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Headquarters - Sessions

We all know the story.

From their pre-fab inception THE MONKEES albums were the brainchild of the marketing division of the television arm of a motion picture studio.  And at the head of this arm was the foot of Don Kirshner.

THE MONKEES started out being Actors playing the parts of Musicians singing songs written by – and selected for them – by Others.  They supplied the singing voices to music which was always performed by Others.  That some of The Actors playing THE MONKEES were, in fact, already Actual Musicians In Real Life was merely amusingly anecdotal to The Machine which churned out their New Episode Every Week.

In 1967 this changed.  After a series of creative tug-of-wars, Mr. Kirshner was relieved of his responsibilities for the creation of MONKEES’ music and Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz were – for the first time ever – given creative control over the making of a MONKEES album.  They were now in reality just as they had always been on the small screen: A Working Band.

And the album they were about to create was, of course, ‘Headquarters’.

Longtime MONKEES Archivists/Experts Andrew Sandoval and Bill Inglot have searched through all of the known surviving ‘Headquarters’ session reels – both complete and intermediate mixes – to assemble a strikingly cohesive peek into THE MONKEES inner workings as a finally unencumbered creative entity and at the Actual – if sometimes still yet learning – Musicians that they then were.

To this end, this ‘Headquarters Sessions’ box set includes only recordings from those sessions where the band had the requisite control over all aspects of the recording process and, as a result, where they played most, if not all, of the instruments.  Not knowing how fruitful these sessions would be, Screen Gems covered themselves by having Jeff Barry, who produced their most recent hit, “I’m A Believer”, produce an album’s worth of tracks in New York using session musicians.  These New York recordings were never intended to be included on ‘Headquarters’ and the only track to have come out at the time was THE MONKEES third single, “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”, which was released three months prior to the ‘Headquarters’ album.

You may notice, as you read through Mr. Sandoval’s comprehensive ‘Daily/Nightly’ chronology, many Song Titles which are listed as having been recorded – or at least were attempted to be recorded – during the time period which encompasses these ‘Headquarters’ sessions but which are not included in this collection.  There are a number of reasons for this.  The first of these is that the tapes do not survive or have not yet been located in any Archive.  The second is that the tapes survive but fall outside of the musical bookends of this package in that they do not represent sessions where THE MONKEES were in creative control or where they were playing most, if not all, of the instruments.

The original ‘Headquarters’ album was released on 20 May 1967.  Which is, by the way, just exactly about 33 1/3 Revolutions Of The Earth Around The Sun ago.

The Archivists at The Rhino Handmade Institute Of Petromusicology invite you to put on your headphones – or turn up you speakers – and put yourself smack dab in the middle of RCA Studio C in Hollywood in the first few months of 1967 and enjoy the making of ‘Headquarters’ as only THE MONKEES, their producer and their engineers had heretofore ever been able to do.

Roland Worthington Hand
Curator, The Rhino Handmade Institute Of Petromusicology

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