The Monkees‘ songs were sometimes covers of tracks by other artists. For example, a song from the Prefab Four’s album The Monkees was previously a hit for The Hollies. Interestingly, Carole King helped complete the song.
The Hollies, The Beatles, and numerous other groups inspired the Prefab Four’s songs
Bobby Hart and Tommy Boyce co-wrote many songs for The Monkees, including “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Valleri.” In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart discussed how he and Boyce drew influence from several other bands while writing for the Prefab Four.
“On our blank canvas (the top page of the yellow pad) we painted sample colors of the pop acts who we thought could be possible influences for our new group: The Beatles, [The Rolling] Stones, [Herman’s] Hermits, [The] Rascals, [The] Turtles, [The Lovin’] Spoonful, [Tommy James and the] Shondells, [Paul Revere & the] Raiders, [The] Hollies, [and The] Kinks,” he wrote.
1 of The Monkees’ songs was a song by The Hollies with a new title
Russ Titelman is another songwriter. During a 1996 interview with Billboard, he discussed his career. “Going to work at the Screen Gems office every day in the Columbia Building on 711 Fifth Avenue, I got to know Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and I did some work with Gerry, including ‘I Never Dreamed” for The Cookies and a song called ‘What Am I Gonna Do With You,’ that was recorded by Lesley Gore, and The Chiffons and Skeeter Davis did a version of it too,” he recalled.
Titelman also discussed his connection to The Monkees. “I also wrote ‘Yes I Will’ with Gerry, and Carole fixed a few notes on it and made it what it was: a top 5 record in England in 1965 by The Hollies, and The Monkees recorded it on their first album,” he recalled. Notably, The Monkees’ version of “Yes I Will” is titled “I’ll Be True to You.”
How The Hollies’ ‘Yes I Will’ and The Monkees’ ‘I’ll Be True to You’ performed on the charts in the United Kingdom
Part of Titelman’s recollection of “Yes I Will” is inaccurate. The Official Charts Company reports “Yes I Will” reached No. 9 in the United Kingdom, not the top 5. The song stayed on the chart for 13 weeks. The Hollies included “Yes I Will” on the compilation album The Hollies: 20 Golden Greats. The compilation reached No. 2 in the U.K., staying on the chart for 20 weeks.
Meanwhile, The Monkees’ “I’ll Be True to You” was never a single. Thus, The Official Charts Company reports the cover never charted in the U.K. The song appeared on the album The Monkees. The album topped the U.K. chart for seven weeks, remaining on the chart for 37 weeks in total.
“Yes I Will” was a hit — and it remains an interesting connection between The Hollies and The Monkees.