Micky Dolenz’s initial composing credit for the Monkees, 1967’s “Randy Scouse Git,” certainly rocked the boat in England — where the tune had to be renamed to avoid the overtly sexual connotation of its name. Just what the group was trying to say about the era’s free-love revolution became a hot topic.
Dolenz and the Monkees, of course, weren’t accustomed to this sort of controversy and, in fact, weren’t courting it with a song based entirely on having fun with the language.
“It was just a total word association, almost,” Dolenz says in a newly posted talk with Monkees Live Almanac. “‘Randy Scouse Git’ wasn’t an attempt to do anything. It was something I wrote the day after the Beatles threw us this party. We were just sitting around the hotel, writing.”
The controversial song, which nevertheless reached No. 2 on the UK charts as (no kidding) “Alternate Title,” appeared on the Monkees’ “palace revolt” project Headquarters — and was later re-recorded for Dolenz’s 2012 solo album Remember. By then, it had become generally understood that “Randy Scouse Git” was not the Monkees’ first moment of social commentary, despite its reputation. For that, you had to go much further back.
“The first song we had, ‘Last Train to Clarksville,’ was — in its own little tempered way — an anti-war song,” says Dolenz, who has a solo tour continuing next week. “It was about a soldier going off to Vietnam, though it wasn’t very heavy handed. [Monkees partner] Peter [Tork], especially, was always trying to get some social comment into the music, and into the show. But NBC was very, very careful and they censored usually any attempt we made.”