In the wake of Michael Nesmith’s passing, it should come as no surprise that Monkees fans are taking a look – and a listen – back at the band’s albums, but while the classic hits are likely to get the most attention, let’s take a few moments to linger on the the band’s highest charting album on the Billboard 200 since 1968.
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Co-produced by Adam Schlesinger and Monkees historian-turned-manager Andrew Sandoval, Good Times! was effectively a salute to 50 years of The Monkees and their influence on generations of rock and pop fans. With Davy Jones having died in 2012, the three surviving Monkees – Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and the aforementioned Mr. Nesmith – teamed up to perform not only previously-unreleased songs by the songwriters they utilized back in their heyday (Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and Harry Nilsson) but also new songs penned by today’s composers, including Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Ben Gibbard, and XTC's Andy Partridge.
“The A&R and people at Rhino said, ‘You know, there’s this world of indie rock out there,” Dolenz told Yahoo! in 2016. “And they mentioned Adam Schlesinger…and I knew who he was because I was a big fan of the Tom Hanks movie that he did [music for], That Thing You Do!…And then they started pulling in these people… I told my daughter and she was freakin’ out: ‘Weezer, are you kiddin’ me?’ And lo and behold, they’re just throwing material at us. I mean, it was like, ‘Oh yeah, I can’t wait to write!’ ‘Yeah, we’d love to write a song for The Monkees!’ And you’ve heard the results – I’m very, very proud of this album.”
Given the talent involved, it should come as no surprise that the resulting album turned out to be a melodic masterpiece filled with pop hooks that stick with you for the long haul, but to have the critical acclaim be matched by the commercial success of the LP (which hit No. 14 on the U.S. charts)...oh, yes, these truly were Good Times! for Monkees fans.