Shades of Gray (song)

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"Shades of Gray" is a song that was written in 1965 by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and was recorded by The Monkees for their 1967 album Headquarters, the first of which that saw group play all its own instruments (except a French horn and cello, both of which were featured in this song). Lead vocals were shared by Davy Jones and Peter Tork.[1]

The song had been recorded previously by a folk-rock trio, the Will-O-Bees, and released in 1966 on the Date Records label (Date 45 #1543).[2] Though the Will-O-Bees' version was accorded "Chart Spotlights – Predicted to reach the HOT 100" status in Billboard Magazine's issue of December 31, 1966, the record is little known today.[3]

Sons of Champlin recorded the song at about the same time, but the Headquarters version was released first. The album Fat City,[4] released in 1999 by Big Beat UK, finally featured the Sons of Champlin version of the song, named "Shades of Grey" (whereas the original Monkees release was titled "Shades of Gray").

Another version was recorded in 1970 by P.K. Limited (Screen Gems/Columbia Music songwriters Dan Peyton and Marty Kaniger); it was featured in the film Getting Straight.

A cover of "Shades of Gray" by Mind Venertion[5] appears on the album, Through the Looking Glass - Indie Pop Plays The Monkees,.[6]"

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1986 film Soul Man, C. Thomas Howell's character Mark attempts to impress a girl, so he says, "Today there is no black or white, only shades of gray," a direct quote from the song.


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