Sunday, March 31, 2019

Tonight On THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO



Back on the air! Back on the web! Back in the saddle again, though we probably won't play anything by Aerosmith. Unless we do; you never know with us. WE never know with us. So let's add new music from Eric Barao, Kenny (with Anton Barbeau), and Terry Draper to last week's deferred promises of new Eytan MirskyLannie FlowersPopdudesThe Jellybricks, The Ex-Teens, and The Beatpunkers, plus TIRnRR debuts by The Somethings and Intensive Care. Hell, we even throw in a '70s track by The Hollies that we've never played before, and we'll reprise some established Fave Raves from our little Play-Tone Galaxy Of Stars, a galaxy that certainly includes The English Beat. We're back. BACK, I say! Sunday night, 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ-LP 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the internets at http://sparksyracuse.org/

Saturday, March 30, 2019

iPad Comics



I started accumulating digital comic book files somewhere around 2010-2011, I think, maybe a little before that, couldn't have been much after that. Downloadable digital comic books were in plentiful supply around the web until copyright concerns (rightly) shut a lot of those unauthorized sites down for good. Though I admit to taking advantage of such resources when they were available, I made a personal point of never grabbing anything that was regularly or readily available at retail--absolutely no then-current comics, no book collections--and concentrating solely on stuff I couldn't get at my comics shop. 

For me, digital comics are a convenience, but generally not my preferred method of reading comics. Frankly, I'm just not all that interested in reading on a device; I'd much rather hold a book in my hands and turn its pages. I don't do ebooks, either. I've purchased maybe two or three digital comics that were otherwise out of print, and I get most of my comics fix when I buy my weekly stack at Comix Zone in North Syracuse every Wednesday, supplemented by the occasional trade collection. 



Nonetheless, I do also love my digital comics. I have something like three thousand of them stored on my computer; I've shed a few I no longer want, lost a few others along the way, and I continue to add more from public domain comics resources like Comic Book Plus, Digital Comics Museum, and Archive.org. Any time I want to read a vintage adventure of the original Captain Marvel or the 1960s Charlton Comics Action-Heroes, it's all just a click away.





I started stockpiling these things before I owned an iPad, but the goal was always to put 'em on that portable device. If one was going to read digital comics, the iPad seemed the perfect size to accommodate that wish. When I went to Spain in 2012, I took along the iPad with the idea of reading digital comics during down time. Instead, I wound up reading a hardcover mystery novel by Max Allan Collins and a hardcover bio of Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim. Captain Marvel may as well have just stayed home.




We have a new iPad now, and I'm revisiting the idea of reading comics on our trusty older device. I've taken most everything else off that iPad, and loaded about 1000 comic books on it. It came in handy while waiting for a car repair this week, as I sat in the dealer's waiting room and immersed myself in the first twelve issues of Marvel's The Avengers from the '60s. It was fun, and I think I'm going to re-read the run from that point forward until the mid '70s; if I do, The Avengers will be the subject of an upcoming edition(s) of Comic Book Retroview.



These are the comics titles I've chosen to store (in varying amounts) on my iPad for now: 80 Page GiantAction ComicsAdventure ComicsThe Adventures Of Bob HopeThe Adventures Of Jerry LewisAir Fighters Comics, All-Flash Quarterly, some DC dollar tabloids, All Select Comics, All Winners Comics, All-American Comics, All-American Western, All-Star Comics, America's Greatest Comics, Aquaman, The Avengers, Batman, Big Shot Comics, Black Cat Comics, Blonde Phantom, Blue Beetle, Blue Ribbon Comics, Bomba The Jungle Boy, Boy Commandos, The Brave And The Bold, Bulletman, Buz Sawyer, Captain Action, Captain America Comics, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Adventures (etc.), Charlton Premiere, Charlton Wild Frontier, Comic Cavalcade, Crack Comics, Crime Smasher, Danger And Adventure, Daredevil Battles Hitler, DC 100-Page Super Spectacular, DC Special, The Destructor, Detective Comics, Dick TracyDoc Savage, Doctor Strange, Doll Man Quarterly, Ellery Queen, Fatman, Flash Comics, The Flintstones At The New York World's Fair, Funnyman, Ghost Comics, Gold Key Spotlight, The Green HornetGreen Lantern, Hands Of The Dragon, Hoppy The Marvel BunnyHot Wheels, I Am Coyote, Ibis The Invincible, Inferior Five, Iron Man And Sub-Mariner, Jezebel Jade, Jonny Quest, Jumbo Comics, Justice Inc., Justice League Of America, Kid Eternity, Lady LuckLars Of Mars, Leading Comics, The Lone Ranger, Man In BlackMan O' Mars, Mary Marvel, Marvel BoyMarvel Family, Marvel Feature, Marvel Mystery Comics, Marvel Super-Heroes, Master Comics, Metal Men, Mighty Comics, Military Comics, Minute Man, My Greatest Adventure, Mysterious Suspense, Not Brand Echh, Pep Comics, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt,The Phantom, Phantom Lady, The Phoenix, Planet ComicsPlastic Man, Police ComicsRima The Jungle Girl, ROG-2000, The Sandman, Scorpio Rose, The Scorpion, Scribbly, Secret Origins, The Secret Six, Sensation Comics, The Shadow, Shazam!, Sheena, Shock SuspenStoriesShowcase, Silver Surfer, Smash Comics, The Spectre, The Spirit, Spy Smasher, Stanley And His Monster, Star Spangled Comics, Steve Canyon, Sub-Mariner, Dell's Super Heroes, Superboy, Supergirl, Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane, Supersnipe, Sword Of Sorcery, Tales From The CryptTarzan, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Tiger-Man, Top-Notch Comics, USA Comics, Vampirella, Whiz Comics, World's Finest Comics, Wow ComicsZip Comics, and Zorro. There's room for more, and I will probably add and also trade out more titles and more individual issues.




For all that, it remains to be seen how much I'll actually read my iPad comics. I don't intend to have any more extended stays at the auto service center, and I'm way behind on catching up with my towering stacks--plural!--of current comics (a subject for another post). But I like having these available when I want them. And you know, while still waiting for my car, I stopped my reading (prematurely) when I thought the car was almost ready. I should pick up The Avengers from where I left off: Avengers # 13, "The Castle Of Count Nefaria!," the first issue of The Avengers I ever read as a kid. I have it in my hardcover Marvel Masterworks, and my softcover Marvel Essentials. My much-loved, much-read original comic book is long, long gone. But it's on my iPad. And it's waiting for me, whenever I want to read it again. iPad Comics ASSEMBLE!





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Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. A digital download version (minus The Smithereens' track) is also available from Futureman Records.

Friday, March 29, 2019

GUILT-FREE PLEASURES (A Defense Against The Dark Arts): Milli Vanilli

There is really no such thing as a guilty pleasure in pop music. Unless you happen to love neo-Nazi ditties or glorifications of hatred or violence, I'd say it's okay for you to dig whatever you wanna dig. Yes, even the hits of The Eagles. Why? BECAUSE THEY'RE POP SONGS! Guilt-Free Pleasures (A Defense Against The Dark Arts) celebrates pop songs. The guilty need not apply.


MILLI VANILLI

First off, I have to say I'm not a fan. It's not a matter of guilty pleasures or anything of comparable silliness; I just never cared about Milli Vanilli's music. And that's okay; just as there's no reason for guilt with music you like, there's no reason for guilt with music you don't like.

But Milli Vanilla were huge, immensely popular. They must have had fans, a lot of fans. But no one admits it anymore. Milli Vanilli has been expunged from the records, stricken from the collective consciousness, the pop music equivalent of being declared a non-person by the Soviets during the Cold War. Milli Vanilli's former fans are kinda like Peter denying Jesus three times before the rooster crows. Milli Vanilli? I do not know them!




We all know the reason for this after-the-fact scrubbing of Milli Vanilli fandom: Milli Vanilli were frauds who had nothing whatsoever to do with the records released under their brand name. It's not the same as The Monkees (even before the fabricated group became an actual band and played actual live concerts, the lead vocals on all of their records were sung by one or another member of The Monkees), nor obviously fictitious combos like The Archies, The Partridge Family, or Judas Priest. Okay, just kidding on that last one. No, Milli Vanilli frontmen Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus were sold to the public under false pretenses, marketed as a duo of dancing, singing pretty boys when, in fact, they were dancing, lip-syncing-to-someone-else's-vocals pretty boys. Milli Vanilla's sins were not unique, nor even wholly their own fault; the bulk of the blame should go to the puppeteers who pulled their strings and concocted the facade that sold a jillion records and made a bazillion dollars. But Milli Vanilli got caught, and Rob and Fab were the ones who paid the price for this chicanery. The price was steep: they were disgraced; they had to relinquish the Grammy they'd won as 1990's Best New Artist; attempts at a comeback, with Rob and Fab actually singing, fell far short of their previous success; Pilatus' personal issues consumed him, and he died from a drug and alcohol overdose in 1990. Pilatus' death was ruled accidental.

The callous machinations and eventual tragedy behind the music overshadow Milli Vanilli's recorded legacy. I'm not a fan, so I'm not the one to speak on their behalf. But the question remains: if some people liked or loved Milli Vanilli's records, why wouldn't they still like them now? The records didn't change with the revelations of the men behind the curtain. The records sound the same. They are the same. Fans, you know it's true. 



I guess that's the nature of context in our pop obsessions. Our favorite records don't exist in a vacuum. No disc is an island. We hear the songs, and we think of things we relate to that song. We can't help it, and maybe we shouldn't.

Which brings us to Michael Jackson.



I haven't seen the recent HBO documentary detailing the allegation that Jackson was a serial child molester, a predator who got away with committing an awful, awful crime, and got away with it because he was a superstar, above the law, untouchable. I have no intention of investigating the evidence for or against him, so I can't render a verdict, even a blogger's verdict. When the accusations first surfaced decades ago, my reaction was to believe they were true, and I still suspect they are true. But I can't say how much my opinion was and is affected by Jackson's prevailing oddities. It's not a crime to be weird; let your freak flag fly.

It is a crime to hurt people. It is a crime to hurt kids.

What if Jackson was innocent? But worse: what if was guilty? If the former case, a beloved pop star's reputation has been sullied by accusations he denied when he was alive, accusations he can no longer answer in death. If the latter...that's just horrible. Horrible. All those kids, all that heartbreak and torment, and no one helped them. No one stopped the monster that was Michael Jackson...if he was indeed the monster these charges describe.



I liked some of Michael Jackson's music. Many of his records with The Jackson Five are classic AM radio gems, and I enjoyed some of his early solo work (I lose interest entirely after Thriller). I'm not sure whether or not I want to listen to any of them again. Maybe. Probably? Maybe not. Context matters. I used to love Gary Glitter, another serial predator, but I haven't mustered any enthusiasm to spin a Glitter track in many years. 

Some say we should separate the art from the artist, and I agree. Except when we can't. Phil Spector's a murderer, Ike Turner was abusive, John Lennon was an asshole (though I believe he repented and tried to become a better person than he had been), yet I still listen to them; I can't even conceive of a circumstance where I would swear off listening to The Beatles. Lennon's transgressions were minor compared to those of Spector, Turner, Glitter, and allegedly Jackson. Sometimes I can disconnect the record from the misdeeds of its creators; sometimes I cannot.



I suspect I'll return to listening to some of the J5's stuff eventually, particularly "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There." Unless I don't. Art [...] artist, unless context overcomes the separation. I've never really listened to Milli Vanilli, and I'm not going to start now. But if you were a fan of Milli Vanilli, consider giving them a fresh spin. Maybe you'll like 'em again. In the big picture, Milli Vanilli's crimes were pretty inconsequential. Blame it on the rain.



VERDICT: Deferred

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You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. A digital download version (minus The Smithereens' track) is also available from Futureman Records.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

It's All About Me


While it's certainly possible that the short story I sold recently will wind up being the only short story I ever sell, I still had to come up with a bio to go with it. Hope I get to use it more than once.

Carl Cafarelli's three all-time favorite pop groups are The Beatles, The Ramones, and The Flashcubes. So there. He is the co-host (with Dana Bonn) of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, The Best Three Hours Of Radio On The Whole Friggin' Planet, Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern at WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM in Syracuse, and on the web at sparksyracuse.org. His daily blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) at www.carlcafarelli.blogspot.com covers pop music, comic books, and whatever glittery thing attracts his attention. A daily blog. That boy ain't right in the head. Carl has written for Goldmine, The Syracuse New Times, DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, Comics Collector, The Comics Buyers' Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, The Buffalo News, Rhino Records, Big StirBubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Lost In The Grooves, Shake Some ActionMusicHound Rock, REET, and--yay!--AHOY Comics. He is currently working slowly on his first book, The Greatest Record Ever Made. He still wants to write for The Monkees, and to take a ride in the damned Batmobile.

Awright. Back to writin'.

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You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe FlashcubesChris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. A digital download version (minus The Smithereens' track) is also available from Futureman Records.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Fake THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO Playlist: The Workday Commute, Driven By iPod

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl is simply too large a concept to be neatly contained within a mere three-hour weekly time slot. Hence these occasional fake TIRnRR playlists, detailing shows we're never really going to do...but could.



Very often on the real-life This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, I will play a track a declare it was because my iPod said so. The random nature of iPod shuffle play frequently offers me a track I may not have heard or thought of in a bit, and that sometimes inspires me to pull the track for inclusion on the following Sunday night's show.

My friend Dave Murray has suggested doing a whole show (or at least my half of a whole show) like that, letting fate dictate the playlist like a music-player lottery. I don't want to do that, because I'm unwilling to relinquish control to that extent, and because it would compromise my vision of what the show should be. We can appear to be random, sure, but it's not what we really are.

But it's a perfectly fine idea for another fake TIRnRR playlist. This imaginary show presents sets made out of the tracks my iPod gave me for some recent morning and evening commutes. It's actually a little too long to be a real-life TIRnRR, but I nonetheless preserved the complete commute playlists as individual sets. The result's pretty good for random. Awright, then! Time to hit the road with fake TIRnRR, driven by iPod.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl--y'know, the real one--plays Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse on The Spark WSPJ-LP 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/

Spark Syracuse is supported by listeners like you. Tax-deductible donations are welcome at http://sparksyracuse.org/support/


You can follow Carl's daily blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) at 

https://carlcafarelli.blogspot.com/

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe FlashcubesChris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it at https://tinyurl.com/ycnly8oz Digital download version (minus The Smithereens' track) now available at 
https://tinyurl.com/ycauy9xt

Fake TIRnRR Playlist: The Workday Commute, Driven By iPod

THE OHMS: Chain Letter
PINK FLOYD: Wish You Were Here
THE DEAD KENNEDYS: MTV--Get Off The Air
THE JAM: Saturday's Kids
THE BUZZCOCKS: Fast Cars
THE MOSQUITOS: You Don't Give A Hang About Me
THE GO-GO'S: The Whole World Lost Its Head
--
SPARKS: Beat The Clock
THE GRASS ROOTS: Things I Should Have Said
THE GO-GO'S: Surfing And Spying
THE POINTED STICKS: Apologies
THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: God Save Rock And Roll
SAM PHILLIPS: Holding On To The Earth
SLADE: Cum On Feel The Noize
--
GREER: All I Need
THE SUPREMES: You Can't Hurry Love
THE KINKS: Juke Box Music
NEIL DIAMOND: You Got To Me
DAVID WERNER: Too Late To Try
THE AD LIBS: The Boy From New York City
HAWAII MUD BOMBERS: One Of The Brave
--
RICKY NELSON: Hello Mary Lou
ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding
JOHN LENNON: Instant Karma!
N/A: The F-Troop [TV theme song]
1.4.5.: Right Now
THE MONKEES: As We Go Along
CHEAP TRICK: Baby Loves To Rock
--
PAUL COLLINS: The Kings Of Power Pop 
THE GRACES: Lay Down Your Arms
THE RUNAWAYS: C'mon
BUCK OWENS & HIS BUCKAROOS: Tall Dark Stranger
COLOR ME GONE: Lose Control
SCRUFFY THE CAT: mybabyshe'sallright
GEORGE HARRISON: Crackerbox Palace
--
ELVIS COSTELLO: Alison
TOMMY BOYCE & BOBBY HART: Smilin'
RICK NELSON: Garden Party
THE OXFORDS: Help Me
THE VOGUES: Lovers Of The World Unite
SUZI QUATRO: Tear Me Apart
THE TONY JACKSON GROUP: Fortune Teller
THE JAM: Strange Town
THE CASTAWAYS: Liar, Liar
--
SAM & THE TWISTERS: Fooba Wooba John
THE BEACH BOYS: Good Vibrations
THE DEAD BOYS: Sonic Reducer
THE MONKEES: The Girl I Knew Somewhere
THE FORTY NINETEENS: Disguise
TEARS FOR FEARS: Call Me Mellow
THE RAMONES: Blitzkrieg Bop
--
BUDDY HOLLY: Well..All Right
JASON & THE SCORCHERS: Absolutely Sweet Marie
FLORAPOP: Who Can Really Know?
ADDISON LOVE: Anything's Right
THE JAM: All Around The World
PERNILLA ANDERSSON: Alright
RADIO BIRDMAN: Aloha Steve & Danno

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

45s ARE GO! (Singles That Should Have Been): "For Pete's Sake"/"You Just May Be The One"

For every record-biz weasel who whines that he doesn't hear a single, there are legions of fans who hear one just fine, thanks. 45s Are GO! celebrates the singles that never were, but should have been.




THE MONKEES: "For Pete's Sake"/"You Just May Be The One"
Colgems, 1967; LP tracks from the album Headquarters

What were they thinking?

In 1967, The Monkees were arguably the hottest rockin' pop combo in the world. Regardless of whether or not we believe the (disputed) claim that the group's record sales in '67 were greater than the combined totals of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, there's no denying that The Monkees were, at the very least, one of the most popular recording acts around. By '67, the made-for-TV group--Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork--had succeeded in securing some small level of autonomy regarding the records that bore their brand name. After two blockbuster Monkees albums concocted as sweet-sounding puppets to the music and entertainment machine, The Monkees' third album Headquarters would feature the band as players, co-pilots of this new flight into the fancy of pop rock '67. Nesmith found a sympathetic producer in former Turtles bassist Douglas Farthing Hatelid (aka Chip Douglas), and the resulting album hit # 1 in Billboard



It stayed there for one whole week. Once The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play, The Monkees were relegated to the # 2 spot for the remainder of the burgeoning summer of love. It's not likely that anything--anything--could have been more popular, more omnipresent, than the counter-cultural flashpoint that was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Sgt. Pepper was only the second rock album ever to reach # 1 without the benefit of a hit single.

Headquarters, of course, was the first.

What were they thinking?

I'm not saying that a big radio hit from Headquarters would have buoyed the album above Pepper; again, really, nothing in the summer of '67 was going to compete with that Splendid Time Guaranteed For All. But the decision to not issue a U.S. single off Headquarters still seems puzzling, maddening, more than five decades after the fact. 

Looking back, there are a few factors to consider, I guess. The Monkees were, as noted above, in transition in '67, transforming themselves from cogs in a pop machinery into more active participants in that machinery. It's possible that the suits running Colgems Records lacked confidence in the hitmaking ability of Monkees Mark II. It's also possible that the label was worried about overexposure, taking care not to milk its cash cow to a premature demise (as we'll discuss below). And it's also possible that the folks in charge of such things heard the tracks on Headquarters, and did not hear any potential hits. If the latter, then again: what were they thinking...?!



Even without 45 rpm validation, some Headquarters material eventually received exposure on the group's TV show. "For Pete's Sake," co-written by Tork with Joseph Richards, became the show's closing theme in its second season, an abbreviated version playing over the credits at the end of each episode. An earlier version of Nesmith's "You Just May be The One" (sometimes referred to as "You May Just Be The One") had appeared in some individual first-season episodes. "Randy Scouse Git," "No Time," and "Sunny Girlfriend" were also used during the show's second season. However, by the time the second season commenced in September of '67, the more than three-months old Headquarters LP was practically a golden oldie. (On the other hand, a number of Headquarters tracks were edited into summer reruns of the first season's shows, giving them at least a little bit of contemporaneous airplay push.)

Meanwhile, as "Randy Scouse Git" became a # 2 single in England (under the less-rude name "Alternate Title"), The Monkees went from the March '67 release of "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"/"The Girl I Knew Somewhere" to the July '67 release of "Pleasant Valley Sunday"/"Words" without a new 45 for the American singles market. From our smug 21st century vantage point, a mere four months elapsed between 45s seems like a flash of nothing; in the fast-paced pop world of 1967, it meant that Headquarters went entirely unrepresented in the American Top 40.



To be fair, we have to concede that Colgems never succumbed to the temptation to strip mine The Monkees' albums for singles; there had been just one 45 release ("Last Train To Clarksville"/"Take A Giant Step") off the eponymous debut LP, just one ("I'm A Believer"/"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone") off the monster-selling More Of The Monkees, and then the non-LP "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"/"The Girl I Knew Somewhere." All of this--three albums, four singles (including "Pleasant Valley Sunday")--hit radio and retail in the space of less than a year. No time, baby. While that's a lot of product in a short span, it nonetheless shows a remarkable level of restraint at Colgems, given how hot The Monkees were in '66 and '67. 

There certainly should have been a single taken from Headquarters. The album had some potential hit fodder, from the raucous workout "No Time" to the wistful "Shades Of Gray" to Nesmith's "Sunny Girlfriend." I do not think any of those would have been an optimal choice, nor do I believe a single of "Randy Scouse Git" would have duplicated the track's British success. 

But a double A-side of "For Pete's Sake"/"You Just May Be The One" would have been among the best singles of 1967. The peace-and-love vibe of "For Pete's Sake" is perfectly emblematic of its day without seeming dated or trite, a still-compelling reminder that we were born to love one another, in this generation, in this loving time. "You Just May Be The One" is my favorite Headquarters track, a straightforward, country-tinged pop tune that belies Nesmith's protest that he wasn't suited to writing straightforward pop tunes. All four Monkees play on both tracks: "For Pete's Sake" features Tork on guitar, Nesmith on organ, Dolenz on drums, Jones on tambourine, Chip Douglas on bass, and Micky singing lead with backing vocals by Micky, Davy, and Peter; other than some backing vocals by Douglas (with Micky, Davy, and Peter), "You Just May Be The One" is only The Monkees, unaided, the four guys from the beach house singin' and playin' like the real band they'd somehow become.



The release of this or any single off Headquarters would not have had much effect on the real-world trajectory of The Monkees' career. Their next album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. was released in November of '67, just a little over a year after the world heard The Monkees for the first time. Pisces was their fourth and final # 1 album; 1968's The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees would peak at # 3, and The Monkees would never again crash the top 10 of the Billboard album chart. "Daydream Believer" (# 1) and "Valleri" (# 3) would be their last two Top 10 singles. As the TV show ended and their popularity ebbed and faded by late '68, the imaginary gravitas of one extra pop hit 45 back in the summer of '67 wouldn't have mattered in the long run. 

Woulda been nice, though. "For Pete's Sake" ultimately achieved some level of pop recognition and immortality simply because so many folks wound up hearing it in the ubiquitous reruns of the TV show. Although the song had only been the show's closing theme during its second and final season, it wound up being edited into the commonly-seen episodes of the first season as they aired in reruns on Saturday morning and in syndication in the '70s and beyond. In a way, it actually is the hit it should have been, a well-known and well-loved part of The Monkees' canon. "You Just Me Be The One," however, is frequently omitted from compact collections of The Monkees' best. That should not be.

We know The Monkees' legacy survived the downturn and downfall of fortunes it suffered in 1968. I still wish the original run of success had lasted longer (and that their brilliant '68 movie Head and its magnificent soundtrack had found an audience at the time of their release). And I still wish there had been more, starting with the obvious notion of releasing a freakin' 1967 single off a # 1 album by one of the most popular recording acts in the land. What were they thinking? Love is understanding. You know that this is true. "For Pete's Sake"/"You Just May Be The One" is a single that should have been. That's what I'm thinkin', anyway.


You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe FlashcubesChris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. A digital download version (minus The Smithereens' track) is also available from Futureman Records.