Sunday, March 25, 2018
The Role Not Played
Song 400: This week on the playlist you can hear (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone by The Monkees, written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and you can find a YouTube video of it by clicking on the title. I heard this cut not long after it appeared as the B-side of I'm a Believer, perhaps courtesy of a friend spinning the 45, although I also might have heard it on the TV show, which I tried to catch whenever possible. Soon enough, a number of friends had copies of More of the Monkees, and thanks to them, I got to enjoy the LP quite a bit, as it quickly became a personal favorite. In particular, I always liked hearing the chorus harmonies on this track, picturing the shifting musical intervals as I listened. Somehow I gained access to the music book for the album, and from studying that manual to play this tune I learned all about the concept of bar chords and got a lot of practice doing those fingerboard moves. It surprised me to learn recently that the band actually did not like the record very much, even though it spent 18 weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart, also hit #1 in the UK and became the best-selling album of the year. Band member Mike Nesmith told Melody Maker magazine that More of the Monkees was "probably the worst album in the history of the world" but I personally think it deserved the honors it got, I liked it even better than their first 33, and I still prefer it to this day.