Peter we hardly knew ye….
Listen -The Monkees – Teardrop City – MP3
I hope all is well on your end and that you’re all ready to weather yet another week.
The tune I bring you today is yet another 45 that emerged from my giant, everlasting, pulsating record stash of a few summers ago, whence my father-in-law brought me down a heap of records, thousands strong, which even today is still giving up the goods (albeit at a much slower rate).
I still have a couple of crates of stuff from that haul down in the basement, and every once in a great while, when I’m moving the wash, emptying the humidifier or hunting the huge, mutant crickets that have moved into the cellar, I stop by those boxes, grab a handful of records and pick a couple of things that look like they merit further investigation.
These days, the amount of records that meet that criteria is getting smaller and smaller. The wife and I made a pretty thorough pass through the initial mountain of vinyl, so the pickings are relatively slim, however, there always seems to be something lurking down there, and today’s selection is one of them.
The Monkees have made a couple of appearances at Iron Leg over the years. I’m a fan, and there are still a couple of LPs by the group that I go back to on a regular basis. When I happened upon a copy of the ‘Tear Drop City’ 45, I thought the song title was familiar but could not recall anything of what it might sound like. As it turns out that was perfectly reasonable because I’d never actually heard the song.
I gave it a spin an really liked it, which sent me out onto the interwebs where I was surprised to discover that this was actually some of that late-period Monkee goodness, so late in fact that it is, how do they say, ‘Tork-less’.
That’s right, Peter Tork had left the band (no doubt to devote his time to beaded buckskin jackets and daisy chains) by the time the ‘Instant Replay’ LP was released in 1969. ‘Tear Drop City’, with its ‘Last Train to Clarksville’-ish guitar riff had actually been recorded the previous year by its authors, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart on their ‘I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight’ LP. The Monkees version is a much rougher take on the tune (though the 45 was arranged by Boyce and Hart) with heavier guitars and a more aggressive pace.
Following ‘Instant Replay’ there was one more Tork-less LP ‘The Monkees Present’ before Mike Nesmith got wise and tore himself loose, leaving Mickey and Davey to slog it out for one more LP as a duo, 1970s ‘Changes’.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back later in the week.