The Monkees Albums Ranked

The Monkees are an American rock and pop band originally active between 1966 and 1971, with reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. Their original line-up consisted of the American actor/musicians Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork with English actor/singer Davy Jones. The group was conceived in 1965 by television producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider specifically for the situation comedy series The Monkees, which aired from 1966 to 1968. The band’s music was initially supervised by record producer Don Kirshner, backed by the songwriting duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.
Following the television show’s cancellation in 1968, the Monkees continued to record music until 1971, after which the group broke up. A revival of interest in the television show came in 1986, which led to a series of reunion tours and new records. The group has reunited and toured several times since then with different line-ups (but always containing Micky Dolenz and at least one of the other original members) and with varying degrees of success. Jones died in February 2012 and Tork died in February 2019. Dolenz and Nesmith remain active members of the group.
Dolenz described The Monkees as initially being “a TV show about an imaginary band… that wanted to be the Beatles that was never successful”. Ironically, the success of the show led to the actor-musicians becoming one of the most successful bands of the 1960s.  Here are all of The Monkee’s albums ranked,

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10. Missing Links, Vol. 3 (1996)

“The Monkees Missing Links Volume Three is fifty one minutes and fifty eight seconds and was released on March 26, 1996. This is the last of the Missing Links collection and the hardest to find. The CD contains tracks from record from 1966 to 1969 but never made it to the album. The one exception is Tema Dei Monkees which was featured on the compilation album Monkee Business. Tema Dei Monkees is Micky Dolenz trying to sing the Italian version of the Monkees Theme song phonetically one syllable at a time and he does a decent job at doing so. Also included is the Kellogg’s Jingle that followed right after the theme song on each episode of the Monkees.”

9. The Monkees Present (1969)

“Deep, introspective, and I dare say Nashville-esque. The Monkees’ final effort to contribute a deep and lasting artistic effort to the 60’s. The vinyl edition is worth the the purchase. Reasons? The horn section comes alive on Nesmith’s “Listen To The Band”, the guitar picking on Micky’s “Little Girl” sounds less compressed, and Davy’s vocals on “French Song” sound hauntingly fresh. Audiophiles will indulge the ear candy of THE MONKEES PRESENT on wonderful YELLOW VINYL.”

8. Missing Links (1994)

“Missing Links is 41 minutes and 54 seconds long and was released on July 6, 1987. The CD never charted. With the exception to Apples, Peaches, Bananas, and Pears, none of the other songs never made it to any of their albums or on the show. Apples, Peaches, Bananas, and Pears was feature on the show, but not on any album. Also Teeny Tiny Gnome correct title is Kicking Stones. I like all of the songs on it. Also the song that should of been a hit, but never got a chance, All of Your Toys. For some reason or other it did not make any album. Davey sings lead on seven of the songs; while Mickey and Mike are tied at four and Peter on one. This CD is a must for and Monkees fans.”

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7. Instant Replay (1969)

“This is one of those albums that doesn’t get mentioned often since it came out after the TV show went off the air, but I really love it. A bit of a hodge-podge of songs, but some great cuts. Monkee fans should dig it (even though Peter was gone by this time). Fans of early country-rock should appreciate the Nesmith tracks. Micky has some weird & wonderful contributions, including what should be considered one of the first (if not the first) rock opera song “Shorty Blackwell”…done completely tongue-in-cheek! Then there’s one of the finest rock songs ever recorded, yet pretty much ignored because it was written & sung by Davy, “You & I”. Sit up & take notice, ’cause even Neil Young knew this was exceptional & he provided a wicked guitar solo – dig that!”

6. The Birds, the Bees & The Monkees (1968)

“Right off the bat, I noticed one big difference from previous albums: the prominent use of horns. Furthermore, I remembered that on the Byrds album “Notorious Byrd Brothers”, horns were used, and both albums were released in 1968. I guess horns were big that year. They are featured on “Dream World” and “The Poster”, pleasant, mid-tempo numbers sung by Davy; “We Were Made For Each Other”, a ballad by Davy which also features strings; “I’ll Be Back On My Feet”, an upbeat pop tune which Micky sings; and two big hit songs also sung by Davy – “Daydream Believer”, the very charming ballad which also features strings and Peter Tork’s piano, and “Valleri”, a rocker from Boyce & Hart distinguished by flamenco guitar.”

5. Head (1968)

“Head sounds like nothing that the Monkees ever did before. This is the soundtrack to their very trippy movie which reminds you of a ’60s version of Pulp Fiction. First of all, if you’re looking for the bubblegum pop of “Daydream Believer” or “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You”, you won’t find it here. The album itself is six tracks mixed in with snippets from the movie. Yes, it’s a short album, even with all the bonus tracks it’s only 45 minutes. Having said that, some of their best tracks ever are here. “Porpoise Song” was a great single and the most psychedelic song they’d ever release. Peter Tork’s tracks “Can You Dig It”, with its Eastern melodies, and “Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Again” are excellent tracks. Michael Nesmith’s “Circle Sky” is perhaps the best rock song they’ve ever performed. The acoustic “As We Go Along”, with a great vocal by Mickey Dolenz, and the 1920’s-sounding “Daddy’s Song” are strong as well. “

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4. The Monkees (1966)

“Well – this album is filled with all that is pure and sweet and good about the Monkees. Mastermind Don Kirschner created a perfect storm of the 4 fellas providing vocal tracks of lyrics penned by some of the best of the Brill building with the skilled mastery of session musicians backing it all up. This record is overflowing with hits that everyone can sing along with. The original release tracks all appear in various episodes of the television series (some more than once!), while the deluxe version boasts previously unissued tracks that are a must for the true Monkees fan. Plus, noted Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval provides tales and trivia in the liner notes that enrich the package beyond your typical record buying expectations.”

3. More of the Monkees (1967)

“Mary Mary is one of the grooviest 60s numbers ever and it was written by Mike Nesmith! Micky dolenz and the wool hat made The Monkees! Peter tork made a good contribution as well but I reckon Davy Jones just came along for the ride and something for the girls to scream at But saying that they wouldn’t have been the same without him they where the first and best American boy band never to be beaten.”

2. Headquarters (1967)

“Although the Monkees first two LPs were good, this was their first great record — and probably their best (It’s a toss-up between this one and ‘Pisces, Aquarius….’). If only for the reason that this is the first Monkees record to feature the band playing their own instruments, it would always be considered a success. But they not only play capably, they actually managed to make an important record of serious music, superior to their previous efforts done with professional musicians. Nothing they had done previously compares with the likes of ‘Shades of Gray’ or ‘For Pete’s Sake’. The record is full of gems (‘You Just May Be The One’, “Randy Scouse Git’, ‘Early Morning Blues and Greens’) and the bonus tracks are fantastic. What a record this would have been had it included ‘The Girl I Knew Somewhere’ (my favorite Monkees song) and ‘All of Your Toys’, both included here for the first time. Very highly recommended.”

1. Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (1967)

“No, I’m not kidding. ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.’ is not only the Monkees’ best album (‘Headquarters’ ranks a close second), it’s one of the ten best rock or pop albums of the ’60’s, and ranks right alongside ‘Revolver’, ‘Pet Sounds’, ‘Forever Changes’, ‘Beggars Banquet’, ‘Highway 61 Revisited’, ‘Are You Experienced ?’ and ‘Rubber Soul’. A reevaluation of the Monkees’ collective talents is WAY overdue; when you realize that these guys came together as two actors and two semi-pro musicians who auditioned for a TV series because they were in desperate need of work AND THEN forced themselves to become a REAL band, it’s pretty amazing just how damn good (and often great) they became. If you don’t have this one in your collection of ’60’s rock CDs, you really are missing out on a vital link between the cheerier pop/rock of the early ’60’s and the darker, more foreboding sounds of the late ’60’s. ‘Pisces’ will hopefully lead you to discover the Monkees’ always good and frequently brilliant catalog of music.”