Mike Nesmith‘s work as a songwriter for The Monkees is legendary. He penned some of the most iconic songs featured on the group’s television show and vinyl. Along with some of the most talented songwriters and session players in the business, Nesmith recorded some beloved tunes. Several of these sessions included a soon-to-be legendary country music superstar who made a name for himself as one of the most talented musicians in the industry.
The Monkees’ first album featured The Wrecking Crew
The Monkees’ first album was recorded during different sessions in and around LA in the summer of 1966, shortly before their television series debuted. Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, and Jack Keller produced these recording sessions.
Subsequently, Mike Nesmith was allowed to produce two sessions for the album. A Facebook post honoring this milestone recording revealed eight of the original LP’s twelve tracks feature one lone Monkee singing lead vocal over instrumentation. The music was recorded entirely by session musicians.
However, Mike Nesmith produced two tracks that made it onto the band’s first album. For those, Peter Tork was allowed to play guitar. During the recording of these songs, a session player that became one of country music’s most famous entertainers appeared alongside other members of a session group called The Wrecking Crew.
This country music superstar played as a session musician on The Monkees’ first album and a beloved Mike Nesmith hit
Among the session players on The Monkees’ first album were Wayne Erwin, Gerry McGee, Louie Shelton, James Burton, Billy Lewis, Hal Blaine, Larry West, Bob West, Bill Pitman, Larry Knechtel, Michel Rubini, and Gene Estes.
Also among the musicians who appeared on the recording was Glen Campbell. Andrew Sandoval documented Campbell’s involvement in his book, The Monkees: The Day-by-Day Story of the ’60s TV Pop Sensation.
He performed on tracks that included “I Won’t Be the Same Without Her,” “Sweet Young Thing,” and “Mary, Mary.” “I Won’t Be the Same Without Her” was passed over for inclusion on The Monkees and wouldn’t find a home on a Monkees LP until 1969’s Instant Replay.
Campbell was also a featured player on one of Nesmith’s most beloved Monkees’ songs, “Papa Gene’s Blues.”
Later, The Monkees returned the favor by guest-starring on the television variety series The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour in February 1969. Per The Monkees Live Almanac, the trio performed “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” and “Salesman” live and lip-synced “Tear Drop City.” They also performed in a series of comedy sketches.
Glen Campbell played with some of the biggest names in the industry while carving out his place in music history
Glen Campbell’s resume as a recording artist reads like a who’s who of the biggest names in the industry. He was a session player for Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas soundtrack and played on the B-side of the 45 containing “What’d I Say” in 1963. Glen also played and sang demos for Elvis on the following three songs: “Slowly But Surely,” “Stay Away Joe,” and “All I Need Is the Rain.”
Campbell played guitar on the Beach Boys’ landmark Pet Sounds album. Following Brian Wilson’s breakdown and subsequent inability to tour, he joined the band on the road from December 1964 until March 1965, reported Taste of Country.
In 1967, Campbell played on two Frank Sinatra recordings. Fans heard his guitar work on “Something Stupid” and throughout Sinatra’s 1966 album, Strangers in the Night.
The Telegraph quoted Campbell’s take on the experience of playing with Ol’ Blue Eyes. “A guy like Frank, it’s like they don’t laugh much. I always thought he was bashful,” Campbell recalled. “He was kind of off-standing until you made him mad, and then he was a tyrant.”
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