The Monkees turn 50 this year – and the celebration is just getting bigger and bigger! Rhino has already released two titles in conjunction with the label’s Start Your Ear Off Right campaign, The Classic Album Collection and The Cereal Box Singles (watch this space for reviews soon!), and the eagerly-awaited Blu-ray box set of the classic television show is due on April 29. Today, Rhino and Micky Dolenz took to Rolling Stone to confirm more big news: the first new Monkees album in 20 years. June 10 is the date for Good Times!, produced by Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger.
Dolenz explained the new album’s genesis to Rolling Stone: “There have been some recent personnel changes at Rhino and the incoming personnel were very, very pro and positive about the Monkees. [Rhino executives] John Hughes and Mark Pinkus both said they wanted us to make a new album, and they spelled out the exact kind of album that would go down well with the 50th anniversary and with our fans.”
Good Times! promises to live up to its title with new songs penned for The Monkees by Schlesinger, Noel Gallagher, Rivers Cuomo, Ben Gibbard, Andy Partridge, and Zach Rogue, alongside newly-completed recordings of songs by Neil Diamond, Carole King and the late Harry Nilsson. The album’s title track was written by Nilsson and recorded in 1968 with Mike Nesmith on guitar and Harry providing a guide vocal; that recording has been completed here as a duet between Nilsson and his good friend Dolenz. Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Wasn’t Born to Follow” and Diamond’s “Love to Love” have also been revisited and completed for the Good Times! release. (The backing track of “Wasn’t Born to Follow” and a version of “Love to Love” have been previously released.)
Both Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork are confirmed to sing and play on Good Times!, but Rolling Stone initially reported that there are currently no formal plans for Mike Nesmith to contribute new vocals or instrumentation. (As a songwriter, he will be represented by “I Know What I Know” on the album.) However, Monkees Live Almanac has quoted Rhino’s John Hughes on February 9 that Nesmith will, indeed, be a part of the sessions: “[Producer] Adam (Schlesinger)…is working very closely with all three guys…all three are on the album and full participants…playing on tracks, singing (obviously), contributing songs…it’s really all The Monkees, and that includes Davy.” The late Jones will be heard on Diamond’s “Love to Love,” perhaps with Dolenz contributing new harmonies. Dolenz and Tork will also be taking to the road for The Monkees’ 50th anniversary tour, with U.S. dates lined up from May 18 to October 29, and each ticket purchased on Ticketmaster will include a download of Good Times!.
Watch this space for more details on Good Times!, which is due June 10 from Rhino on CD and July 1 on LP, and all things Monkees!