A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You
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|"A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You"|
US single label
|Single by The Monkees|
|B-side||"The Girl I Knew Somewhere"|
|Released||March 8, 1967|
|Recorded||January 21, 1967|
|Studio||RCA Victor Studios, Studio B
New York City, NY
|Genre||Pop rock, power pop|
|The Monkees singles chronology|
Japan single cover
"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 No. 1 in the US Cashbox charts and No. 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 No. 39. It was also included in the "I'm a Believer" EP in Europe that year.
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, at New York's Bitter End club.
While the song was originally published by Screen Gems-Columbia Music (BMI), it is now published by Stonebridge Music/EMI Foray Music (SESAC).
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 (that 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 February 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. This was 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 their musical supervisor. 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 tambourine, 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 of The Turtles) 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 dismissed, on the grounds that he had issued an unauthorized record. The single was withdrawn in Canada, and canceled 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, the master recordings of the song disappeared after the 1960s, with later issues being made from dubs of the earlier mixes. The original stereo mix (with reverb added to the vocals, a longer fade, no handclaps, and Davy Jones singing "oh girl, oh girl" over the bridge) first appeared on the 1969 Greatest Hits album and later on other collections, until the multi-track master was rediscovered by Rhino Records; a new stereo remix, more closely matching the mono mix, was issued as a bonus track on Rhino's 2-CD deluxe version of Headquarters in 2007.
The backing vocals are not identified in the credits of any of the collections on which the song appears, but The Monkees Tale suggested that they may have been sung by Neil Diamond himself.
- The Monkees Tale, by Eric Lefcowitz (Last Gasp Press, San Francisco, California, 1985), ISBN 978-0-86719-338-1
- The Monkees Greatest Hits, liner notes (Rhino Records)