Today we’re taking a look back on 2013 as well as 1967. What? Let me explain.
First, let’s set the dial of the way back time machine to the early part of 1967. At that time, in the United States at least, The Monkees were probably the hottest new musical group on the scene. (You see I said group, more on that in a minute).
By the time The Monkees went into the studio to record their third album called “Headquarters” they had already had two number one singles (“Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer”) as well as two number one albums (“The Monkees” and “More of The Monkees”).
In fact “More of The Monkees” was in the midst of it’s eighteen week run at the number one spot atop the Billboard charts after having overtaken “The Monkees” which had spent thirteen weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 200.
You see my friends those kind of sales numbers aren’t just big they are HUGE. That kind of overnight success tends to turn peoples heads and many in the music industry were in an uproar that this “fake” TV group was outselling practically everyone without seeming to have paid their dues or even be real musicians.
It was in the midst of this kind of criticism and animosity that The Monkees, spearheaded by group members Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, decided to make a stand and have the group not only record their vocals but also be allowed to play their own instruments on the music that they recorded.
It’s long been the spiel of many a Monkees critics that not only did the group members not play their own music but they were just four pretty faces picked at random to fill TV roles and none of them possessed any musical talent at all. That’s far from the truth.
Yes The Monkees was a TV show about a rock group that wanted to be The Beatles but somewhere along the line the fictional Monkees became an actual band that far outlasted the TV series from which they came.
The “Headquarters” album, in my opinion, is where The Monkees story really becomes interesting. This “fake” TV band did indeed morph into a pretty darn good bonified group that contained not only one of the best pop singers of the era (Micky Dolenz) but one truly superb songwriter (Mike Nesmith) as well.
Truly all four group members wrote some very good songs (just take a listen to the Dolenz penned “Randy Scouse Git” and Tork’s “For Pete’s Sake” both from “Headquarters”) and all four could sing and play very well. If the group members had little talent or musical ability then there’s no way they could have created such a long lasting legacy in the music world.
So where does this lead me, it leads me to today’s look at my favorite digital version of the “Headquarters” album which was released by Friday Music in 2013.
Actually this Friday Music 2 CD set called “Headquarters Deluxe Edition” is really a reissue of Rhino Records Deluxe CD version of “Headquarters” which came out in 2007. The main differences from Rhino’s set was that Friday Music’s version came in a standard CD case instead of a fold open digi-pak and had a different mastering of the music which was a bit quieter and more dynamic than Rhino’s set.
Both sets had the same bonus tracks but for some reason the Friday Music set deleted the slates or session chat that came before the start of the songs which I love but I’m guessing many fans can live without.
I’ve read online that some folks think that the mastering for the main stereo and mono versions of the “Headquarters” album came from Rhino’s “Headquarters Sessions” 3 CD set but as I’m uncertain of how this mastering happened all I know is that it sounds better to me than the 2007 Rhino version and is well worth seeking out for fans of this album.
I have also posted a vlog about this Friday Music CD release as well as a couple of other versions of “Headquarters” below:
As usual I have posted photos (above) of the groovy Friday Music 2 CD issue and while I believe this set may be out of print I think you can still find copies online fairly easily but that may change in the near future as people seem to be leaving physical forms of music behind fairly rapidly these days.
Well, that’s all for now. I just wanted to take a quick look at this lovely reissue which has pretty much fallen through the cracks.
I hope you are all healthy and well and until next time be safe and listen to some music! Preferably good music or at least some older good music.
See you next time.