“Love Is Only Sleeping”: 7/4 Time Can Be Catchy

22 Words has a fun piece that identifies 6 prominent pieces of pop propelled by unusual time signatures, the most famous likely being Pink Floyd’s “Money,” whose opening bass line is played in 7/4 time.

I’m always surprised when the topic of The Monkees comes up in conversation, and I get the blank stare from fellow music fanatics at the mention of “Love Is Only Sleeping.”   How can so many people not know that great opening guitar riff?   In 7/4 time, no less:

“Love Is Only Sleeping”     The Monkees     1967

Interesting to see how many YouTube audio clips there are of “Love Is Only Sleeping” as recorded by The Monkees – at least twenty, almost certainly more – but all of them with relatively low viewership numbers (in the hundreds and low thousands).  Clearly, there are still vast stretches of the world’s population that appear to be wholly unfamiliar with this classic Barry Mann-Cynthia Weil composition.

Wikipedia reports that “Love Is Only Sleeping” was only added belatedly to groundbreaking 1967 album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. when the song was pulled as the A-side of a single – its title deemed too risque, purportedly.  “Daydream Believer” ended up as the new A-side, with “Goin’ Down” (ironically) being chosen for the flip side.  Thus, you can try in vain, but Googling the phrase “Love Is Only Sleeping” will yield no images whatsoever of the forbidden 45.  As with Johnny Cash’s “Five Minutes to Live,” we are left with the overwhelming heartbreak of an obvious A-side forever in search of a good home.

news items From Monkees Monthly, UK publication

Monkees UK Press IMonkees UK Press IIIn 1967, Portugal’s citizens, curiously, were blessed to have the opportunity to purchase a 4-song EP with “Love Is Only Sleeping” as the A-side, as it were —

Love Is Only Sleeping EPVarious web sources assert pioneering synthesist, Micky Dolenz, as having played Moog on “Love Is Only Sleeping” – in addition to pop masterpiece, “Daily Nightly” – while iTunes states Mike Nesmith as producer of this once-banned A-side.

“Daily Nightly”: Mickey Dolenz, Moog Pioneer

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.

Monkees 1967 album ad

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.

Micky Moog

      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.”

Charlie Smalls: Guest Music Instructor on The Monkees

Once in the late 90s I picked up a CD anthology of rare funk & soul singles at Midnight Records, just down the street from the Chelsea Hotel.  I purchased disc 1 of a 6-volume series entitled Funkaphonix:  Raw & Uncut Funk 1968-1975.  Amusing to learn that one of the standout tracks, “The Buzzard” by ‘C. Smalls & Co.‘ was released in 1968 on A&M — not the first funk label that comes to mind:

“The Buzzard”     C[harlie] Smalls & Co.     1968

How intriguing to discover later that this same Charlie Smalls once appeared at the end of a Monkees episode called ‘Some Like It Lukewarm’ that was filmed near the end of 1967, with Davy Jones as the eager and attentive student, who learns the musical differences between “white” and “black” soul from instructor Smalls, who demonstrates on the piano   [eagerly awaiting the return of this video clip].

Charlie Smalls would go on to win the 1975 Tony Award for Best Score for his work on The Wiz.