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The Monkees Celebrate 50 Year Anniversary With New Album And North American Tour

Hey, hey, it’s the Monkees, and they may be coming to a town near you. Remember those silly, yet handsome guys who made beautiful music together and literally got stars in their eyes when they looked at a girl? Well, they are back, a little older but ready to get their groove on with a new album and an extensive North American tour to celebrate their 50 year anniversary of their TV series and their first single, “Last Train To Clarksville.”

According to Variety, the new release is called Good Times and will feature some brand new original tunes. The new album is produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne. In addition, expect to hear new songs that had been written back in the 1960s but the Monkees had yet to release to the public. Neil Diamond and Carole King will be contributing to this new release as well. Also collaborating on this new release is Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Zach Schwartz (Rogue Wave) and Andy Partridge (XTC).

The original Monkees consisted of Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork, Davy Jones, and Michael Nesmith. Unfortunately, what started out as a four-man band 50 years ago is no longer. Davy Jones passed away in 2012 from a sudden heart attack. However, you will be able to hear his vocals on Neil Diamond’s “Love To Know,” which will make it on the new album.

 Davy Jones in 1968. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)
Apparently, Mike Nesmith of the Momkees is not expected to be heading out on this summer tour, Mickey Dolenz tells Yahoo Music. He does say that you just never know when he might pop up but as far as a long tour schedule, he doesn’t think that would happen.

According to Yahoo Music, this anniversary surprise was in talks a couple years ago. After Schlesinger was on board to produce the new album, things started falling into place nicely. Mickey Dolenz gave some insight into how this all came about.

“There have been some recent personnel changes at Rhino and the incoming personnel were very, very pro and positive about the Monkees. [Rhino executives] John Hughes and Mark Pinkus both said they wanted us to make a new album, and they spelled out the exact kind of album that would go down well with the 50th anniversary and with our fans.”

Rhino is the owner of the group’s trademark and this project was in mind to help celebrate their 50th anniversary. Although it does sound like a few changes are being made with a couple of touchups, as explained by Dolenz.

“We all agree that the lyrics in the Rivers Cuomo song needed to be aged up a little but It sounds like it’s about a little girl and I’m 70 years old, so Rivers is re-writing the lyrics.”

The Monkees are headed out on summer tour. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
The tour kicks off in Florida on May 18 and will run through October 29. The new album has a June 10 release date. They are still working on getting the final track list sorted out, but it should be a blast of the past for fans of the Monkees with a little bit of a current sound mixed in.

What can you expect at the concerts this summer? The Monkees will have some of their new songs that are included on the new album release, but the concert set list will mostly focus on their classic hits that are so loved by their fans.

“I’ve always felt it was important to give the audience what they want, which is the hits. Peter and I do a lovely acoustic portion of the show, like we’re sitting around a campfire. Our vocal blend has become very, very interesting.”

The Monkees goofing off.. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Dolenz did admit that he was quite excited about this 50th anniversary celebration release and the upcoming tour. You can bet that their fans are also excited to have this experience as well. You can see the entire tour schedule posted on Rolling Stone.

Were you a big Monkees fan back in the day? Share your favorite memories of this band.

[Photo by Mike McLaren/Central Press/Getty Images]