Monkees – (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone

I’ve been posting some garage band songs lately…the style of this one is close. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote this but intended it for Paul Revere And The Raiders. Boyce and Hart also wrote The Monkees hits “Last Train To Clarksville” and “Valleri.” The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 in 1967. This was a B side to I’m A Believer.

The Monkees influenced many to pick up an instrument and want to be in a  band. I am one of those people…I watched them in syndication and from them, I found The Beatles.  They made it look fun and exciting…of course, they didn’t show the egos and the arguments but that is alright. Artists such as Michael Stipe and Andy Partridge have talked about how the Monkees influenced them.

The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame seems determined to keep them out which I think is wrong considering some of the bands that they have in there. The influence alone should get them in… Not to mention 20 songs in the Billboard 100, 6 top ten hits, and 3 number 1’s.

Here is a post by Blackwing on the subject.

From Songfacts

This is about a girl who walks all over a guy who decides he’s not going to take it any more.

Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz sang lead, and was the only Monkee to perform on the song. In their early years, The Monkees songs were usually recorded by top session musicians. The Monkees had a popular TV show where their songs (including this one) aired, which helped them climb the charts.

In their later years, The Sex Pistols performed this with Sid Vicious singing lead. 

British group The Farm had their first hit with a 1990 remake of this called “Stepping Stone.”

Monkees keyboardist/bass guitarist Peter Tork on the song’s relevance: “The songs that we got [in the ’60s] were really songs of some vigor and substance. ‘(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone’ is not peaches and cream. It comes down hard on the subject, poor girl. And the weight of the song is indicated by the fact that the Sex Pistols covered it. Anybody trying to write ”60s songs’ now thinks that you have to write ’59th St. Bridge.’ [Sings] ‘Feeling groovy!’ Which is an okay song, but has not got a lot of guts. ‘Stepping Stone’ has guts.”

(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone

I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone
I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone

You’re trying to make your mark in society
You’re using all the tricks that you used on me
You’re reading all them high-fashion magazines
The clothes you’re wearing, girl, they’re causing public scenes

I said, I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone
I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone


Not your steppin’ stone
Not your steppin’ stone

When I first met you, girl, you didn’t have no shoes
But, now you’re walking around like you’re front-page news
You’ve been awful careful ’bout the friends you choose
But, you won’t find my name in your book of “who’s-who?”

I said, I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone
(No, girl, not me!)
I-I-I-I-I’m not your steppin’ stone


Not your steppin’ stone
I’m not your steppin’ stone

Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)

No, girl, I’m not your steppin’ stone
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)
Not your steppin’ stone (step-step-steppin’ stone)

Monkees – Goin’ Down

I just rediscovered this song from watching Breaking Bad recently.

The Monkees “Goin’ Down” was released as the B side to Daydream Believer and reached only #104 in the Billboard 100. It was written by all four members of the Monkees and Diane Hildebrand. Micky Dolenz has a good pop/rock voice.

From Wiki

In 2012, the composition met with controversy for its unexpected use in the television show, Breaking Bad. Dolenz, who was unaware an abridged version of “Goin’ Down” was to be featured on the show, commented, “‘Goin’ Down’ has nothing to do with drugs, obviously. And I certainly don’t condone meth — that is nasty stuff that kills a lot of people and ruins a lot of lives. … On the other hand, I like the TV show, it’s very well-made. … And no, I didn’t make a penny”.

From Songfacts.

Peter Tork says this was based on Mose Allison’s “Parchment Farm.” It’s about a drunken guy who “ends it all” by jumping into the river, and immediately regrets it as he’s “Goin’ Down.”

Drummer Micky Dolenz sang lead.

All the Monkees got writer’s credit on this song.

This was released as the B-side of “Daydream Believer.”


Goin’ Down

Sock it to me…

Floatin’ down the river,
With a saturated liver,
And I wish I could forgive her,
But I do believe she meant it,
When she told me to forget it,
And I bet she will regret it,
When they find me in the morning wet and drowned.
And the word gets ’round.
I’m goin’ down
I’m goin’ down

A-comin’ up for air,
It’s pretty stuffy under there,
I’d like to say I didn’t care,
But I forgot to leave a note,
And it’s so hard to stay afloat,
I’m soakin’ wet without a boat,
And I knew I should have taken off my shoes.
Ah, it’s front-page news.
Goin’ down
Goin’ down

Hep Hep 
Hep Hep
Hep Hep 
Hep Hep
Hep Hep
Hep Hep

I wish I had another drink,
It wouldn’t be so hard to sink,
I should have taken time to think,
Besides I got the picture straight,
She must have had another date,
I didn’t need this extra weight,
I wish that I could see the way to shore.
I don’t want no more.
Goin’ down
I’m goin’ down

And now I see the life I led,
I slept it all away in bed,
I shoulda learned to swim instead,
And now it’s really got me stumped,
I can’t remember why I jumped,
I’d like to get my tummy pumped,
I can’t believe they drink this stuff in town.
This dirty brown.
Goin’ down
Goin’ down

I’m goin’ down, hep
Goin’ down
Hep Hep
Goin’ down Dga
Goin’ down goin’ down
Goin’ down goin’ down
Goin’ down

I wish I’d looked before I leaped,
I didn’t know it was so deep.
Been down so far I don’t get wet,
I haven’t touched the bottom yet.
This river scene is gettin’ old,
I’m hungry, sleepy, wet and cold.
She told me to forget it nice,
I should’ve taken her advice.
I only want to go on home,
I’d gladly leave that girl alone.
Wha-what a way to spend the night,
If I don’t drown, I’ll die of fright.
My pappy taught me how to float,
But I can’t swim a single note.
He threw me in to teach me how,
I stayed there floatin’ like a mama cow.
And now I’ve floated way down stream,
I know this has to be a dream.
If I could find my way to shore,
I’d never, never do this anymore.
I’ll give you three; I’ve been down nine,
I’m goin’ down just one more time.
Goin’ down
Ah dga, goin’ down
Dga goin’ down
Gah gah, goin’ down
I’m goin’ down
Go-go-go-goin’ down 
Back back back back home
Back back back home 
Back back back back home
Goin’ down
Goin’ down
I’m goin’ down
I’m goin’ back home
Back to my friends
Back to the one
Back to the truth
I’m goin’ home

Now the sky is gettin’ light,
And everything will be all right.
Think I’ve finally got the knack,
Just floatin’ here lazy on my back.
I never really liked that town,
I think I’ll ride the river down.
Just movin’ slow and floatin’ free,
There’s a river swingin’ under me.
Waving back to the folks on shore,
I should have thought of this before.
I’m floatin’ on down to New Orleans,
Gonna pick up on some swingin’ scenes.
I’m gonna know me a better day,
I’ll go down groovin’ all the way.
Goin’ down A-ahh
Go-go-goin’ down

I’m goin’ down
Back back back to New Orleans
Back back back back home
I’m go-goin’ down
A-hep hep hep, hep
I’m goin’ on down
Hep, hep, hep, hep
I’m go-go-go-goin’ down
I’m goin’ down
Goin’ down
Go go
Auhh Hep, hep hep, hep
Hep, hep hep
Dga, dga dga, dga
Dga, dga dga, dga
Dga, dga dga, dga
Dga, dga dga
Got ta go
Got ta go
Got ta go back home
I’m goin’ down-down-down-down-down-down the river
Down-da-down-down-down the river, yeah
Gotta go gotta go
Gotta go gotta go
Hep, auh, hep, hep
(Fade out)


The Monkees – Pleasant Valley Sunday

This song was written by Goffin and King about suburbia, The Monkees started to play their own instruments on the Headquarters. Pleasant Valley Sunday was released off the album and peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #11 in the UK and #1 in Canada in 1967.

The Monkees were hot in 1967. They outsold The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Their show was on the air from 1966 to 1968. The opening guitar lick of this song was based off The Beatles “I Want To Tell You.”

I grew up with reruns of their show. They influenced at least a couple of generations of musicians. This song is a very good pop song.

From Songfacts

Guitarist Mike Nesmith and drummer Micky Dolenz handled the vocals on this track (Dolenz also sang on “I’m A Believer”). Peter Tork of The Monkees explained to Bruce Pollack in 1982: “A notion of mine that I was real pleased with took over at one point, and that was having two guys sing in unison rather than one guy doubling his own voice. So you’ve got Mike, who was really a hard-nosed character, and Micky, who’s a real baby face, and these two voices blended and lent each other qualities. It’s not two separate voices singing together, it’s really a melding of the two voices. Listening to that record later on was a joy.”

Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork both cited this as their favorite Monkees song in a 1997 interview with Mojo.


“Pleasant Valley Sunday”

The local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn their song
They serenade the weekend squire
Who just came out to mow his lawn
Another pleasant valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to careSee Mrs. Gray, she’s proud today
Because her roses are in bloom
And Mr. Green, he’s so serene
He’s got a TV in every room
Another pleasant valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Mothers complain about how hard life is
And the kids just don’t understandCreature comfort goals, they only numb my soul
And make it hard for me to see
(Ah ah ah) ah thoughts all seem to stray to places far away
I need a change of sceneryTa ta ta ta, ta ta ta ta
Ta ta ta ta, ta ta ta taAnother pleasant valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Another pleasant valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Another pleasant valley Sunday (a pleasant valley Sunday)
Another pleasant valley Sunday (a pleasant valley Sunday)
Another pleasant valley Sunday (a pleasant valley Sunday)
Another pleasant valley Sunday (a pleasant valley Sunday)
Another pleasant valley Sunday (a pleasant valley Sunday)

Oddest Concert Pairings

I have always liked odd mixtures. Anything out of the norm and I pay attention. That is why I blog about the past more than today. I liked the 60’s and 70’s era because houses, cars, and music were for the most part unique. I couldn’t tell a Ford from a Chevy today. A lot of new houses look just alike in cloned neighborhoods.

I would have loved to have been at one of these concerts.

Jimi Hendrix / Monkees 1967 – This is number one on my list. Can you imagine the young Monkee fans hearing the sonic volume of Jimi Hendrix? Jimi had to play while a bunch of 12-year-old girls screamed “We want the Monkees” and “We want Davy. ” It was the sixties and Peter Tork said: “It didn’t cross anybody’s mind that it wasn’t gonna fly.”

The Who / Herman Hermits 1967 – Smash your guitars and drums and Hope I die before I get Old and then Mrs Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter?… You can imagine Peter Noone tripping over shards of guitars every night.

Lynyrd Skynyrd / Queen 1974 – This one is a head-scratcher. The theatrical Queen and the southern boys from Florida just don’t seem a great match. Roger Taylor of Queen had some ugly things to say about Lynyrd Skynyrd later on.

Bruce Springsteen / Anne Murray 1974 – This one is baffling. Anne Murray’s managers demanded that Bruce open the show for Anne in NYC! They argued she was more successful and she was…but this was New York and Bruce Springsteen…what a fatal mistake…halfway through Bruce’s set Anne’s managers regretted their decision. Many of the audience had left by the time Anne took the stage.

The Ramones/Toto 1979 – This one doesn’t make sense at all…what promoter thought this through? The laid-back ToTo fans sat through the Ramones but Toto singer Bobby Kimball, came out and apologized to the crowd for the “horrible band” they had to sit through.

Cher/Gregg Allman 1977 – Yes they were married but what an odd concert to go to. You have Gregg who was one of the best blues singers at that time and Cher…who was Cher…Gregg Allman mentions in his book “My Cross to Bear” that the audience was mixed…some with tuxedos and some with denim jackets and backpacks and there were fights at each show on the tour between the two sets of fans.

Gregg Allman

“It was right after that—the tuxedos against the backpacks, because I think the Allman Brothers outnumbered the Sonny and Chers—that Cher came to me, and the poor thing was just crying. I asked her what was wrong, and she told me, “We’ve got to cancel the rest of the tour, because I can’t stand the fighting.” So we ended it right then, which was about halfway through it. We went home the next day, and that was the last time I ever played with her.”

The Ramones / Ted Nugent, Aerosmith 1979 – Bottles and debris were thrown at The Ramones from the crowd as Johnny Ramone was shooting birds at the audience. 

Johnny Ramone about this concert…

“About five or six songs into the set, the whole crowd stood up, and I thought it had started to rain. Dee Dee thought the same thing, but they were throwing stuff at us – sandwiches, bottles, everything. Then, all of a sudden, I broke two strings on my guitar in one strum. I thought it was a sign from God to get off the stage, because I’d rarely break a string, maybe once a year. So I just walked to the front of the stage, stopped playing, and gave the audience the finger – with both hands. I stood there like that, flipping them off, with both hands out, and walked off. The rest of the band kept playing for another ten or fifteen seconds until they’d realized I was walking off, and then they did too. I wasn’t gonna stand there and be booed and have stuff thrown at us without retaliating in some way. We had to come off looking good somehow, and there was no good way to get out of that.”

Johnny Ramone.jpg





Influence of the Monkees

I debated on whether to write this or not. When the Monkees are mentioned some people cringe but they have a place in my 5-year-old self…plus how many bands can say that Jimi Hendrix opened up for them… though maybe the worst pairing ever.

While writing this I’m not saying they deserve to be remembered as a top rock group. Not at all but they do need to be recognized for their influence on a couple of generations. They influenced a lot of kids to form bands…mostly because of their weekly prime-time television show and ensuing hit singles. In the 80s they had a big comeback with a tour and massive airplay on MTV… I got to see them then…without Nesmith though.

When I was around 5-6 years old and watched the Monkees in syndication many years after they did the show.  I loved them. I thought WOW… I must be in a band one day. Little did I know that being in a band was not living in a cool place at the beach and having adventures at every turn…not to mention everyone getting along…it doesn’t happen. They had fun songs and influenced me…After I went through the Monkees faze I discovered the Beatles, The Who, Stones, Kinks…anything British but I have a soft spot for some of the old Monkees songs.

The Monkees basically took A Hard Days Night movie humor and made a television show around a life of a mid-sixties rock band. Kids wanted to form bands after seeing them romp around the screen with girls…who wouldn’t want that gig? Michael Stipe from REM is one that states he was influenced by the Monkees.

They were not allowed to play on their first couple of albums…only sing…The Monkees were put together by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider for Screen Gems with two real musicians in the band…Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork… Micky Dolenz (he did sing in cover bands before The Monkees) and Davy Jones could sing and act…. and Mickey quickly learned drums.

When news came out that they didn’t play on their albums they were roundly criticized in the 1960s. They fought Don Kershner who controlled what they sang…. and won… The funny thing is many sixties pop bands didn’t play on their records and the Monkees actually started to play their own instruments on their third album (Headquarters)  and writing some songs for every album afterward.

In the second season of their tv show they started to gain more control there also… Some of those last episodes are very pot influenced…especially the episode called “The Frodis Caper”… The episodes started to get surreal and break the fourth wall…the second season is worth a watch…all of them are fun but the 1st season is more formulaic.

HEAD The Movie…they made a trip movie called Head that Jack Nicholson helped to write… Personally, I like it but I like 60s movies like this. The one song that stands out is The Porpoise Song. The movie tears down the Monkee myth… One song/chant is the “Ditty Diego “… The first lines are “Hey, hey, we are the Monkees You know we love to please A manufactured image With no philosophies“…They didn’t take themselves seriously at all…they knew where they were at as far as a band goes. When they made the movie they knew it would destroy their image…that was the point.

I do still like some songs by them…anything wrote by Michael Nesmith (famous also for Elephant Parts), Pleasant Valley Sunday, Randy Scouse Git, Steppin Stone and Saturday’s Child.

All in all, they ended up singing and playing on some of the best-known sixties pop-rock hits….plus they drove one of those cool sixties tv cars…the Monkeemobile.