Pisces

Pisces

[pahy-seez, pis-eez]
Pisces [Lat.,=the fishes], constellation lying directly S of Andromeda and on the ecliptic (the sun's apparent path through the heavens) between Aries and Aquarius; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac. Pisces is traditionally depicted as two fishes. Because of the precession of the equinoxes, the vernal equinox has moved westward from the constellation Aries (where it was located c.2,000 years ago) into Pisces. There are no exceptionally bright stars in Pisces, but a nova was observed there in 1925. Pisces reaches its highest point in the evening sky in November.

(Latin: “Fishes”) In astronomy, the constellation lying between Aries and Aquarius; in astrology, the twelfth sign of the zodiac, governing approximately the period February 19–March 20. Its symbol is two fish tied together. These are a reference to the Greek myth of Aphrodite and Eros, who jumped into a river to escape the monster Typhon and were changed into fish. In another version of the myth, two fish carried them to safety.

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Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. was the fourth album by The Monkees, released on November 14, 1967, when the Monkees were exerting more control over their music and actually playing many of the instruments themselves, something their record company had previously forbidden. The group did employ studio musicians to a greater extent than their previous album, Headquarters, on which the four musicians played almost entirely on their own. Guitarist Michael Nesmith is heard vocally on this album more than ever before, singing lead on five cuts; conversely, Micky Dolenz sings lead on only three tracks after dominating the group's first three albums. The album's single, "Pleasant Valley Sunday"/"Words," was a double-sided hit.

The album is particularly interesting for the pioneering use of the Moog synthesizer, which Micky Dolenz introduced to the group and played in the studio; he owned one of the first twenty ever sold. Pisces is perhaps the first hit rock or pop album to feature the Moog. In any event, Pisces is one of the first few commercially issued recordings in any musical genre to feature the instrument. Micky Dolenz plays the synthesizer on "Daily Nightly" and electronic musician Paul Beaver plays the Moog on "Star Collector."

Two additional songs, which eventually became the single "Daydream Believer"/"Goin' Down," were recorded during the album sessions. Released in October 1967 as a prelude to the Pisces album, it would be the group's last #1 single.

The album's title stems from each band member's respective astrological sign (Dolenz is Pisces, Peter Tork is Aquarius, and both Nesmith and Davy Jones are Capricorn). However, since Nesmith and Jones share the same sign (as well as the same birthday, December 30), Davy's last name was placed at the end of the title to avoid confusion. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. sold over 2 million copies as Colgems #104.

The album's cover features a drawing by Bernard Yezsin of the four Monkees, their facial features blank, standing in a field of flowers with the group's guitar logo half-buried. The drawing was based on a photo of the group Yezsin had taken.

Track listing

Side 1

  1. "Salesman" (Craig Vincent Smith)
  2. "She Hangs Out" (Jeff Barry)
  3. "The Door Into Summer" (Chip Douglas, Bill Martin)
  4. "Love Is Only Sleeping" (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)
  5. "Cuddly Toy" (Harry Nilsson)
  6. "Words" (Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart)

Side 2

  1. "Hard To Believe" (David Jones, Kim Capli, Eddie Brick, Charlie Rockett)
  2. "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?" (Travis Lewis, Boomer Clark)
  3. "Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky" (Peter Tork)
  4. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)
  5. "Daily Nightly" (Michael Nesmith)
  6. "Don't Call On Me" (Nesmith, John London)
  7. "Star Collector" (Goffin, King)

Session info

"Salesman"

  • Written by Craig Vincent Smith
  • Lead vocal by Mike Nesmith with backing vocals by Micky Dolenz and Chip Douglas
  • Craig Vincent Smith was a friend of Nesmith's who later appeared in the band Penny Arkade, which Nesmith produced
  • Featured on the TV show in the episode "The Devil and Peter Tork" and caused controversy when NBC objected to the episode, citing the song and its veiled drug reference in the third verse.

"She Hangs Out"

  • Written by Jeff Barry
  • Lead vocal by Davy Jones
  • Used on episode #41, without the horns (the hornless master has unfortunately disappeared with time)
  • Trumpet: Pete Candoli, Robert Helfer, Al Porcine and Manuel Stevens
  • Trombone: Richard Leith, Richard Noel, Philip Teele
  • Arrangement: Shorty Rogers
  • This was a remake of the January 1967 cut that Don Kirshner released without authorization in Canada; the release helped lead to Kirshner's firing from Colgems records.
  • The original mono mix features a longer fade than on the stereo mix.

"The Door Into Summer"

  • Written by Chip Douglas and Bill Martin
  • Lead vocal by Mike Nesmith
  • Harmony vocal by Micky Dolenz
  • The title is from a novel by sci-fi author Robert A. Heinlein
  • Featured in the episodes "Monkees in Vegas" and "Some Like It Lukewarm"
  • Eddie Hoh is credited with drumming, but some evidence exists that the first take featured Micky on drums.

"Love Is Only Sleeping"

  • Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil
  • Lead vocal by Mike Nesmith
  • Not originally intended to be included on Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. as the song was to be issued as a single instead
  • After a manufacturing error caused some delays, Colgems rethought the strategy and released the more commercial "Daydream Believer" as the single instead, with "Goin' Down" as its B-side
  • The song was featured on three episodes of the TV show—"Everywhere A Sheik, Sheik," "I Was A 99-pound Weakling," and "The Monkees In Paris." The Paris episode feature's the song's released mix while the first two episodes feature a more stripped-down version derived from the song's original four-track mix before it was transferred to eight-track magnetic tape for additional mixing.

"Cuddly Toy"

  • Written by Harry Nilsson
  • Lead vocal by Davy Jones
  • Harmony vocal by Micky Dolenz
  • This song and "The Door Into Summer" are the only songs featuring Micky behind the drums on the album
  • Demo was under the name "By Any Boy"
  • Selected by the band after Nilsson auditioned several songs for the group
  • Strings, Horns: unknown

"Words"

  • Written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
  • Lead vocals by Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork
  • Originally recorded for More of The Monkees in August 1966, but re-recorded for this album under the group's direction
  • Organ used in the song is a Hammond B-3 (Played by Peter Tork)
  • Reached number 11 on the pop charts

"Hard To Believe"

  • Written by David Jones, Kim Capli, Eddie Brick, and Charlie Rockett
  • Lead vocal by Davy Jones
  • Recorded at the end of their tour on August 23, 1967
  • Trumpet: Oliver Mitchell, Anthony Terran
  • Bass Trombone: Robert Knight
  • French Horn: Vincent DeRosa
  • Baritone Sax: Jim Horn
  • Violin: Leonard Aitkins, Arnold Belnick, Nathan Kaproff, Wilbert Nuttycombe, Jerome Reisler and Darrel Terwilliger
  • Orchestrator: George Tipton
  • Arrangement: Roger Farris
  • Kim Capli and Davy Jones recorded this song alone, with multi-instrumentalist Capli laying the basic tracks.
  • This the only song on the album not to be used in a Monkees episode.

"What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?"

  • Written under the pseudonyms Travis Lewis and Boomer Clark, but actually the work of Michael Martin Murphey and Owens Castleman
  • Lead vocal by Mike Nesmith
  • Chosen by Mike for the country feel it gave off; Murphy was an old friend of Nesmith's
  • The released mix features group vocals, but an early mix featured only a double-tracked vocal by Mike.

"Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky"

  • Written by Peter Tork
  • Spoken words by Peter Tork
  • Taught to Peter by Judy Mayhan, whom he was managing at the time
  • Peter admits that it was public domain, but when Screen Gems asked who wrote it he gave his name (which he could do, as 'arranger' of the piece)

"Pleasant Valley Sunday"

  • Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King
  • Lead vocal by Micky Dolenz
  • Harmony vocal by Mike Nesmith
  • Backing vocals by Peter Tork and Davy Jones
  • Released as a single before the album on July 10, 1967
  • Recorded on June 10 and 11, 1967 after their Hollywood Bowl performance
  • Reached number 3 on the pop charts
  • The album and single mixes feature slightly different vocals by Micky on the opening verse.
  • The fade on both released mixes is deliberately drowned in reverb and noise, but a kareoke mix released in 2004 features a conventional fade.

"Daily Nightly"

  • Written by Michael Nesmith
  • Lead vocal by Micky Dolenz
  • Nesmith's inspiration for this song stemmed from the infamous Sunset Strip riots and the misinformation that the media reported about the event
  • First use ever of a Moog Synthesizer on a pop record, which was played by Dolenz

"Don't Call On Me"

  • Written by Michael Nesmith and John London
  • Lead vocal by Mike Nesmith
  • A reworked version of a pre-Monkees Nesmith song
  • Recorded during two Hollywood sessions, not from "the elegant Pump Room of the magnificent Palmer House, high over Chicago", which could not be possible anyway. The Pump Room Restuaurant and Palmer House Hotel are two separate businesses located in two different areas of Chicago.
  • Show producer Robert Rafelson played piano heard in the song's intro.

"Star Collector"

  • Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King
  • Lead vocal by Davy Jones
  • Moog used on the album for a second time, this time played by Paul Beaver
  • Song was about the growing phenomenon of groupies
  • An alternate mix without Paul Beaver's Moog riffing was used on the TV show in the biker-themed episode "The Wild Monkees." A different version of this Moog-less mix is featured on Rhino Records' 2007 two-disc re-release of the album.

CD bonus tracks

"Special Announcement"

  • Originally intended to be the kick-off to the album, it is a parody of the tape-alignment instructions for RCA studios.
  • Spoken words by Peter Tork

"Goin' Down"

  • Written by Diane Hilderbrand, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and David Jones
  • Lead vocal by Micky Dolenz
  • Electric Guitars: Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork
  • Bass: Chip Douglas
  • Drums: Eddie Hoh
  • Trumpets: Bud Brisbois, Virgil Evans, Uan Rasey and Thomas Scott
  • Trombones: Louis Blackburn, Richard Leith, Richard Nash and Philip Teele
  • Sax: William Collette, William Hood, Plas Johnson and John Lowe
  • Arrangement by Shorty Rogers
  • Produced by Chip Douglas
  • B-side of "Daydream Believer"
  • Intended to be on the album, but deleted after including "Love Is Only Sleeping" on the album
  • Inspired by Mose Allison and his song Parchman Farm. It began as a free-form jam and then Mike decided it should be recorded as an original track.

Salesman (alt. version)

  • Features a goofy sales pitch by Nesmith over the fade.

"The Door Into Summer" (alt. version)

  • Features a different background vocal arrangement (with a more prominent vocal by Micky) and an altered lead vocal by Mike

"Love Is Only Sleeping" (alt. version)

  • This is the original four-track mix before the song was transferred to eight-track tape for further overdubs; the four-track mix lacks the released version's extensive echo effects and also features alternate organ parts, particularly on the ending.

"Daily Nightly" (alt. mix)

  • Lacks Dolenz's synthesizer part

"Star Collector" (alt. longer version)

  • Features a longer Moog solo and an altered beginning and ending.
  • Is featured on Rhino Records' 2007 re-release of the album in both the longer Moog mix and also a Moog-less mix that features extensive backing vocals during the prolonged outro and fade.

Main personnel

  • Drums: Eddie Hoh, Micky Dolenz (Cuddly Toy), Kim Capli (Hard to Believe)
  • Guitars: Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, Bill Chadwick
  • Piano, Organ and Clavinet: Peter Tork, Chip Douglas, Bill Martin, Harry Nilsson, Bob Rafelson
  • Bass: Chip Douglas, Larry Taylor
  • Percussion: Davy Jones, Bill Martin
  • Banjo: Douglas Dillard, Peter Tork
  • Moog Synthesizer: Micky Dolenz, Paul Beaver
  • Vocals, Backing Vocals: Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith & Peter Tork

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1967 Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200) 1

Original Single

"Love Is Only Sleeping"/ "Daydream Believer"

The original single to precede the album was canceled due to fears that the title of the A-side might be too risqué.

Original Album

The track line up for the album, compiled on October 9, included the following songs:

Side 1:

  1. "Special Announcement"
  2. "She Hangs Out"
  3. "Salesman"
  4. "Cuddly Toy"
  5. "Words"
  6. "Don't Call On Me"
  7. "Goin' Down"

Side 2:

  1. "The Door Into Summer"
  2. "Hard To Believe"
  3. "What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?"
  4. "Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky"
  5. "Pleasant Valley Sunday"
  6. "Daily Nightly"
  7. "Star Collector"

References

  • All information can be found in Rhino Records' reissues (1995 and 2007) of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
  • The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story of the 60s TV Pop Sensation by Andrew Sandoval

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