This week marks the passing of Davy Jones, one of the four original Monkees, the first “boy band”, “the pre-fab four”. Today’s runner is their 3rd album Headquarters which was a turning point in the group’s evolution. It was the first record in which all four members of the band Peter, Micky, Davy and Mike write, play and actually have a say in the creative and production of the album.
Headquarters was released in 1967 just in time for the Summer of Love. The Monkees brand had become a cultural phenomenon prior to its release and even though the record does not break any new ground in terms of musical style or muscle, it is tight, well written and produced. It holds up nicely as a document to the sound and styles that were popular at the time. Echos of Beatles a la Revolver and Sgt. Pepper, the Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, even the harmonies of folk legends like The Kingston Trio are present here.
The music on Headquarters is strong and blends together well. The album does not produce any super hits like prior Monkee records; the stand out song here is the Torkelson penned For Pete’s Sake, which sums up the mood and spirit of the time and of a generation striving for love, freedom and peace. I sometimes wonder what has happened to that generation. Where they are today, during these equally challenging times.
The Monkees were not musical innovators like their counterparts, the Beatles, but they were pioneers of pop and culture, and they delivered some really fun, entertaining and memorable music along the way. Headquarters is a testament to that.
RIP Davy Jones. And, “cheer up, Sleepy Jean…”