monkees little bit me cover cropped

The #1 Albums: The Return of Herb Alpert and the Monkees

Cover art from the single “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” released in the spring of 1967

As the spring of ’67 turned into the Summer of Love, two of the top acts of 1966 returned to the top of the album chart as the world waited for the new release by the biggest band going, and the inevitability of its rise to #1.

For Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, the #1 spot was a familiar place. They’d been there three times in ’66, and a fourth album, the live recording S.R.O., went to #2 at the end of the year. Sounds Like was released in May, and it had sufficient mojo to stop the Monkees’ streak of 31 weeks at #1, the last 18 of them with More of the Monkees, during the week of June 17, 1967. The best-known tracks on Sounds Like include a version of the gospel song “Wade in the Water” and Burt Bacharach’s theme from the movie Casino Royale, both of which were hit singles.

But the Monkees would bounce back to the top quickly with Headquarters, their third album, which spent the week of June 24, 1967, at #1. This album was the first made after the group famously gained creative freedom and the right to play on their own recordings. Mike Nesmith wrote several songs himself (instead of the one-and-a-part he had been granted on the two earlier records), and collaborated with his mates on some others. The album also includes three songs by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who had written much of the group’s earlier work, and one by the Brill Building team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Headquarters is more experimental than the Monkees’ first two albums, an obvious nod to the growing influence of psychedelia as 1966 morphed into 1967. It contained neither “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” and “The Girl That I Knew Somewhere,” the Monkees’ double-sided springtime single, nor “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” their summer single, which would appear on the forthcoming Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones Ltd. The best-known songs on Headquarters are probably “For Pete’s Sake,” which would become the closing theme to the group’s TV show, “You Just May Be the One,” and “Randy Scouse Git,” a Micky Dolenz composition that was released in the UK as “Alternate Title” so as not to offend British listeners with what some might perceive to be raunchy slang.

After its single week at #1, Headquarters would spend the next 11 weeks at #2 behind the most famous album ever made, about which we will attempt to say something new in our next installment.