On March 8, 1945, the world welcomed a lad by the name of George Michael Dolenz, Jr., but you probably know him better as Micky. As one of the lead vocalists of The Monkees, it seems only appropriate to commemorate this very special day by offering up a list of 10 classic Monkees tracks sung by Mr. Dolenz.
“(Theme from) The Monkees” (from The Monkees, 1966)
How else can you start a Micky-centric Monkees playlist than with the group’s very own theme song? Written - like many of the group’s songs - by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, it was also the perfect way to kick off their TV show as it is to kick off this list, with Micky forewarning the public of their impending arrival while also assuring them that they’re “just trying to be friendly” and asking them to “come and watch us sing and play.” And, boy, did it work...
“Last Train to Clarksville” (from The Monkees, 1966)
Another Boyce & Hart co-write, this tune was played more often on the group’s TV series than any other, appearing in seven different episodes, but given that it was also their first No. 1 hit, it’s hard to begrudge them that level of repetition, since it clearly paid off for them.
“I’m a Believer” (from More of The Monkees, 1967)
Produced by Jeff Barry and written by none other than Neil Diamond, this became the Monkees’ second No. 1 hit, and what a hit it was, remaining in the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. If anyone you know thinks of this only as a Smash Mouth song, please stage an intervention immediately to rectify this situation, as it is highly inappropriate.
“(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” (from More of The Monkees, 1967)
Hey, look, it’s another Boyce & Hart composition! This one, however, was actually recorded first by Paul Revere and The Raiders for their Midnight Ride album, released in May ’66, six months before The Monkees’ version was released as the B-side of the aforementioned “I’m a Believer.” Any song that can be covered successfully by both The Monkees and the Sex Pistols is one for the ages, which means that “Steppin’ Stone” handily qualifies.
“Randy Scouse Git” (from Headquarters, 1967)
This song holds a special place in Dolenz’s heart, since he didn’t just take lead vocals on the track, he actually wrote it. Indeed, it was his first composition to be released on a Monkees album, and it was inspired by a party that The Beatles threw for The Monkees when they came to London. Unfortunately, Dolenz didn’t realize that the title was going to prove controversial in the U.K., where RCA refused to release the song unless it was given an alternate title, but our man Micky got the last laugh: not only was it released as - wait for it - “Alternate Title,” but upon its release, it climbed to No. 2 on the U.K. Singles chart.
“Pleasant Valley Sunday” (from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd., 1967)
Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, this ode to suburbia became a No. 3 hit for the Monkees, and its title was recycled as the name of MTV’s marathon of The Monkees that led to a new generation of Monkeemaniacs.
Read More: February 1986: MTV Reignites Monkeemania
“I’ll Be Back Up on My Feet” (from The Birds, The Bees, and The Monkees, 1968)
While admittedly one of the lesser-known tracks on this list, this bouncy little number is hard to get out of your head after you’ve heard it a few times. It was written by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, a songwriting duo who only wrote two songs for the Monkees (the other being “The Day We Fall in Love”), but they were responsible for quite a few other songs in the ‘60s and ‘70s, including “”Working My Way Back to You,” “A Lover’s Concerto,” “Can’t Get Enough of You Baby,” and “Breakin’ Down the Walls of Heartache.”
“Porpoise Song” (from Head, 1968)
Another co-write by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, this tune also features vocals from Davy Jones, but given that it’s predominantly Micky on lead vocals and also happens to be one of the most gorgeous song in The Monkees’ catalog, there was no way we'd skip it. No matter how many times it’s been covered over the years, none of the versions have touched this one.
Read More: November 1968: Monkees Fans Get 'Head'
“All of Your Toys" (from Missing Links, Vol. 1, 1987)
Although it wasn’t actually released until the first of the band’s rarities compilations in 1987, this tune by Bill Martin was actually recorded 20 years earlier and featured all four members playing on the recording. The intent was for the track to be released as the group’s third single, but they ran into problems in regards to the songwriting: any song released by The Monkees had to be published by Screen Gems, and Martin’s publisher wouldn’t sell them the copyright. As a result, the song was shelved for two decades, but once it finally emerged, it was clear that the idea of releasing it as a single had been a wise one, even if they weren’t able to bring it to fruition.
“For Pete’s Sake” (from Headquarters, 1967)
No, this one isn’t in chronological order, but if we’re going to open with The Monkees’ theme song, then we felt obliged to close with the song that generally played over the closing credits of the series.
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