The Monkees are getting into the holiday spirit more than 50 years after their classic TV heyday. The surviving members of the legendary made-for-TV rock group have recorded their first-ever Yuletide album, titled Christmas Party. The new release comes two years after the band’s 50th-anniversary album, Good Times, which scored the band their highest ranking on Billboard’s album chart since 1968.
Original Monkees members Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, and Peter Tork recorded the tracklist of holiday songs earlier this year, according to Ultimate Classic Rock. But late bandmate Davy Jones, who died suddenly in 2012, is also featured on the album. Jones is included in The Monkees’ renditions of the holiday standards “Silver Bells” and “Mele Kalikimaka” thanks to vintage vocals that date back to the 1970s and have been preserved in the band’s archives combined. Jones’ vocals are combined with newly recorded instrumentals for the tracks.
In addition, The Monkees got a little help from a whole lot of famous friends: Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Andy Partridge of XTC, Peter Buck of R.E.M., songwriter and producer Adam Schlesinger, novelist Michael Chabon, and Scott McCaughey of the Minus 5 all contributed in various ways to the star-studded new album.
In addition to the tracks featuring Jones, some of the songs included in Christmas party include classics such as “Angels We Have Heard On High,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Merry Christmas, Baby” as well as a new version of Paul McCartney’s 1986 hit “Wonderful Christmastime.”
Spend Christmas with @TheMonkees! The band’s first ever holiday album, CHRISTMAS PARTY will be released October 12, featuring the new classic holiday song “Unwrap You At Christmas!” Available on CD and digitally, pre-order your copy here: https://t.co/As3qL43tmm pic.twitter.com/k8z18qdwaf— The Monkees (@TheMonkees) September 20, 2018
In the past, The Monkees performed the Spanish Christmas carol, “Riu Chiu” during a Christmas episode during the second and final episode of the TV series. (You can see the amazing acapella performance below.) In addition, Dolenz, Tork, and Jones released a 1976 single, “Christmas Is My Time of Year” and the band performed in a 1986 “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” medley with MTV’s VJs.
While Peter Tork has not toured with The Monkees recently, Nesmith and Dolenz hit the road earlier this year for “The Mike & Micky Tour.” Nesmith had a quadruple-bypass over the summer which resulted in canceled tour dates, but shows from the tour could give fans a live album in the future.
“We recorded a bunch of shows. I think every show,” Dolenz told Billboard earlier this year.”So I do know that it’s in hand. I was thrilled with the reviews and the reaction that we got. And the music sounded wonderful. And Nez was actually in very good voice. I was too, frankly, if I do say so myself. So hopefully it’s going to sound pretty cool.”
Take a look at the video below to see The Monkees performing “Riu Chiu” on The 1967 Monkees episode, “The Christmas Show,” below.
The Monkees’ Christmas Party will be released on Oct. 12.