1967 The Monkees – Shades Of Gray
The Monkees television show made superstars of the Monkees, who released two albums in 1966 that each reached the top of the album charts and yielded a number one single. In early 1967, the band reached #2 on the Hot 100 with A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You. The Monkees originally intended to include that song on their third album, but they eventually left it off the album.
The folk-rock trio, the Will-O-Bees, included two singers from Indiana (Janet Blossom and Robert Merchanthouse) and Steven Porter. They signed with Screen Gems and began recording singles in the Summer of 1966. Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil were staff writers for Screen Gems, and they had written the song Shades Of Gray, which became the group’s second single. It didn’t reach the Hot 100.
The Monkees recorded their version of the song for Headquarters, their third album. The song did not get used in any of their show’s first run episodes on the show, but reruns of their episodes commonly replaced the original songs with newer releases. Shades of Gray replaced I Wanna Be Free for reruns of episodes 6 and 10 from their first season.
The song never made it onto a single, but still got significant airplay thanks to the popularity of the television show.
The album got to spend one week at the top of the US album chart in May before Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band took over the chart the next week.
The band never released any singles from Headquarters in the US. Mickey Dolenz wrote the song Randy Scouse Git about a party the Beatles threw for the Monkees during their trip to England and that song got released as a single in other countries. They renamed the song Alternate Title in the UK, and it reached #2 there in 1967.