The Monkees Go Analog

Maura / September 15, 2008


At around 3 a.m. I found myself going on one of those YouTube binges that are necessitated by not being able to sleep and not wanting to drop $30-plus at the iTunes Store, and it was through lots of “related link” clicking that I happened upon “Daily Nightly” by the Monkees, a song that I had “dug” a lot as a terminally unhip 11-year-old and, I learned after some Googling, one that actually had something of an historic import, what with it being one of the first pop songs to employ the Moog synthesizer. According to Eric Lefcowitz’s Monkees Tale, the Monkees’ Micky Dolenz actually bought the third Moog to ever come off the assembly line–he was right behind Buck Owens and Wendy Carlos on the waiting list–and his full-on “hey, let’s twist this knob and see what happens” experimentation with the synthesizer resulted in the Michael Nesmith-penned song breaking through its psychedelia-by-the-numbers melody.

The sneeringly rollicking groupie put-down “Star Collector” also used the Moog, although in a bit more of a conventional way:

I played a Moog once in my entire life (about 10 years ago) and it was so much fun–since I only used it that one time, I was never really sure of what I was doing and as a result my reaction could have been aptly described as “wow and flutter.” I hope that I’ll be able to fiddle around with one again someday; I wonder what I’d actually do with the thing now that I sort of know more about what it can do, if only from picking up hints from the recordings I’ve absorbed since that day all those years ago.

The Monkees – Star Collector [YouTube]
The Monkees – Daily Nightly [YouTube]
Monkees Tale [Google Book Search]