The Monkees

Mary, Mary

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From the inception of the Monkees multimedia project, Michael Nesmith was rightfully insistent that his compositions not only be considered for use on their recordings, but that he should likewise be the producer. "Mary, Mary" was an early Nesmith effort and, prior to its inclusion on 1967's More of the Monkees, the Chicago-based Paul Butterfield Blues Band released a version on their classic East-West album in 1966. While the subject matter was typical of the boy/girl paradigm prominent in many bubblegum pop songs of the era, "Mary, Mary" chugs along to a propulsive R&B backbeat, driving the number with an infectious rhythm from tip to tail. Although Nesmith was a competent guitarist, the trademark opening lick is credited to Glen Campbell, then a West Coast studio stalwart. Campbell is instrumentally flanked by guitarists James Burton and Al Casey, keyboardist Larry Knechtel, drummer Hal Blaine, and percussionists Jim Gordon and Gary Coleman. Other Monkees involved in the making of "Mary, Mary" were Peter Tork (by all accounts the most skilled and studied musician of the four) on guitar as well as Micky Dolenz, who turns in one of his best lead vocal performances to date. While not issued on a single, the track was incorporated into five episodes of the Monkees' weekly prime-time sitcom: "I've Got a Little Song Here," "Find the Monkees (The Audition)," "The Prince & the Paupers," "Alias Micky Dolenz," and fragments of a performance from the first season finale, "The Monkees on Tour." Parties interested in hearing the Prefab Four play the cut live should seek out Summer 1967: The Complete U.S. Concert Recordings box set from 2001. Nearly two decades later, Run-D.M.C. scored one of their biggest crossover hits with a rap remake on the 1988 crossover smash Tougher Than Leather.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
More of the Monkees 1967 Rhino 2:16
No Image 1969
Barrel Full of Monkees [Colgems] 1971 Colgems
No Image 1972 2:12
No Image 1980 EMI Music Distribution 2:10
No Image 1986 RCA / Columbia Music Vision Video
Anthology 1998 Rhino 2:17
Here They Come: The Greatest Hits of the Monkees 1998 WEA International 2:16
Music Box 2001 Rhino 2:17
The Definitive Monkees 2002 WEA / WEA Int'l 2:15
The Best of the Monkees [Rhino] 2003 Rhino 2:17
Last Train to Clarksville and Other Hits 2007 Flashback Records 2:16
I'm a Believer: The Best of the Monkees 2007 Music Club Deluxe 2:15
Forever the Monkees [Madacy] 2007 Madacy 2:16
Super Breaks: Return to the Old School 2009
Various Artists
BGP (Beat Goes Public) 2:16
Original Album Series 2010 Rhino 2:16
Monkeemania: The Very Best of the Monkees 2011 Rhino 2:17
The Monkees 50 2016 Rhino 2:17