A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You
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|"A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You"|
|Single by The Monkees|
|B-side||"The Girl I Knew Somewhere"|
|Released||March 6, 1967|
|Label||Colgems 66-1004 / RCA 1580|
|The Monkees singles chronology|
"A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" is a song by Neil Diamond that was released by The Monkees in 1967 (see 1967 in music). Davy Jones sang the lead vocal (this was Jones' first lead vocal on a Monkees single). It went to #1 in the US Cashbox charts and #2 on the Billboard charts. The record's B-side was Michael Nesmith's "The Girl I Knew Somewhere", which also charted on Billboard, peaking at #39.
Neil Diamond never made a studio recording of the song (as he had done with "I'm a Believer"), but he did perform the song in his live shows of 1967. At least one recording of such a performance exists and circulates, including a version recorded at New York's Bitter End Club in 1967 that is currently available Video on YouTube.
Don Kirshner vs. The Monkees
Music impresario Don Kirshner was in charge of the Brill Building stable of songwriters in New York City (which included Neil Diamond), and was also music supervisor for both the Monkees television series and their record releases (through Colgems Records). While the band members themselves chose which songs they would record, Kirshner tended to favor his writing stable for record releases, singles in particular. B-sides to singles, which paid the same royalty rates as A-sides, were reserved as a kind of bonus for the Brill Building writers.
While the Monkees were willing to cooperate with Kirshner, he was not willing to reciprocate, or to listen to many (if any) of their ideas. Michael Nesmith led the band through a struggle for more creative control, and the chance to play their own accompaniment on records. He in particular wanted his songs featured on Monkees singles, at least as B-sides. Early in 1967, the band recorded two songs for selection as their next single, "All of Your Toys" and a remake of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere", both with Micky Dolenz on lead vocals.
With Diamond's "I'm a Believer" already a hit (it would prove to be the group's biggest, and the biggest-selling single in the US that year), Kirshner gave Diamond first shot at writing a followup, and turned a deaf ear to the group's efforts. He persuaded Davy Jones to fly to New York and record a solo session with producer Jeff Barry in January 1967. Barry produced Diamond's newest offerings, and also his own "She Hangs Out", with session musicians. "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and "She Hangs Out" were chosen by Kirshner for the next Monkees single. He also authorized pressing and distribution of the single with picture sleeve (Colgems 66-1003); something he technically was not supposed to do without approval. Kirshner's reasoning was that a third Monkees hit in a row, done his way, would solidify his position as musical boss in the project. He also pressed a number of promo copies, bearing the label "My Favorite Monkee - Davy Jones Sings". the Personnel on the original Monkees recording included Al Gorgoni, Hugh McCracken and Don Thomas on Guitar, Stan Free on Piano, Artie Butler on Organ, Louie Mauro and James Tyrell on bass, Thomas Cerone on Tamborine, and Herbie Lovelle on drums.
The Monkees themselves were irritated enough that an entire album, More of the Monkees, had been issued with no input from them save their vocals, at the sessions. They lobbied the show's producers, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, for an increased role in their music output, now having some self-produced music (working with Chip Douglas) to back them up. When copies of Kirshner's single appeared in Canada, and the song began to get airplay in both Canada and the US, Kirshner was fired, on the grounds that he had issued an unauthorized record. The single was withdrawn in Canada, and cancelled in the US. Since the title had already been announced, and the song heard in the media, "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" was retained as the next A-side, but "She Hangs Out" was dropped as the B-side, in favor of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere". (A remake of "She Hangs Out", with the Monkees playing, would appear on their fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.)
While both mono and stereo mixes of "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" were made (with the mono version featuring handclaps), the master recordings of the song disappeared after the 1960s. A later issue was made from dubs of the earlier mixes. This version (with Davy Jones singing "oh girl, oh girl" over the bridge) first appeared on the 1969 album The Monkees Greatest Hits (Colgems) and later on other collections until the multi-track master was found by Rhino Records. A new stereo remix, complete with the handclaps, was issued as a bonus track on the two CD deluxe version of Headquarters released by Rhino Records in 2007.
The backing vocals are not identified in any Monkees Greatest Hits collections, but The Monkees Tale suggested that they may have been by Neil Diamond himself.
- The Monkees Tale, by Eric Lefcowitz (Last Gasp Press, San Francisco, California, 1985)
- The Monkees Greatest Hits, liner notes (Rhino Records)