Circle Sky

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"Circle Sky"
Song by The Monkees from the album Head
Released December 1, 1968
Genre Hard rock
Label Colgems
Writer(s) Michael Nesmith

"Circle Sky" is a song written by Michael Nesmith of The Monkees, which appeared on their sixth album, the Head soundtrack, and also in the film Head as a live concert performance.

The song is written and performed in a Bo Diddley style, staying mostly on a single chord (A Major), while strumming barre chords (from B Major to E Major) down a guitar neck for the intro, outro, and breaks, and from B minor to D minor for the bridge. The lyrics are impressions of sights and sounds on a Monkees tour, while "Hamilton's smiling down" refers to a Hamilton music stand, used for rehearsals and recording.

While the movie included the song performed live by the Monkees in Salt Lake City, Utah (on May 17, 1968, during a free show at the Valley Auditorium), the original soundtrack album instead substituted a studio recording, made by Nesmith and session musicians (an unexplained decision that became a major source of tension in the group). The movie version intercut Vietnam War footage, and several mirrored shots of the band onstage.

A lo-fi transcription of the concert version was included on an Australian Monkees compilation in the early 1980s, Monkeemania: 40 Timeless Hits From The Monkees,[1] while an alternate studio take appeared on a Rhino Records album, Monkee Flips, in 1984.

A stereo recording of the concert version finally appeared on Missing Links, Volume II, in 1990. This version on the Apple iTunes Store is incorrect, but Amazon's MP3 matches.

A reworked version of the song opened the Monkees's 1996 reunion album, Justus, featuring a rare Davy Jones guitar performance. This version is harder rocking than the original but is otherwise identical musically. The lyrics, however, have been changed in several spots.

Personnel (studio version):

  • Michael Nesmith - lead vocal, guitar, organ, percussion
  • Keith Allison - guitar
  • Bill Chadwick - guitar
  • Eddie Hoh - drums, percussion

Personnel (concert version of 5/17/68):

  • Michael Nesmith - lead vocal, guitar
  • Davy Jones - percussion, organ
  • Peter Tork - bass
  • Micky Dolenz - drums, percussion

Personnel (Justus version):

  • Michael Nesmith - lead vocal, guitar
  • Davy Jones - guitar
  • Peter Tork - bass
  • Micky Dolenz - drums


  1. ^ "'Monkeemania: 40 Timeless Hits From The Monkees' LP". The Monkee Live Almanac. 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2015-01-14. 

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