The Monkees’ “Words” was originally performed by another band

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TL; DR:

  • The Monkees “words” came from the same authors as “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.”
  • “Words” was originally performed by another band.
  • The Monkees track appeared on a hit album.
Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork of the Monkees | Archive of Michael Ochs / Stringer

The Monkees’ “Words” became a hit in the United States. Despite this, the Prefab Four were not the first band to perform the track. Notably, the first band to play “Words” had a major connection to The Monkees.

The Monkees songwriters were in a band

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart co-wrote many Monkees songs under the Boyce & Hart name. In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart discussed performing songs with Boyce before becoming involved with The Monkees. “We started an indefinite commitment playing six nights a week at a club on Pico Boulevard called The Swinger,” he wrote.

Boyce & Hart thought they were giving their career an ambitious direction. “Soon we started toying with the idea of ​​becoming a real band and looking for a record deal,” he recalls. “We incorporated original Boyce & Hart songs into our repertoire: ‘She’, ‘Words’ and ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.'” Boyce & Hart played all of these songs with a band called The Candy Save the prophets before the monkeys save them.

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Boyce & Hart thought “Words” would work for The Monkees

Hart explained the origin of his band’s name. “I guess you could call our music psychedelic blues,” he said. “When Larry Taylor’s stepfather heard about the plan, he offered to be our manager, adding, ‘I have the perfect name for the band: The Candy Store Prophets. “”

Subsequently, Boyce & Hart chose which of their songs would work well for the Prefab Four. “In addition to the new theme and the obvious string quartet ballad, ‘I Wanna Be Free’, there was ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone’, ‘Words’, ‘She’, a song which Tommy wrote with Steve Venet called “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day”, a song we were still working on called “This Just Doesn’t Seem To Be My Day”, and our novelty nomination, “I’m Gonna Buy Me a Chien,” he wrote.

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How ‘Words’ and its parent album fared on the charts in the US and UK

“Words” became a hit for The Monkees in the United States. The track reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for nine weeks. “Words” appeared on the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for five weeks and remained on the chart for a total of 64 weeks.

The Official Map Company reports “Words” never charted in the UK. Meanwhile, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. reached No. 5 in the UK. It stayed on the chart for 11 weeks.

“Words” was a hit for The Monkees even though they weren’t the first band to perform it.

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