Monkees songs were often written by other artists. For their third album, Headquarter, the Prefab Four decided to take control of their own music. Subsequently, a record executive mistakenly believed that none of the songs on the album would become a hit.
Mike Nesmith fought for the Monkees to have more control over their own music
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote several Monkees songs together as Boyce & Hart. In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees and Turning Mayhem Into MiraclesHart said Mike Nesmith wanted to have more control over the Monkees’ music.
“Then, of course, the bomb fell,” Hart wrote. “[The Monkees’ supervisor Don] Kirshner was out, and the new edict stated that in future, “Only self-produced records by The Monkees would be released”. Nesmith and his cronies had won!
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The Monkees spent many hours in the studio composing the songs for their “Headquarters” album.
Hart explained how the new management of the Prefab Four had impacted Boyce & Hart. “Their self-produced third album, Headquartercontained three Boyce & Hart songs that the boys had re-recorded, but [Boyce & Hart’s] ‘Valleri’ sat on the shelf for over a year and a half,” Hart recalled. “During this time, sometimes together under their incumbent producer, Chip Douglas, and later each working separately, The Monkees recorded hundreds of studio hours.”
The Monkees’ management released singles that were written by others. “Their fourth single, ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ written by Carole King & Gerry Goffin, and fifth, ‘Daydream Believer’ written by John Stewart, broke into the top three,” Hart recalled. “But at the end of 1966, [record executive] lester [Stills] told Tommy and me that he couldn’t find a record in the band that was good enough to release as a single.
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How the album and its songs charted in the US and UK
Headquarter became a hit in the United States. The album topped the Billboard 200 for a week, remaining on the chart for a total of 68 weeks. On the other hand, none of the songs of Headquarter charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Official Charts Company reports that the headquarters became a more modest success in the UK. There the album reached No. 2 and remained on the charts for 19 weeks. One of the songs from Headquarter, “Randy Scouse Git”, became a huge hit there. “Randy Scouse Git” peaked at No. 2 as the “Alternate Track” and remained on the chart for 12 weeks. Notably, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees wrote “Randy Scouse Git”.
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