Ahhh, The Monkees “HEAD” soundtrack.
Released almost 50 years ago in November 1968, the soundtrack album to The Monkees only movie has grown into something of a cult classic and deservedly so.
The “HEAD” soundtrack album is filled with not only great music but is also edited together so uniquely with dialogue from the film that the record stands by itself as its own unique experience – trippy, random and odd yet completely mesmerizing.
Songs like “Porpoise Song (Theme from “HEAD”), “As We Go Along”, “Circle Sky”, “Can You Dig It?” and “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again” are among the strongest music The Monkees ever recorded and stand out as being some of the most hard-edged songs both lyrically and musically in their catalog.
Now I have been a fan of The Monkees music since I was practically able to speak but for some reason I discovered the HEAD soundtrack several years after having owned and played to death all the other original albums released during the group’s heyday in the 1960s.
Oddly enough I owned the more obscure “Present” and “Changes” albums right after they were released in 1969 and 1970 but for some reason I didn’t stumble upon a copy of the HEAD soundtrack until the summer of 1976.
I do vividly remember seeing the funhouse-like reflective “HEAD” album cover for the first time when a local record store owner named Smoky Montgomery (of Smoky’s Record Shop) pulled the album out of a box he had of old stock new albums he keep upstairs in his small record store.
I had seen the HEAD album cover on the Colgems inner sleeve that was placed inside the later Monkees albums but didn’t know the cover looked like a mirror and I certainly had no idea what was in store for me when I first put the record on the turntable and played it!
Everything from the cover to the dialogue to the music stood out to me from all the other Monkees albums I owned and I remember playing this album over and over again like it was a newly released Monkees album, a feeling I wouldn’t be able to repeat until the group reformed in 1986.
To this day I find new bits and pieces to enjoy in the dialogue and music on the HEAD soundtrack every time I play it and much like the film its from the HEAD soundtrack has no conventional story but conveys a different narrative feeling each time you play it.
Anyway, above I have pictured three of my favorite reissues of the HEAD album that I own.
You may see the photo of the Colgems version of HEAD above and say ‘reissue?’ but it is indeed the first reissue of the album – see the RE in the top right had corner of the album?
The first issue of the album in 1968 spelled songwriter and producer Gerry Goffin’s first name as Jerry. This little known reissue copy corrects the spelling of his name thus the RE on the cover.
I had never even heard of this reissue until I stumbled across this copy online a few years ago. The seller had photos of the album and must have had no idea it was a rare version of the album. I was puzzled myself but ordered it because I had never seen a copy with RE on the cover.
To this day I’ve never found another copy of this Colgems RE version and don’t know how many were pressed or when.
I’m guessing it must have come out in 1969 when Colgems changed their logo on the early Monkees albums and I can’t imagine there were very many pressed as HEAD wasn’t one of The Monkees bigger selling albums.
Nevertheless It’s one of my favorite Monkees Colgems pressings and the vinyl itself is practically near mint though the cover is a bit worn but in VG condition.
The other two HEAD vinyl copies above are both colored vinyl – one (the clear one) from the 50th Anniversary Rhino Classic Album Collection and the other (the gold one) is the Friday Music Alternate HEAD Lp which contains alternate versions of the music from HEAD taken from the three CD Rhino box set from a few years ago.
All three versions above sound great and are must have if you’re a Monkees collector.
If you’ve never heard of the Colgems HEAD RE version, keep an eye out for it if you see a used copy of the HEAD album. I know I do as I’d love to find one in NM condition though I think the odds are fairly low of finding it again as I this is the only one I’ve ever seen!
Until next time, be well.
More 50th anniversary Beatles and Monkees posts coming soon!