1969 The Monkees – Tear Drop City
While Last Train To Clarksville came out and topped the charts in 1966, at least in New York City a different record hit the charts first. The B-side of that single was Take A Giant Step, which entered the WMCA weekly chart at #52 on August 24 and went to #40 on the thirty-first.
The next week’s chart dropped that song and listed Last Train To Clarksville at #34 and WABC began listing the A-side that week as well.
Another recording that got considered as the group’s first single will sound very familiar. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote the song and Tommy produced it, and the recording used many of the same session musicians who played on Last Train To Clarksville as well. Not only did Colgems not release the song, they didn’t even include it on any of their albums for years.
After their television show ended and their movie (Head) did poorly, the band started to fall apart. Peter was actually the first to buy out his contract and leave the band. Instant Replay was the first album issued after Peter left. The album contained songs from the years before the band took control of their music; those were songs recorded but not released early in their career, and none of them had appeared in videos on the television show.
Tear Drop City clearly owes a debt to Last Train To Clarksville (the opening guitar notes are unmistakable). Somebody decided to speed up the song 8% to make it faster and give it a higher pitch before putting it on the album. The new version of the song became the album’s first single.
The single peaked at only #56 on the Hot 100 in 1969. It may have been a poor showing for a Monkees’ single, but that was still an improvement over their previous charting single, Porpoise Song, which had stalled at #62.
Their future singles would not return the band to the top forty until MTV reruns of the show aired in 1986.
I have collected older articles about Lost or Forgotten Oldies in my books.
Please visit my author page on Amazon where I sell my paperbacks, eBooks, and audiobooks.
You can even read the books for free if you have Kindle Unlimited!