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

Nick Lowe: Basing Street (1979)

Nick Lowe: Basing Street (1979)

Nick Lowe's remarkable career to a kind of alt.American balladeer today began way back in UK pub rock with Dave Edmunds in the band Rockpile, a band dubbed "Dad's Army" in the late... > Read more

Section 25: Looking from a Hilltop, Megamix (1980)

Section 25: Looking from a Hilltop, Megamix (1980)

The jury is perhaps still out on Blackpool's Section 25: dismissed in some circles as a pallid version of Joy Division/New Order for their electronica dance music, hailed by others who heard in... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Bruce Springsteen: Wrecking Ball (Sony)

Bruce Springsteen: Wrecking Ball (Sony)

By design and sometimes by chance, Bruce Springsteen has frequently tapped into the emotional state of the American republic. He has documented the lives of outsiders and the dispossessed, the... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Bill Morris

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: Bill Morris

Not many New Zealand musicians could pull a quote about themselves from the influential American magaine No Depression, and certainly not one as glowing as that about Bill Morris.... > Read more