Nine Times Blue, for example, there’s a demo version (on the Headquarters Deluxe Edition CD), a version with Mike on vocals, and a version with Davy on vocals (both on the The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees CD).
(And I should just be glad I’m only counting stuff released on legitimate Monkees studio CDs, or I’d have to deal with the TV version, the version on Nesmith’s solo album Magnetic South, and the version on Nesmith’s tax-dodge big band instrumental album The Wichita Train Whistle Sings).
So my rules for making this something that can be handled are:
I’m only dealing with studio-recorded songs that have received a legitimate CD release (so I don’t have to deal with the songs on the 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee special or the songs that are only on live albums).
Each song gets dealt with once. If there are multiple interesting versions, they get discussed together, but I’m not going to talk about things like, for example, the alternate vocal take of I’m A Believer with an almost inaudibly different performance.
If a song got a release on one of the actual studio albums on its original release, it gets dealt with on that album. Otherwise it gets dealt with on the chronologically-earliest CD on which it’s received a release. So Mr Webster, which was first recorded during the More Of The Monkees sessions, but which was finally released on Headquarters gets discussed on Headquarters, but (I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love, which had two versions recorded during sessions for The Monkees, one for More Of The Monkees and one for 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee gets discussed for The Monkees, because that’s the first album, and two of the versions are bonus tracks on there.
Actual *songs* appearing on the Headquarters Sessions box set get discussed with Headquarters, but the endless bits called things like ‘Banjo Jam’ or ‘Blues (excerpt)’ only get discussed if there’s something worth saying.
All clear? Good. Then on we go.