Monday, December 9, 2013

The Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville"

There is an interesting story about "Last Train to Clarksville," the Monkees' first Number One hit it the US. Writers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart came up with the song in the summer of 1966. In The Monkees by Andrew Sandoval,  Hart is quoted as saying, "As I was pulling into my carport I was punching the radio stations and I heard just the tail end of "Paperback Writer" for the first time....I thought they were saying, 'take the last train....' to something. Then of course a couple of days later I heard the whole song and  I realized it wasn't about a train....So, I just had it in the back of my mind. Then we were coming down to the end of producing the first album and we needed another song or two. So I said I had this idea and Tommy and I got together and did it really quickly. "

The song was released on August 16, and by the week of November 5, 1966 it was Number One.

When I was a kid I was not a huge fan of this song; maybe because they played it all the time. I liked more of the Monkees' less popular songs. Now, though, I really like it. Did you ever happen to notice that it's about a guy meeting up with his girlfriend before he gets shipped off, presumably to Vietnam? It's actually a pretty deep song about loneliness, duty, and love. Give it a listen.

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