You don’t need love to love insists Monkees heartthrob Davy Jones
“You gotta have love to love, they all say it works that way, but if it’s true, why do I love you?” “Love to Love” was penned by Neil Diamond and slotted as the penultimate track on his debut long player, the commercially underwhelming Feel of Neil Diamond, in October 1966. At the behest of music coordinator Don Kirshner, Monkees frontman Davy Jones, Brill Building producer Jeff Barry, and nine session personnel including future Double Fantasy guitarist Hugh McCracken assembled in RCA Victor’s New York City studios on January 21, 1967, to tackle the moody, guitar-driven slice of pop. Diamond was undoubtedly thrilled to have the biggest band in America endorse another of his compositions as “I’m a Believer” was in the midst of a seven-week reign at number one [the future Top Three “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” was cut that same day, while More of the Monkees side two opener “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)” was waxed at the October “I’m a Believer” session].
“Love to Love” would have been a shoe-in for the quintuple platinum-certified More of The Monkees if that album had been distributed a few months later. However, Jones, bassist-keyboardist Peter Tork, guitarist Michael Nesmith, and singer-drummer Micky Dolenz were asserting their independence from Kirshner so they could write, record, perform, and ultimately choose their own material. The outstanding Headquarters would be the fruition of the Monkees’ hard-earned labor later that summer.
As luck would have it, Saturday morning reruns of the since-cancelled Monkees NBC television show demanded new incidental music cues. Kirshner’s successor Brendan Cahill remembered “Love to Love.” Jones was not satisfied with his lead vocal from two and a half years earlier, so he reconvened at RCA Hollywood on August 5, 1969, for a final pass [four days later the Swinging Sixties evaporated when Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by Manson’s followers]. Accusatory lyrics like “Seems like you keep trying to break me, you do things designed just to make me cry” may have hit closer to home the second time around as the cute Mancunian had recently married girlfriend Linda Haines and welcomed their first child.
There’s no creditable explanation as to why “Love to Love” was rejected for the reruns or did not find accommodation on The Monkees Present or Changes. What cannot be disputed is the one-two-three body slam of the “D.W. Washburn” single, trippy Head movie co-written and co-produced by Jack Nicholson, and 60-minute NBC special 33⅓ Revolutions per Monkee led fans to abandon the Monkees in droves. “Love to Love” remained under lock and key until Rhino’s modest Monkee Business rarities compilation in 1982. The story does not end there. For Good Times!, the band’s twenty-tens comeback record [No. 14 POP] produced by Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger, Jones was fittingly memorialized with a slightly reimagined rendition of “Love to Love” featuring overdubbed Dolenz and Tork harmonies.
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