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, although I’m a little surprised to discover that this track was not issued on a 7-inch (the song’s only non-LP appearance being a Mexican EP from 1968).
Dolenz is considered the third person to purchase a Moog synthesizer behind (1) Walter/Wendy Carlos and (2) Buck Owens [see: Switched On Buck]. 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.
(image courtesy of The Bob Moog Foundation)
Truth & Accuracy Dept.
- Thanks to Dale Charles, I now know that Micky Dolenz was the nineteenth (not third) person/corporate entity to have purchased a Moog modular system — check out the customer list at this Moog Archives web link.
- On page two 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 and 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.”
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Jones
LP cover – Uruguay