By David M. Beard
Perhaps one of the most evolutionary soundtrack/rock albums of its time, The Monkees’ “Head” – released December 1, 1968 – shunned all previously embraced TV series bubblegum sensibilities with shades of social commentary and tongue-in-cheek deprecation. Fueled by the film’s staggered storyline – scripted by Bob Rafelson and Jack Nicholson with input from Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones – “Head” starred The Monkees in over six different settings and environments. The bond that kept it all together was their music.
Tork had begun to show his merit beyond the pre-premised value of Monkeed-dom during the Headquarters sessions in 1967, and furthered his vernacular during the sessions of The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees where his contributions originated. Next to Nesmith’s vamping “Circle Sky,” Peter’s “Can You Dig It” and “Do I Have To Do This All Over Again” are tracks that illuminate the “Head” listening experience and virtually bring the actual film to life in their accompanying footage. As defining as Tork’s contributions are, the touchstone recordings remain the ethereal “Porpoise Song,” a Gerry Goffin/Carole King offering, and “As We Go Along;” the latter written by Carole King/Toni Stern.
As with Rhino Handmade’s “The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees,” “Head” is a quintessential three-disc box set that comes encased in the original Mylar concept art (so you can see your “head/face” when looking at the album cover). The set retails for $59.98, includes 20 previously unreleased tracks, outtakes and rarities; a live set from the Valley Music Hall in Salt Lake City, UT, a rare radio 1968 interview with Davy Jones and a collectible bonus 7” of the instrumental versions of “Porpoise Song” and “As We Go Along.”
Available exclusively at Rhino Handmade