The Monkees: Can You Dig It? (1968)

 |   |  1 min read

The Monkees: Can You Dig It? (1968)

Just as Bob Dylan tried to demolish the myths which had built up around him with his Self Portrait album in 1970, so too the Monkees tried -- with even greater success than Dylan -- to shake off the pop image they had when they released their movie Head in '68.

Helmed by Bob Rafelson (who co-produced it with Jack Nicholson), Head was a surreal, fragmented, Pythonesque series of skits, Vietnam war footage, solarised psychedelic sequences and frippery which opens with them mocking their image as the loveable mop-top pop band in a song written by Nicholson . . . and went on to include appearances by Frank Zappa, boxer Sonny Liston, and in one sequence Nicholson and Dennis Hopper walk through looking like they have ambled in from the Easy Rider shoot.

Any 14-year old looking for the cute Monkees would have been bewildered within 10 minutes and probably have left the cinema about 10 minutes later. And there were no pop songs on the soundtrack either.

Interestingly the Monkee who came to the fore as a songwriter was Peter Tork who'd made few contributions to their previous album Birds and Bees, but who here had a couple of fairly tripped out pieces including Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again . . . and this stranglely appealing piece.

Tork said it was about the Tao and he'd written the chords as far back as his college days.

Mickey Dolenz takes the vocal and Tork plays guitar and snare drum. The other players were drummer Dewey Martin and bongo player Michael Glass. Buddy Miles was also listed as an additional player.

But it's the song's vague Middle Eastern/Indian sound which sets it apart from just about anything else the Monkees did.

An odd one from an even odder film. 

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Little Esther Phillips: Hound Dog (1953)

Little Esther Phillips: Hound Dog (1953)

Although Big Mama Thornton was the first out of the block with Leiber and Stoller's Hound Dog -- subsequently a hit for Elvis Presley -- Thornton wasn't the only one to hear its bluesy potential.... > Read more

The Easybeats: Sorry (1966)

The Easybeats: Sorry (1966)

In 1980 EMI released an excellent double vinyl on the Joker imprint entitled The Easybeats: Absolute Anthology 1965-69. It might well have been titled The Rise and Fall of a Pop Group because... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Guy Davis: Skunkmello (Red House)

Guy Davis: Skunkmello (Red House)

Before you look at the title and the cover art -- Davis laughing and surrounded by smoke -- let's get it straight: this isn't a stoner album but (apparently) takes its title from a notorious... > Read more

The Knack: And How To Lose It

The Knack: And How To Lose It

Okay, this is how I remember The Knack and its lead singer Doug Feiger, but it was a long time ago so the memory may be dodgy. It was August 13, 1979 to be exact and the ads boasted "biggest... > Read more