The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
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The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees is the fifth studio album by the Monkees. Released in April 1968, it was the first Monkees album not to reach Billboard's number one, peaking at No. 3 on the U.S. charts. It was also their first album to miss the UK charts altogether, with their four previous efforts all having reached the top ten. The album has sold over a million copies.
|The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees|
|Studio album by|
|Released||April 22, 1968|
|Recorded||Late 1967–early 1968|
|Genre||Pop rock, psychedelic pop|
|Label||Colgems (original U.S. release)|
RCA Victor (original release outside U.S.)
Arista (1980 Japanese LP reissue + 1986 CD reissue)
Rhino (1985 LP reissue + 1994 & 2010 CD reissues)
Sundazed (1996 LP reissue)
|Producer||The Monkees, Chip Douglas|
|the Monkees chronology|
|Singles from The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
While 1968 would go on to present several misfortunes for the band (their television series was canceled; their first motion picture project, Head, failed at the box office; their television special, 33⅓ Revolutions per Monkee, arguably fared even worse; and, in December, Peter Tork left the group), The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees proved to be another successful album, yielding the group's sixth million-selling single in "Valleri" and yet another No. 1 in "Daydream Believer", written by former Kingston Trio member John Stewart. Coincidentally, both songs had been holdovers from previous albums: "Valleri" had originally been recorded more than a year prior for the television show (the version on this album is a new production) and "Daydream Believer" had been recorded for their previous album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. "Tapioca Tundra", an experimental piece of poetry put to music by Nesmith, charted well as the B-side to "Valleri" and reached No. 34.
After gaining complete artistic control over their musical direction and being allowed to play instruments on their own records in early 1967, the success of Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. began to somewhat rebuff the critics who viewed The Monkees as a band of talentless individuals who were simply lucky enough to gain recognition through their "manufactured" origins.
The desire and focus, however, to remain as a complete band unit in the studio evaporated after the Pisces album, when each individual band member began to produce his own sessions with his own selected studio musicians, often at entirely different studios around the Los Angeles area. According to Chip Douglas, "Peter kind of drifted away first, and then everybody did. Everyone wanted to do their own songs and produce them the way they wanted to hear them." An agreement was made to label all finished efforts as "Produced by The Monkees" but, in reality, beyond a few exceptions the recordings featured on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees reverted to the recording process of the first two albums (fewer group dynamics), except now each band member was fully in charge of the sessions. Chip Douglas, producer of the Monkees' previous two albums, fully expected to continue as the band's representative in the studio, but found the individual Monkees more interested in exploring their diverse musical backgrounds with their own friends and associates rather than relying on Douglas as the central figure. Douglas continues, "I was ready to do that Boyce & Hart song 'P.O. Box 9847' – it sort of had that 'Paperback Writer' feel on the demo. We passed on it for Pisces, and I began to think, 'Well, we should do that one now.' Then somebody said, 'Chip, we’re not working with you anymore; we’re gonna do our own thing.'"
While being credited as the producers, in reality the Monkees were assisted in the studio by Colgems' president, and head of Screen Gems-Columbia Publishing, Lester Sill, jazz musician and arranger Shorty Rogers, or future manager and later MCA vice president Brendan Cahill. "At that point their contract read that they were to be credited as producers on any product of theirs that came out", Rogers recalls. "Brendan Cahill and I really did all the studio work and production with Lester Sill. When we finished the album, Lester said, 'We’ll put you down as producers', but The Monkees didn't want it, so that went by the wayside."
Davy Jones' Broadway rock, Michael Nesmith's country and western leanings and psychedelic experiments, and the rock and soul of Micky Dolenz made for a diverse album. Several of Peter Tork's compositions were considered for release on Birds; however, they were all rejected (for reasons unknown). Aside from playing piano on "Daydream Believer", he did not participate in the making of the record at all. Veteran Monkees tunesmiths Boyce and Hart returned to the fold to contribute the psychedelic "P.O. Box 9847", as well as a new version of "Valleri."
The rare U.S. mono album (COM-109) was released in a limited quantity, as mono albums were being phased out by 1968, and has become a highly sought item for its unique mixes that differ from the common stereo versions. Mono copies from Australia, India, Israel, Mexico and Puerto Rico are known to have the same mix as the U.S. There may be others as well. Most countries' mono versions — including the UK's — feature a "fold-down" mix where the stereo channels are reduced to one monaural channel (a mono version of the stereo mix).
The front cover of the album shows a shadow box that contains some memorabilia from the 1940s through 1960s, including a Cootie bug, a popgun, a fan that folds out into a paper flower, ceramic birds, various paper flowers and stick flowers (which were popular in 1968). Alan Wolsky, whose agency created the cover, put a picture of himself in the bottom center square, partially obscured by some flowers. The rear cover  contains the term "MIJACOGEO" alongside Micky's photo, a term that is an acronym for the members of Micky's family (Micky, Janelle, Coco and George, respectively). Another quirk was that while Davy and Peter signed autographs in a traditional manner on their rear cover photos, Michael Nesmith signed "Carlisle Wheeling" to be superimposed onto his picture. This was the title of a song that did not make it on to any Monkees release at that time. However, it appeared on his post-Monkees album Loose Salute with the First National Band, having been renamed "Conversations". The song also was later released on various Monkees rarities collections.
On February 8, 2010, Rhino Records' Rhino Handmade released a 3-CD boxed set reissue of the album. It was made available only online directly from Rhino. The set is housed in a 7 inch by 7 inch box with a 3D lenticular cover. It contains the original stereo and U.S. mono versions of the album in miniature vinyl replica sleeves, over 60 demos, rehearsals and outtakes from the original album's sessions, a commemorative pin and a booklet of essays and session information by Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval. The first 1,000 orders include a bonus vinyl single featuring two more unreleased tracks, acoustic versions of "St. Matthew" and "Lady's Baby".
The mono mix was re-released on October 2014 by Friday Music, as part of "The Monkees in Mono" box set. This pressing features messages in the dead wax reading "Thanks to the Monkees" and "In memory of Davy Jones" on sides 1 and 2, respectively.
Original 1968 Colgems vinyl issueEdit
- Side 1
|1.||"Dream World" (David Jones, Steve Pitts)||Davy Jones||3:22|
|2.||"Auntie's Municipal Court" (Michael Nesmith, Keith Allison)||Micky Dolenz||4:05|
|3.||"We Were Made for Each Other" (Carole Bayer, George Fischoff)||Davy Jones||2:25|
|4.||"Tapioca Tundra" (Michael Nesmith)||Michael Nesmith||3:08|
|5.||"Daydream Believer" (John Stewart)||Davy Jones||3:00|
|6.||"Writing Wrongs" (Michael Nesmith)||Michael Nesmith||5:08|
- Side 2
|1.||"I'll Be Back Up on My Feet" (Sandy Linzer, Denny Randell)||Micky Dolenz||2:26|
|2.||"The Poster" (David Jones, Steve Pitts)||Davy Jones||2:21|
|3.||"P.O. Box 9847" (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart)||Micky Dolenz||3:16|
|4.||"Magnolia Simms" (Michael Nesmith)||Michael Nesmith||3:48|
|5.||"Valleri" (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart)||Davy Jones||2:15|
|6.||"Zor and Zam" (Bill Chadwick, John Chadwick)||Micky Dolenz||2:10|
Aborted track listingEdit
The original track lineup for the album, compiled in March 1968, included the following songs:
- Side 1
- "Through The Looking Glass"
- "We Were Made For Each Other"
- "Writing Wrongs"
- "I'll Be Back Up On My Feet"
- "Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again"
- Side 2
- "Dream World"
- "P.O. Box 9847"
- "Tapioca Tundra"
- "The Poster"
- "Daydream Believer"
- "Zor and Zam"
1994 Rhino CD reissueEdit
Tracks 1-12: Original album in stereo
- "Alvin" (Nicholas Thorkelson) - 0:27
- "I'm Gonna Try" (Jones, Pitts) - 2:44
- "P.O. Box 9847" (Boyce, Hart) (Early Mix) - 3:15
- "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (Neil Sedaka, Bayer) (Second Recorded Version) - 2:40
- "Lady's Baby" (Peter Tork) (Alternate Mix) - 2:30
1996 Sundazed vinyl reissueEdit
2010 Rhino Handmade deluxe CD reissueEdit
- Disc 1 (The Original Stereo Album & More)
Tracks 1-12: Original album in stereo
- "Through the Looking Glass" (1968 Stereo Mix) (Red Baldwin, Boyce, Hart) - 2:49
- "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again" (Alternate Mix) (Tork) - 2:36
- "D.W. Washburn" (1968 Stereo Mix) (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) - 2:50
- "It's Nice to Be with You" (1968 Stereo Mix) (Jerry Goldstein) - 2:52
- "Carlisle Wheeling" (1967 Stereo Mix) (Nesmith) - 3:07
- "Rosemarie" (1968 Stereo Mix) (Dolenz) - 2:38
- "My Share of the Sidewalk" (1968 Stereo Mix) (Nesmith) - 3:01
- "Alvin" (Alternate Take) (Thorkelson, Thorkelson) - 0:22
- "We Were Made for Each Other" (Alternate Backing Track) (Bayer, Fischoff) - 2:46
- "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (1967 Stereo Mix) (Bayer, Sedaka) - 4:32
- "Little Red Rider" (Acoustic Version) (Nesmith) - 2:30
- "Lady's Baby" (1968 Stereo Mix) (Tork) - 2:25
- "Ceiling in My Room" (1967 Stereo Mix) (Dominick DeMieri, Bobby Dick, Jones) - 3:50
- "I'm a Man" (Backing Track) (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) - 2:55
- "Me Without You" (1968 Stereo Mix) (Boyce, Hart) - 2:16
- Disc 2 (The Original Mono Album & More)
Tracks 1-12: Original album in mono
- "Alvin" (1968 Mono Mix) (Thorkelson, Thorkelson) - 0:24
- "While I Cry" (1968 Mono Mix) (Nesmith) - 3:02
- "D.W. Washburn" (Mono Single Mix) (Leiber, Stoller) - 2:49
- "It's Nice to Be with You" (Mono Single Mix) (Goldstein) - 2:53
- "Come on in" (1968 Mono Mix) (Mapes) - 3:19
- "Carlisle Wheeling" (1968 Mono Mix) (Nesmith) - 3:02
- "Rosemarie" (1968 Mono Mix) (Dolenz) - 2:39
- "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (1967 Mono Mix) (Bayer, Sedaka) - 2:45
- "Seeger's Theme" (Alternate Version) (Seeger) - 0:42
- "Tear the Top Right Off My Head" (Micky's Vocal) (Tork) - 1:55
- "My Share of the Sidewalk" (1968 Mono Mix) (Nesmith) - 3:02
- "Lady's Baby" (1968 Mono Mix) (Tork) - 2:26
- "Ceiling in My Room" (1967 Mono Mix) (DeMieri, Dick, Jones) - 3:15
- "Merry Go Round" (1968 Mono Mix) (Tork, Diane Hildebrand) - 1:43
- "Don't Listen to Linda" (1968 Mono Mix) (Boyce, Hart) - 2:56
- "Me Without You" (1968 Mono Mix) (Boyce, Hart) - 2:17
- "Zor and Zam" (TV Version) (Chadwick, Chadwick) - 2:04
- The Birds the Bees & the Monkees Teen Radio Spot - 1:00
- Disc 3 (The Birds, The Bees & The Raritees)
- Monkees Adult Stereo 8 Spot - 0:59
- "Tear the Top Right Off My Head" (Peter's Vocal) (Tork) - 1:57
- "Auntie's Municipal Court" (Mike's Vocal) (Nesmith, Allison) - 4:08
- "P.O. Box 9847" (1968 Alternate Stereo Mix) (Boyce, Hart) - 3:22
- "War Games" (Version One) (Jones, Pitts) - 2:12
- "Lady's Baby" (Tork) - 2:27
- "Tapioca Tundra" (1967 Alternate Stereo Mix) (Nesmith) - 3:02
- "D.W. Washburn" (Alternate Mix with Bass Vocal) (Leiber, Stoller) - 2:56
- "Nine Times Blue" (Version Two - Davy's Vocal) (Nesmith) - 2:19
- "Lady's Baby" (Acoustic Version) (Tork) - 2:19
- "While I Cry" (Alternate Mono Mix) (Nesmith) - 3:05
- "Shorty Blackwell" (Rehearsal) (Dolenz) - 2:54
- "Laurel and Hardy" (Berry, Christian) - 2:45
- "Seeger's Theme" (Acoustic Version) (Seeger) - 0:52
- "Tapioca Tundra" (Acoustic Version) (Nesmith) - 3:15
- "Don't Say Nothin' Bad" (About My Baby) (Goffin, King) - 2:08
- "War Games" (Version Two) (Jones, Pitts) - 2:31
- "(I Prithee) - Do Not Ask for Love" (Second Recorded Version) (Michael Martin Murphey) - 3:47
- "My Share of the Sidewalk" (Mike's Vocal Version) (Nesmith) - 3:12
- "Shake 'em Up and Let 'em Roll" (Alternate Vocal Version) (Leiber, Stoller) - 2:10
- "Changes" (2009 Mix) (Jones, Pitts) - 2:25
- "Merry Go Round" (Version One) (Tork, Hildebrand) - 1:29
- "Magnolia Simms" (Acoustic Version) (Nesmith) - 3:15
- "I'm Gonna Try" (Jones, Pitts) - 2:44
- "Seeger's Theme" (Electric Version) (Seeger) - 0:42
- "Magnolia Simms" (Stereo Remix) (Nesmith) - 3:42
- "The Girl I Left Behind Me" (Third Recorded Version) (Bayer, Sedaka) - 2:57
- "Merry Go Round" (Third Recorded Version) (Tork, Hildebrand) - 1:41
- "Nine Times Blue" (Version Two - Mike's Vocal) (Nesmith) - 2:17
- "The Party" (2009 Mix) (Jones, Pitts) - 3:01
- "I Wasn't Born to Follow" (Backing Track) (Goffin, King) - 2:58
- Vinyl 45
- "St. Matthew" (Acoustic Version) (Nesmith)
- "Lady's Baby" (Alternate Acoustic Version) (Tork)
All tracks produced by The Monkees unless otherwise specified.
Auntie's Municipal Court
We Were Made for Each Other
P.O. Box 9847
1994 bonus tracks session InformationEdit
I'm Gonna Try
P.O. Box 9847 (early mix)
The Girl I Left Behind Me (second recorded version)
Lady's Baby (alternate mix)
2010 bonus tracks session informationEdit
D. W. Washburn (1968 stereo mix)
It's Nice To Be with You (1968 stereo mix)
Ceiling in My Room (1967 stereo mix)
Auntie's Municipal Court (alternate mix)
|Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)||5|
|Canadian Albums (RPM)||6|
|Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)||8|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||28|
|Japanese Albums (Oricon)||44|
|US Billboard 200||3|
|1967||"Daydream Believer"||Billboard Hot 100||1|
|1967||"Daydream Believer"||UK Charts||5|
|1968||"Valleri"||Billboard Hot 100||3|
|1968||"Tapioca Tundra"||Billboard Hot 100||34|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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