The Monkees are throwing a Christmas Party, and you're invited! On October 12, the group's first-ever Christmas album will be released via Rhino on CD, digital download, and streaming. Following in the acclaimed footsteps of 2016's Good Times!, Christmas Party will feature production by Adam Schlesinger, new vocals by Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, and classic vocals from the late Davy Jones.
On this festive set, The Monkees bring their distinctive sound to yuletide standards by Paul McCartney ("Wonderful Christmastime"), Roy Wood and Wizzard ("I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day"), and Big Star ("Jesus Christ"). They also take on the R&B standard "Merry Christmas Baby" popularized by Charles Brown. Additionally, new songs have been penned for The Monkees by Rivers Cuomo of Weezer ("What Would Santa Do"), Andy Partridge of XTC ("Unwrap You at Christmas"), and Adam Schlesinger and author Michael Chabon ("House of Broken Gingerbread"). Guitarists Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 play on two songs: the cover of "Jesus Christ" and the album's new title track, which they wrote together.
Original leads by Davy Jones on the evergreens "Silver Bells" and "Mele Kalikimaka" (likely recorded for his album Christmas Jones) have been melded with all-new instrumental tracks. Michael Nesmith, currently on tour with his First National Band Redux, also takes the lead on two vintage tracks. His rendition of "The Christmas Song" was produced by his son Christian Nesmith, while "Snowfall" was helmed by his son Jonathan Nesmith.
This once-in-a-lifetime Christmas Party arrives from Rhino on October 12 under a special cover by renowned comic book artist Michael Allred (Madman, Silver Surfer)! You'll find pre-order links below! Also note that Target will offer an exclusive CD edition on October 19 featuring two bonus tracks: Monkees favorites "Riu Chiu" and "Christmas Is My Time of Year."
The Monkees, Christmas Party (Rhino, 2018) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Link TBD)
- "Unwrap You At Christmas"
- "What Would Santa Do"
- "Mele Kalikimaka"
- "House Of Broken Gingerbread"
- "The Christmas Song"
- "Christmas Party"
- "Jesus Christ"
- "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day"
- "Silver Bells"
- "Wonderful Christmastime"
- "Angels We Have Heard On High"
- "Merry Christmas, Baby"
If it's anything like Good Times from two years ago (many of the contributors to that set are part of this Christmas album), this will be the start of a great and wonderful Christmas season. Looking forward to this, and very surprised too that it's happening.
It sounds like they are taking an approach similar to Good Times! — which can only be a good thing — but a Xmas album just doesn’t excite me in the slightest.
I really hope the involvement of people like Buck, Partridge, Schlessenger, etc., means there’s plans for a true (non-holiday) follow up to Good Times!
There’s been rumors for a couple of years now that Difford & Tillbrook (from Squeeze) have written a song or two for The Monkees also. So I hope Micky, Mike & Peter are all in good health and spirits, and want to do another album. Maybe Mike has a song or two contribute? Could Carole King get invovled? Elvis Costello’s a lifelong fan. Michael Stipe too. All kinds of possibilities!
TERRY HROVAT says
How could they release a Christmas album and not include Riu Chiu! It's one of the best examples of how good they were at harmony singing plus it's better than rehashing another done to death xmas standard.
Sounds interesting - not familiar with the Good Times release - but I'll be sure sample this. Seems like it's something I'd dig...
If you don’t know Good Times! you need to pick that up. Hands down, my favorite album of 2016, and also (no lie) one of the very best things The Monkees have ever done. In fact, other than Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd, and the Head soundtrack I think it’s THE best thing they’ve done.
It’s a 60s album made in the 21st century, and it’s a gem. It’ll wash the bad taste of those 80s/90 reunion albums away. I am not interested in a Xmas album by The Monkees — or anyone else — but if you’re intrigued by this Xmas album then you will be very pleased (and maybe a bit surprised) by Good Times!
top cat james says
Where's "Riu Chiu" from their Christmas episode?
Joe Marchese says
Micky Dolenz has just announced on Twitter that a Target-exclusive CD of “Christmas Party” will be released on October 19 with “Riu Chiu” and “Christmas Is My Time of Year” as bonus tracks. We will amend the above article to reflect this!
Woo Hoo! Target here I come!
Rich D says
One of the Monkees' Facebook groups posted a podcast where Andrew Sandoval was interviewed about the upcoming Christmas album.
Evidently this was supposed to have come out last Christmas - there was an entirely different track listing - but time ran out to do anything. So it was addressed again earlier this year -- MIke's tracks were actually recently recorded - right after he had his heart surgery.
Another interesting tidbit is that only one Monkee appears on each track - Mike only on his, Micky only on his, etc. Due to time constraints it had to be this way.
One correction, Joe: You have “Unwrap You At Christmas” credited to both Partridge and to Chabon/Schlesinger. The latter pair are contributing “Broken House of Gingerbread,” I believe.
While I’m really not interested in a Monkees holiday album, I respect that they’ve got several new songs, with some really great talent pitching in. Some of those could be fun. Likewise, a few of the covers are interesting, unusual choices. Again, not my thing, really, but they could be cool.
But then, the world does NOT need new versions of “Merry Christmas, Baby” or “Wonderful Christmastime” (The former is a good song but overdone, the latter being one of the worst songs ever written. Sorry, Paul). Same for “Silver Bells.” Who needs that?