A Monkee will pay tribute to a King this summer — Carole King, that is.
Micky Dolenz, the Monkees’ self-described “wacky drummer,” will release “King For a Day” on Aug. 24, featuring his versions of 15 songs written or co-written by the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, whose contributions to the Monkees legacy includes the hit “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” “It’s a very exciting project,” Dolenz tells Billboard.com. “She wrote so many different types of tunes. If you look at my album, things from ‘Crying in the Rain’ to ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ to ‘Upon the Roof,’ the spectrum is as wide as you can possibly get. One of her great strengths is she can just write an any genre, any sort of mood and any sensibility.”
Among the other songs Dolenz and his producer — Beach Boys and Brian Wilson collaborator Jeff Foskett — chose for “King For a Day” are “Sweet Seasons,” “Point of No Return,” “Go Away Little Girl,” “It Might as Well Rain Until September,” the Righteous Brothers’ “Just Once in My Life” as a duet with Bill Medley and “I Feel the Earth Move” with “Hannah Montana” co-star Emily Osment. “We did want to mix it up a bit,” Dolenz explains. “Every single cut is not necessarily one of the big, Top 10 hits.”
Dolenz also opted to include a new version of “Sometime in the Morning,” another of the songs King wrote for the Monkees. “I’ve done it on stage a million times in the classic Monkees version,” he says, “but sitting at home just doodling around on the guitar, I came up with this kind of bluegrass, Cajun version, quite a different rhythm and a little bit faster.”
Dolenz says that, depending on time, he might including some of the “King For a Day” songs in his sets on this summer’s Happy Together Tour, though he says most of his performances will be dedicated to “all the Monkees greatest hits, in their entirety, the way people remember them.” As for a another Monkees reunion — the group has been dormant since about 2001 — Dolenz, who will be part of a U.K. tour in the musical “Hairspray” later this year, says “I’ve learned to never say never.”
“Every year, at least two or three times, somebody’ll bring it up or somebody will call and ask if I’m interested,” he explains. “You see, in the case of the Monkees, unlike the Beatles with Apple or the (Rolling) Stones with their management company, since the TV show went off the air there’s never been a Monkee management or a Monkee office or a Monkee business. Every once in awhile someone will come along and track us all down individually and say, ‘Do you want to go back and get together?’
“So my stock answer is, ‘You never know.’ It could happen tomorrow. It could never happen again. It’s just one of those things.”