“That could have been your face!” Thus ended a tense January 1967 meeting between the Monkees and Don Kirshner as Mike Nesmith punched a hole in the meeting room wall. The source of the frustration was the total control that Kirshner, “The Monkees” television series musical coordinator, exerted over the selection of songs to be recorded as well as the choice of which studio musicians would play on the sessions. The four Monkees, their recording roles limited to vocal contributions, struggled to gain more authority over the process as they were increasingly stung by criticism of them as a mere TV creation, “the Pre-Fab Four.” While they were initially brought together by the series, all four members had musical backgrounds and yearned to gain command over their recordings. Kirshner, with his stable of top-tier songwriters and session players, refused to yield, convinced that any alteration of the winning formula would produce disastrous, or at the very least, diminished returns. Something had to give.
By the following month, Kirshner was dismissed and the group won their battle to be the sole creators of their recorded output. Uh-oh…now what?!? Kirshner had built a multiplatinum machine, using outstanding songs from writers like Neil Diamond, Boyce & Hart and Goffin and King. He had carefully staffed the sessions with the cream of studio musicians, the same people who played on countless other artists’ hit sessions. How were the Monkees going to follow that? Nesmith and Peter Tork were adequate players but their guitar prowess wasn’t keeping Glen Campbell and Tommy Tedesco up at night. Mickey Dolenz, while possessing a distinctive rock voice, was a neophyte drummer still learning his way around the kit. And Davy Jones, who was an impeccably trained vocalist, had little to offer in the way of instrumental skills. How was this fledgling band going to make an album? By all rights, resulting album should have been awful.
However, Headquarters was anything but awful. In fact, it was great! Under the direction of producer (and former Turtles member) Chip Douglas, the group rose to the challenge, quickly crafting an excellent group of songs. Though they still used material from outside writers, many of the album’s selections were self-penned, including Nesmith’s soaring “You Just May Be the One,” Tork’s “For Pete’s Sake,” which became the series’ closing theme in its second season and Dolenz’ “Alternate Title (Randy Scouse Git),” inspired by the group’s recent trip to England where they met The Beatles (“The four kings of EMI are sitting stately on the floor.”) The first song by Dolenz to be released commercially, the single became a top 5 hit in the UK, appropriately. The album itself, released May 22, 1967, debuted at #1. One week later, it was dethroned by cultural juggernaut Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. However, it remained at the #2 position for eleven consecutive weeks. It was quite a vindication for a group of unproven actor-musicians vying for respect from their fans and peers.
This Sundazed reissue has been painstakingly remastered from the original analog master tapes and includes two bonus tracks: “All of Your Toys (previously unissued alternate mix)” and “The Girl I Knew Somewhere (previously unissued alternate version).” Pressed on deep groove, high definition vinyl and packed in a precise recreation of the original album jacket, this album is your Headquarters for timeless pop!
You Told Me
I'll Spend My Life With You
Forget That Girl
You Just May Be The One
Shades of Grey
I Can't Get Her Off My Mind
All of Your Toys (Prev Unreleased Alt mix)
For Pete's Sake
Early Morning Blues and Greens
Randy Scouse Git
The Girl I Knew Somewhere (Prev Unissued alt)