Micky Dolenz on a Monkees song that got away: ‘I always kick myself in the butt’

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Micky Dolenz was blessed with some of the best material of the era as part of the Monkees, from Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart (“Steppin’ Stone,” “Last Train to Clarksville”) to Gerry Goffin and Carole King (“Pleasant Valley Sunday”) to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (“D.W. Washburn”) to Neil Diamond (“I’m a Believer”).

But there was one that got away — at least, for a while. Seems the Monkees were pitched the amiable ballad “Diary” well before it became a Top 20 hit for Bread as part of their 1972 album Baby I’m-a Want You.

“David Gates, of course, was part of the stable, part of the Brill Building West,” Micky Dolenz told Paul Freeman of Pop Culture Classics. “I remember meeting him in the writers’ little building. And he wrote a couple things for the Monkees. And it was towards the middle or end of the recording thing that the publisher gave me that demo, that acetate. I still have it. [Laughs.] And he said ‘I guess you should do this.'”

At that point, however, Micky Dolenz had his misgivings. “I don’t know, I guess I was just being stupid at the time,” Dolenz admits. “I said, ‘No, I didn’t think I should do a ballad.’ It was actually not until a number of years later that he got that out with Bread. And I always kick myself in the butt for not doing it, because the Bread version is one of my favorite tunes.”

That wrong was finally righted when Micky Dolenz included Gates’ “Diary” on his 2012 solo release Remember. “When I told that story to my producer, when we were putting together the concept for the album,” Dolenz adds, “he said, ‘Oh, let me fool around with that and see what I can come up with.'”

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  • Queen Edwards

    Oooohhhhhh….Micky….baby I always will love your voice. Thanks for inspiring me to sing and write songs.

  • IronV

    Micky. One of the truly great lead singers in the Rock Era.

  • Abby Torres-Soto

    Awesome cover of this song! Those pipes are still working dude!

  • Bradley Kepler

    Better late than never