Pleasant Valley Sunday

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"Pleasant Valley Sunday"
The Monkees single 04 Pleasant Valley Sunday.jpg
US single cover
Single by The Monkees
from the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
ReleasedJuly 10, 1967
Recorded10 & 11 June 1967
StudioRCA Victor Studios
Hollywood, CA
LabelColgems No. 1007
Producer(s)Chip Douglas
The Monkees singles chronology
"A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You"
"Pleasant Valley Sunday"
"Daydream Believer"

"Pleasant Valley Sunday" is a song by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, most famous for the version recorded by The Monkees in 1967. Goffin's and King's inspiration for the name was a street named Pleasant Valley Way, in West Orange, New Jersey where they were living at the time.[3] The road follows a valley through several communities among the Watchung Mountains. The lyrics were a social commentary on status symbols, creature comforts, life in suburbia and "keeping up with the Joneses". It became one of the Monkees' most successful singles.


Chip Douglas, producer of the Monkees' music during 1967, also played bass guitar on some of their recordings. (This freed up Peter Tork to play keyboards.) He showed lead guitarist Michael Nesmith the lead riff used throughout the song. Nesmith doubletracked it while Peter Tork and Davy Jones added piano and maraca parts. "Fast" Eddie Hoh, a session musician, played drums. Micky Dolenz sang lead vocals, and was the only member of The Monkees who did not play an instrument on the track.[4]

For an ending, Douglas and engineer Hank Cicalo decided to "keep pushing everything up", adding more and more reverberation and echo until the sound of the music became unrecognizable, before fading out the recording. Separate mono and stereo versions were mixed for single and album records.

The single peaked at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and was featured in the second season of their television series. The song also appeared on the fourth Monkees album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., in November 1967. While mono copies of the album had the same version heard on the single, stereo copies had a version using a different take of the first verse and an additional backing vocal during the break. (A different stereo mix, more closely replicating the single version, appeared on the 1991 Monkees box set Listen to the Band.)

In February 1986, MTV featured a marathon of episodes of the series titled Pleasant Valley Sunday, which sparked a second wave of Monkeemania. The reunited Dolenz, Tork, and Davy Jones, already on tour, went from playing small venues to playing arenas and stadiums in the following weeks.

The B-side to the single, "Words", was written by Boyce and Hart. On the Pisces album the song is introduced by Tork's brief spoken-word track "Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky".

An early demo version of the song with vocals by Carole King was released on her 2012 compilation, The Legendary Demos.[5]

Interpretation of lyrics[edit]

In a 1978 interview with Blitz Magazine, Mike Nesmith jokingly corrected the interviewer who regarded the song as being about suburban America: "I hate to pop your balloon about 'Pleasant Valley Sunday'. That song was actually written about a mental institution."[6][7]


Chart performance[edit]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Friedlander, Matt (September 12, 2016). "It's the 50th Anniversary of 'The Monkees' TV Debut". ABC News. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  2. ^ Papadatos, Markos (March 8, 2019). "Review: The Monkees honor musical legacy of Peter Tork at The Paramount". Digital Journal. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  3. ^ La Gorce, Tammy. "New Jersey's Magic Moments", The New York Times, October 30, 2005. Accessed November 25, 2007.
  4. ^ Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd (Media notes). RCA Victor. 1967. RD-7912.
  5. ^ Lustig, Jay (October 21, 2014). "'Pleasant Valley Sunday', Carole King demo". Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  6. ^ S. A. Dispoto. "blastintopastmikenesmith". Archived from the original on August 30, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ "Photographic image of Blitz article" (JPG). Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  8. ^ Greatest Hits (CD). The Monkees. Rhino. 1995.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  10. ^ " - Hot 100 - Week of August 19, 1967". Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  11. ^ "Official Charts - Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 26th August 1967". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1967/Top 100 Songs of 1967". Retrieved October 1, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]