Micky Dolenz is certainly one of the great voices of rock ‘n’ roll. The list of his best moments in the Monkees only starts with such songs as “Last Train to Clarksville” and “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone.” With his latest album, “King for a Day,” though, Dolenz has turned his voice and his attention to Carole King, who wrote songs for the Monkees and many more throughout her career.
The album features Dolenz’s versions of 13 King songs. Also on the album is a great version of “Don’t Bring Me Down,” done by the Animals; “Up on the Roof,” done by the Drifters; and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “It Might As Well Rain Until September,” which King recorded herself. Much of the album has a “Pleasant Valley Sunday” sound to it, though “Don’t Bring Me Down,” which opens the album, rocks hard like the Animals’ version.
He also reworks “Sometime in the Morning,” which he sang with the Monkees, in two different versions. One has a bluegrass touch, the other a decidedly acoustic sound.
The album was produced by Jeffrey Foskett, musical director for Brian Wilson. The musicians include veteran guitarist Jeffrey “Skunk” Baxter.
“I’ve always been a fan,” he told us on the phone about Carole King. “She wrote great songs for the Monkees.” He also give credit to Gerry Goffin, who often co-wrote with her.
And, he says, “‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ was such a great song. I still sing it onstage.”
Did the Monkees ever consider doing other songs by Carole King? He says there could have been acetates or demos that weren’t recorded for one reason or another. But, he says, “we had very little or any control over the songs.”
Three tracks on the album feature some special guest appearances. “Crying in the Rain” features his sister Coco. And two others feature friends: “I Feel the Earth Move” has Emily Osment from “Hannah Montana,” and “Just Once in My Life,” originally done by the Righteous Brothers, features surviving Brother Bill Medley singing with Dolenz.
Would you consider doing more King songs besides these? “We’ll see how this one goes. If the record company wants to,” he says, “sure.”
There has been much discussion on the web by fans pushing for the Monkees being inducted in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but each year nothing happens. Are the Monkees resigned to not being there? “I’ve never been one to chase award, plaques or trophies,” Dolenz says. “I’m really grateful to the fans who have started a petition or supported the Monkees for the Hall of Fame. And I have nothing against the Hall of Fame. They do a lot of great charitable work.”
However, he says, “it’s only a few people that run it and decide who are going to get it in it. And it’s private, like a golf club. So as a private club, they have a right to let in whoever they want and keep out whoever they want. It’s up to them. It’s not a democratic thing with a public vote. And it isn’t industry wide. They don’t represent the whole rock ‘n’ roll industry and they can do what want.”
There have been recent comments by fellow Monkees Davy Jones and Peter Tork that a Monkees reunion is a possibility. What does he think about the group getting back together?
“I will never say never. People have been talking about it for a long time since the last reunion,” he says. “My attitude is show me the Monkees. I’m not adverse to it. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
There have also been suggestions by Beatle fans that they’d love to see Dolenz in Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band. Would he consider joining if asked?
“I would love to. I’ve never been mentioned. I haven’t spoken with Richard in a while, but I would love to.” He says he’s always been a big Beatles fan. “I spent a lot of time with Ringo out here and with John on the lost weekend,” he says and recalls he also saw Paul McCartney a year ago. “I do Beatle songs in my show and tell the story of going to the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ recording session.”
Another close friend was Harry Nilsson, who was recently the subject of a documentary called “Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talking About Him?”). Dolenz is seen extenstively in the film talking about his friendship with Nilsson.
“He was a very dear friend for a long, long time,” he recalls. “He had his first recording with us. He was a long time very dear friend,” he says, and called him “incredible.”
Have a comment? Leave it below. And be sure to subscribe. You won’t want to miss any of our foamcage.com columns. We have new stories and reviews with fresh, original news on at least one of these columns every day —
Beatles Examiner: foamcage.com/x-2082-Beatles-Examiner
Paul McCartney Examiner: http://foamcage.com/x-34954-Paul-McCartney-Examiner
Vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll Examiner: foamcage.com/x-19248-Vintage-Rock-n-Roll-Examiner
TV on DVD Examiner: foamcage.com/x-10254-TV-on-DVD-Examiner
Please join us on Twitter: @stevemarinucci (RT’s are much appreciated!)
Get our free Beatle news widget: http://tinyurl.com/2dan6jx
Get our complete Examiner news widget: http://tinyurl.com/275ge6w
© COPYRIGHT STATEMENT: This article is the original work of Stan. Under no circumstance may any portion of this article be broadcast, copied, published, rewritten or used without the permission of the author. To purchase this or any other article by Stan, please email email@example.com.