The Monkees’ Biggest Hits In Australia

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The Monkees’ Biggest Hits In Australia

The Monkees. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

A sitcom about a band trying to make it in the late ’60s turned its made-for-TV four-piece into genuine music stars. In a case of making hay while the sun shines, The Monkees released nine studio albums between 1966 and 1970, and charted in Australia with 18 singles, all but three of which made the top 20. Their 10 biggest hits all reached the top 10 in a chart streak that rivalled the biggest acts of the time.

10. "Pleasant Valley Sunday"

Released: 1967

Peak: number 10

Written by hit-makers Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and named after a New Jersey street (Pleasant Valley Way) near their house, this single from fourth album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. was about living a happy suburban life. In a 1997 interview with Mojo magazine, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork named this as their favourite Monkees song.

9. "Listen To The Band" 

Released: 1969

Peak: number 8

The Monkees’ final top 10 hit in Australia was the first single to feature Michael Nesmith, who wrote and produced it, on lead vocals. And although it made its debut on 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, the late-1968 live TV special in which Peter Tork made his then-final appearance with the band, by the time it was released in mid-1969, he had already left. 

8. "Alternate Title (Randy Scouse Git)"

Released: 1967

Peak: number 6

When The Monkees’ UK record company insisted on an alternate title for “Randy Scouse Git”, a name that came from British sitcom Till Death Us Do Part (and doesn’t actually feature in the lyrics), the song became known quite literally as “Alternate Title”. The verses of the song, the first Micky Dolenz composition released by the band, were inspired by a party thrown for them by The Beatles in London.

7. "She"

Released: 1967

Peak: number 6

The lead track on a four-song EP released in Australia in late 1967, “She” had also appeared on the album More Of The Monkees, which had come out at the start of that year. The song was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who besides coming up with a number of tunes for The Monkees – “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” from the same album was another of theirs – enjoyed a couple of hits as artists in their own right.

6. "Valleri"

Released: 1968

Peak: number 4

Another Boyce and Hart composition, “Valleri” was written on the spot when the songwriters were asked for a song with a girl’s name as its title. The single version of “Valleri” was the second version of the song recorded, with an earlier version appearing in the first season of the TV series.

5. "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"

Released: 1967

Peak: number 4

A stand-alone single not included on a studio album, this was the band’s second single in a row to be written by Neil Diamond (following “I’m A Believer”). The song was also responsible for the tension between The Monkees and the TV production company’s head of music, Don Kirshner, coming to a head. As the band successfully lobbied for more creative control in their releases, Don was dismissed from the project for releasing an unauthorised single of “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”.

4. "Mary, Mary"

Released: 1968

Peak: number 4

Issued as a single in Australia to coincide with The Monkees’ tour down under, this More Of The Monkees track was written and produced by Michael Nesmith, but was first committed to record by The Buttersfield Blues Band on their 1966 album, East-West. The song was also memorably updated by Run-DMC two decades later on 1988’s Tougher Than Leather.  

3. "(Theme From) The Monkees"

Released: 1967

Peak: number 3

It was the first track on the band’s self-titled debut album, charted in Australia as part of the EP The Monkees Volume 1 and was the Boyce and Hart composition that helped sell studio executives on the concept of the TV show in the first place. Edited down to form the theme song for the sitcom, the full-length version of “(Theme From) The Monkees” was not released as a commercial single in the US.

2. "Daydream Believer"

Released: 1967

Peak: number 2

The Monkees’ third and final number 1 hit in the US, “Daydream Believer” fell just short in Australia. Recorded during the sessions for their fourth album, it ended up being included instead on their fifth, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. The song was also originally intended as a B-side, but a last-minute change resulted in it being promoted to A-side status.

1. "I’m A Believer"

Released: 1966

Peak: number 1

Improving on the start made by debut single “Last Train To Clarksville”, which reached number 14 locally, the second release by the Monkees went all the way to number 1 – a position it matched in numerous countries around the world. Written and later recorded by Neil Diamond, “I’m A Believer” featured vocals by the band, but they did not play instruments on the record, something that would prove to be a major point of contention as the success of the TV show and band skyrocketed.

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