‘We should get some lyrics written for that': One of the Monkees’ great improvisations … wasn’t

Likely owing to its quippy, rapid-fire delivery, the Monkees’ “Goin’ Down” — a non-album b-side variation on “Parchment Farm” by Mose Allison that accompanied Davy Jones’ huge hit “Daydream Believer” — has long been thought to have arrived as one brilliant off-the-cuff improvisation.

Not so, co-writer Micky Dolenz confirms. “We had already worked up a lot of the music, and had it lying around,” he tells Jim Ousley. “It was actually Mike [Nesmith] that said, ‘We should get some lyrics written for that; it could be a great tune.’ We went out to [songwriter] Diane Hildebrand’s place and finished it up.”

Dolenz, Jones, Nesmith, Hildebrand and fellow Monkee Peter Tork each get a co-composing credit on the track, which later found a home on the expanded mid-1990s Rhino reissue of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, LTD. From there, its reputation only grew.

Since, “Goin’ Down” has memorably appeared on a 2012 episode of Breaking Bad, and then on setlists for subsequent dates featuring the reunited Dolenz, Nesmith and Tork — though the latter performances included some slight modifications. “As you know, it’s a very long song in its original version,” Dolenz adds. “I take out one of the verses, and it still works.”

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