The Monkees’ Supervisor Incorrectly Thought 3 Songs From Their 1st Album Would Be Hits

TL;DR:

  • A band performed three of The Monkees’ songs live before they appeared on a Prefab Four album.
  • The group’s music supervisor said each of the songs sounded like hits.
  • The tracks appeared on a popular album.
The Monkees' Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, and Peter Tork standing
The Monkees’ Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, and Peter Tork | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Two musicians wrote many of The Monkees‘ songs that appeared on their debut album: The Monkees. The group’s music supervisor expected three songs from the album to be hits. Subsequently, none of them became singles.

2 songwriters felt ready to impress The Monkees’ supervisor

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart formed the songwriting duo Boyce & Hart. Together, they wrote Prefab Four songs such as “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Valleri,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.” In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart discussed meeting the group’s supervisor, Don Kirshner.

“When Donnie walked into Rainbow Studios on the corner of Yucca and Vine Street the next day, we were ready for him,” Hart recalled. “Our hot new recording band was primed and standing by: Gerry McGee and the Cajuns (now the Candy Store Prophets) plus two guitarist additions we had met over the past year of making demos, Louie Shelton and Wayne Erwin.”

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Don Kirshner was ‘blown away’ by 3 of The Monkees’ songs

Boyce & Hart had their band play some of their songs for Kirshner. “We counted off and they unleashed our fresh arrangements of ‘This Doesn’t Seem to Be My Day,’ ‘Let’s Dance On,’ and the ‘(Theme From) The Monkees,'” Hart wrote. “Right from the first chord, Kirshner was blown away from the songs, the arrangements, and the sounds that filled the room.”

Kirshner had strong reactions to the tracks. “‘These sound like hits!’ he said, ‘Go ahead and book the studio, guys. You’re going to be producing The Monkees!'” Hart wrote.

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How the songs and their parent album performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“This Doesn’t Seem to Be My Day,” “Let’s Dance On,” and “(Theme From) The Monkees” were never singles in the United States, so they didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100. All three songs appeared on the album The Monkees. The album topped the Billboard 200 for 13 weeks. It stayed on the chart for 102 weeks in total.

“This Doesn’t Seem to Be My Day,” “Let’s Dance On,” and “(Theme From) The Monkees” were not singles in the United Kingdom, so The Official Charts Company reports they didn’t chart there. Meanwhile, the band’s self-titled album became a hit in the U.K. There, the album was No. 1 for seven weeks, staying on the chart for 37 weeks altogether.

The Prefab Four’s first album was a hit — even if some of the tracks from it were not.

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