The rap on the Monkees I remember growing up was that “they didn’t play their own instruments.” While it is often true that seasoned session players provided much of the musical backing behind the Monkees’ vocal tracks, it is inaccurate and unfair to say that the Monkees didn’t bring their own musicianship, songwriting and sense of artistry to bear on their recordings, as evidenced by a song written by Mike Nesmith and embellished with Moog synthesizer lines played by Micky Dolenz – “Daily Nightly” – from 1967‘s Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.:
Along with “Reflections” from the Motown musicians backing Diana Ross’s Supremes (July 1967), “Nightly Daily” is one of those instances where pioneering artists were discovering exciting ways to incorporate Moog synthesizer into more radio-friendly fare.
Dolenz is considered the third person (if you kindly ignore Paul Beaver & Bernie Krause) to purchase a Moog synthesizer behind (1) Walter/Wendy Carlos and (2) Buck [!] Owens. According to the MonkeesSessionography website, Micky Dolenz superimposed his Moog treatments sometime between August/September onto a recording of “Daily Nightly” made at RCA Victor studio in Hollywood on June 19, 1967.
Truth & Accuracy Dept.
- Thanks to Dale Charles, I now know that Micky Dolenz was the 19th (not third) person/corporate entity to have purchased a Moog modular system – check out the customer list at this web link.
- On page 2 of the aforementioned Moog customer list, you can see that Motown purchased a Moog system in December 1967 – after the recording of “Reflections,” however. Thanks to the Bob Moog Foundation’s fun & fascinating list of “Early Recordings Often Mistaken for a Moog,” I now know that the super cool sounds featured on “Reflections” were, instead, produced by an Eico audio oscillator, “with the engineer wailing on the dial.”