US single label
|Single by The Monkees|
|from the album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees|
|Released||17 February 1968|
26 & 28 December 1967|
|The Monkees singles chronology|
"Valleri" is a song written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart for The Monkees, who had a #3 on Billboard Hot 100 hit with it, also spending two weeks at #1 on Cash Box in early 1968. The song also rose to #1 in Canada, and #12 in the UK.
Responding to Screen Gems president and music supervisor Don Kirshner's early-morning request for a "girl's-name song" to be used in the Monkees's television series, Boyce and Hart improvised "Valleri" on their way to Kirshner's office, after pretending over the telephone that the song was already finished. Nonetheless, Kirshner was pleased with their work, and "Valleri" took its place on the Monkees recording schedule, with Boyce and Hart producing the original sessions in August 1966.
The original recording (with instrumental backing by the Candy Store Prophets, plus session musician Louie Shelton contributing a flamencoesque guitar solo) was featured in the show's first season in 1967; a staged performance showed Michael Nesmith copying Shelton's guitar licks, and singer Davy Jones appearing to physically outgrow his bandmates, through forced perspective and camera trick shots. While the first version of "Valleri" went unreleased, a few off-air recordings received radio airplay (thanks to DJs taping the audio directly from the video), and later surfaced on bootleg recordings.
By the end of 1967, the Monkees had gone from only singing on their records (to meet their filming, recording, and appearance schedules) to also playing, to a mix of both. More importantly, they had gone from having no say over the music production to being in near-complete creative control. Their fifth album, The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees, rounded out the selection of songs from the show to appear on record, with the second season (1967–1968) being its last. Assuming both performing and producing roles, the Monkees remade both "I'll Be Back Up On My Feet" and "Valleri", duplicating the latter as closely as possible to the original, to the point of bringing back the Candy Store Prophets and Louie Shelton to perform. Boyce and Hart were not pleased that their production was not being used, but understood the reasons, and still collected writer's royalties. Mike Nesmith had been reluctant to remake the song, and adamant against it being released as a single, declaring it the "worst record ever", but he was overruled by Colgems Records.
When Lester Sill of Colgems heard the track, he felt it needed something extra, and had a brass section overdubbed. The remade "Valleri", released on February 17, 1968, made it to Number Three in the US, and was to be the band's last top ten hit. (It was also their last single to receive a push from their television series and it was also the last single to be certified gold. The followup single, "D. W. Washburn", was not featured on the show, and only reached #19 in the pop charts. Later singles fared even worse.)
The original recording of "Valleri" was finally released in January 1990, as part of the Rhino Records collection Missing Links, Volume II, along with several other versions of Monkees tunes used in the TV series.
Of note, 1960s record releases of the second version, as well as subsequent hits packages of the song, feature a fade out ending. The cold ending version (heard in one episode of the television series) was first released on Arista's "Then And Now, The Best Of The Monkees" in 1986. Subsequent hits packages and reissues of the single on their Flashback label also feature the longer version. Early examples of the Flashback single release have the fade out ending. The original Colgems single has the fade out ending.
When Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork reunited in 1986 to tour as the Monkees, they featured "Valleri" frequently in their song lineup. The song mainly consists of four chords (F♯ Major, E Major, B Major and C♯ Major); a bridge offers a touch of harmonic variety (from F♯ Major to D♯ minor, twice).
- "Readers' Poll: The Best Monkees Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
- "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
- The Monkees Tale, Eric Lefcowitz (Last Gasp Press) (ISBN 0-86719-338-7)
- Monkeemania! The True Story of the Monkees, Glenn A. Baker, Tom Czarnota & Peter Hogan (St. Martin's Press) (ISBN 0-312-00003-0)