The Monkees Greatest Hits (Colgems)

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Greatest Hits
Monkees Greatest Colgems.jpg
Greatest hits album by The Monkees
Released June 9, 1969
Recorded 1966-1969
Genre Pop rock
Length mm:ss
Label Colgems (original U.S. release)
RCA Records (original release outside U.S.)
Friday Music (2012 vinyl reissue)
Producer various
The Monkees chronology
Instant Replay
(1969)Instant Replay1969
Greatest Hits
(1969)
The Monkees Present
(1969)The Monkees Present1969

The Monkees Greatest Hits is the first greatest hits compilation album by The Monkees, issued by Colgems in June 1969.

Background

Appearing in record stores a year after the cancellation of the Monkees's TV series, the black-and-orange-covered package remains one of the rarest pieces of vinyl in the band’s discography. After an unsuccessful movie, Head, from the previous winter, the record company tried to revive waning interest in the Monkees, but to no avail. The band was now down to a trio with the departure of Peter Tork, and The Monkees Greatest Hits climbed to number 89 on the Billboard album charts before disappearing.

It is also the only original Monkees album on the Colgems label not to feature any photographs of the group either on the front or back covers.

All of the A-sides to the band's first six singles were chosen. The Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. stereo mix of "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was included instead of the single mono mix. This first compilation also featured the LP debut, as well as the stereo debut, of "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You" without handclaps and with Davy Jones singing "Oh girl, oh girl" during the instrumental section which is not present in the mono single version.

The seven other tracks make for curious choices since none of them were hit singles or B-sides in America. "Randy Scouse Git" was issued as a single in England and reached #2 on the UK charts (as "Alternate Title"). "She" was released in Mexico and "Shades Of Gray" in the Philippines; however, they did not do as well as Mexico’s number one, "(Look Out) Here Comes Tomorrow" or Australia’s chart topper, "(Theme From) The Monkees," tracks that were left out of this package.

Also unusual is the complete exclusion of any songs sung by Mike Nesmith, who was still with the group at the time. (The Nesmith-penned "Mary, Mary" does make an appearance.)

Additionally missing were three B-sides that charted in the Billboard Hot 100: "The Girl I Knew Somewhere," "Words," and "Tapioca Tundra." "Take a Giant Step," the B-side to "Last Train to Clarksville," and "Goin' Down," the B-side to "Daydream Believer," are also absent. Instead, "Cuddly Toy" and "Zor And Zam" were included, despite not being singles nor being as famous as other possible tracks, such as the aforementioned opening theme to the show, or "For Pete's Sake," which closed the episodes of the show in the second season.

All of the tracks would reappear on Barrel Full of Monkees except for "Zor And Zam."

This was finally reissued on 3 Jan 2012, in 180 Gram vinyl, by Friday Music Cataloged as FRM-115. The reissue is exactly the same as the original.

Track listing

Side 1

  1. "Daydream Believer" (Stewart)
  2. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (Goffin & King)
  3. "Cuddly Toy" (Nilsson)
  4. "Shades of Gray" (Mann & Weil)
  5. "Zor and Zam" (Chadwick & Chadwick)
  6. "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" (Diamond)
  7. "She" (Boyce & Hart)

Side 2

  1. "Randy Scouse Git" (Dolenz)
  2. "I Wanna Be Free" (Boyce & Hart)
  3. "I'm a Believer" (Diamond)
  4. "Valleri" (Boyce & Hart)
  5. "Mary Mary" (Nesmith)
  6. "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (Boyce & Hart)
  7. "Last Train to Clarksville" (Boyce & Hart)

Unreleased follow-up compilation

Prior to the eventual closing of the Colgems record label in 1971, the company made a test-pressing of yet another Monkees hits LP. A recent discovery of this record reveals that the title of this album was to be called Greatest Hits, No. 2. Like its predecessor, it contained 14 songs. 4 of these songs were key album tracks; 5 songs were issued on both singles and albums; the remaining 5 selections were previously released only as singles and would have made their album debut on this collection, had it actually been released.

Again, the Top 40 hits "Words" and "Tapioca Tundra" were, for some reason, overlooked for this compilation. While no official catalog number was ever assigned, the track listing was in place right from the start. Further documentation reveals that all 14 songs were in true stereo. The track line-up was as follows;

Side 1

  1. "(Theme From) The Monkees"
  2. "Porpoise Song (Theme from Head)"
  3. "Someday Man"
  4. "Good Clean Fun"
  5. "Oh My My"
  6. "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?"
  7. "D.W. Washburn"

Side 2

  1. "For Pete's Sake"
  2. "Listen To The Band"
  3. "It's Nice to Be with You"
  4. "The Girl I Knew Somewhere"
  5. "Tear Drop City"
  6. "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again"
  7. "Goin' Down"

References

  • The Monkees Tale, by Eric Lefcowitz, Last Gasp Press 1985, 1989 ( ISBN 0867193786)
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