50 Years of Daydreaming … Or I’ve Got Birds and Bees Wax Stuck in My CD Player!

“What number is this Chip? 7A!” …

Fifty years, my how time flies.

I remember it just like it was yesterday when I was … one?

Okay I really don’t remember 1967 at all but fifty years ago today The Monkees last number one single called “Daydream Believer” was released and made its way to hearts of millions of fans around the world.

Whenever I hear that delicate piano intro, played by Peter Tork, I’m instantly transported to a carefree time sitting in front of a small record player on the floor as a child playing that song over and over … and over (just ask my siblings lol).

Anyway, since the “Daydream Believer/Goin’ Down” 45 is celebrating the big 5-0, I thought I’d commemorate the occasion in true collector’s (hoarder?) fashion by sharing all the CD versions I own of the album on which “Daydream Believer” makes its home.

As Monkees fans know, “Daydream Believer” came out shortly before The Monkees’ fourth album entitled “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd.” which was released in November of 1967.

Surprisingly “Daydream Believer” wasn’t a part of that album but instead was released several months later in the spring of 1968 on an album called  “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees”, the group’s fifth long player and fifth gold album.

Technically “Daydream Believer” is really a part of the sessions for “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd.” but since this is my blog and I love a good anniversary as much as anyone I thought a look at the various CD releases of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” would be fun.

Note: I spent years not being able to buy new copies of my worn out original Monkees albums which had gone out of print so now I’m obviously over compensating – as you may be able to tell lol.

Most of the CD issues of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” sound similar but the one that I’m most sentimental about would have to be the first compact disc issue of this album from Japan in 1992 on Arista Records.

It has a slightly different back cover and is mastered very well and I remember being thrilled to death to see it released on compact disc as I wasn’t sure if all The Monkees albums would make it to this new digital format.

The 1994 Rhino CD release of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees”, which sounds just as good as the Japanese disc, includes some terrific alternate versions of songs as bonus tracks. Because of that it’s probably my favorite go to single disc version of the album available on CD.

Both the 1992 and 1994 CDs are out of print but the 1994 Rhino disc is easy to find and is much cheaper than the Japanese issue.

The cream of the crop reissue of “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” arrived in 2010 as a Super Deluxe box set and was made available as an online only release by Rhino Records on their Rhino Handmade imprint.

Consisting of 3 CDs, a booklet and a bonus 45, this magnificent box set includes remastered versions of the stereo and ultra rare mono Lp mixes as well as dozens of outtakes, alternates and rare mixes.

The box set sold out pretty quickly – only 5,000 copies were made – and is pretty expensive these days. Of course this now expensive box set is the best representation of this album and the truly sprawling sessions that the group undertook to make it.

By the time “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” was recorded in late 1967/early 1968 The Monkees were no longer working together as a self-contained quartet in the recording studio as they mostly had on their third and fourth albums (“Headquarters” and “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, Ltd.”).

Each group member was now going into the studio by themselves and creating music produced under The Monkees banner but made individually with top session players; more in line with the way the first two Monkees albums – “The Monkees” and “More of The Monkees” – were made.

This created a HUGE backlog of finished songs that ended up languishing in Colgems (Sony/Columbia’s) vaults until they were rescued from obscurity by Rhino Records beginning in the 1980s.

Some of my personal favorites from the Deluxe box set include “My Share of the Sidewalk” (written by Mike Nesmith with versions sung by both Nesmith and Davy Jones), “Ceiling in My Room” (a reflective Davy Jones ballad), “Come On In” (a lovely Peter Tork track) and “Nine Times Blue” (a Mike Nesmith tune sung by Davy Jones).

Other quality tracks that are a thrill to hear include Micky Dolenz’ proto-punk “Rosemarie”, early mixes of “Through the Looking Glass” (later found on the “Instant Replay” Lp) and Peter Tork’s acid rocker “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?” (later found on “HEAD” soundtrack Lp), a wonderful early version of “The Girl I Left Behind Me” (sung by Davy Jones) and “(I Prithee) Do Not Ask For Love (Second Recorded Version)”.

The set also includes some really interesting backing tracks, songs before vocals were added, including “We Were Made for Each Other” which was produced by Chip Douglas (esteemed Monkees producer) and “Wasn’t Born to Follow” which was finished in 2016 with a lovely Peter Tork vocal and put on The Monkees 50th reunion album “Good Times”.

The outtakes and rarities on this set really flesh out the sessions for “The  Birds, The Bees & The Monkees” highlighting a variety of musical styles ranging from country, folk, pop, rock to a bit of Broadway thrown in for good measure courtesy of Mr. Jones.

This exhaustive box set really showcases the group as quality songwriters, producers and performers. Not bad for the cast of a TV show that really wasn’t a group when the Monkees project began.

The two latest issues of this album on CD, from 2012 and 2016, are taken from the stereo version that comes from the Super Deluxe box set.

Whew, so there you have it!

Happy 50th birthday “Daydream Believer” and help yourself to a sampling of the album it’s found on – “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees”; a lovely example of some terrific, melodic, sometimes psychedelic, sometimes bizarre pop/rock goodness.

Below you’ll find photos of all of the CDs mentioned except the 1994 Rhino CD which is seen as part the photo at the top of this page:

  • First issue Japan Arista CD 1992
  • Super Deluxe Box Set 2010
  • Rhino single CD (no bonus tracks) 2012
  • Rhino paper sleeve version from 2016 Monkees Classic Album Collection box set

 

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