Album: The Bird, The Bees, and The Monkees (1968)
Charted: 12 3


  • The songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote this in 1966. The pair met in 1959 and moved to New York to write songs. They had their first nibble on the charts with a minor hit for Chubby Checker called "Lazy Elsie Molly" in 1964, but had their greatest success as the musical masterminds of The Monkees - they wrote the theme song to their famous TV show and became the group's producers after attempts with Mickie Most, Snuff Garrett and Carole King didn't work out. "Last Train To Clarksville," which was The Monkees first hit, was a Boyce/Hart composition.
  • This was written and first recorded in the summer of 1966, as songs were being cranked out for The Monkees TV series, set to debut in September. Don Kirshner was the musical supervisor of the show, and he needed two songs for every weekly episode. He particularly wanted songs with girls' names, and Boyce and Hart delivered "Valleri."
  • Boyce had been working on a song for The Monkees when Kirshner called with his request for "a great girl-name song." Boyce took the call and said they had one, which was a lie. He and Hart quickly put pieces of the song together based on what Boyce had written, and they drove to Kirshner's house to play it. "Valleri" was the name of a girl Hart pined for in high school, and it became the title of the song when they were shouting girls' names back and forth on their drive. They sang their "song" to Kirshner (some accounts have this in his living room, while other lore has him standing in his bathrobe in the front door), and Kirshner felt that if the song were finished, it would be a huge hit; so he sent them back home to add verses and polish it up. They finished the first verse later in the day and booked studio time for the next afternoon, where they recorded the instrumental tracks - The Monkees did not play on their own records at this time. The Monkees added their vocals the next day, by which time Boyce and Hart had finished the lyrics.
  • "Valleri" was first heard in the "Captain Crocodile" episode of The Monkees, which aired February 20, 1967, and again on the "Monkees at the Movies" episode April 17, 1967.

    This first recording was considered a rough version, as Kirshner planned to polish it up for inclusion on their second album, but Kirshner had a falling out with The Monkees (especially Mike Nesmith) and was fired in early 1967 after releasing "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You" without first informing the group, so the song never made it to that second album, which was released in April.

    This rough version of the song had been taped off the TV by two enterprising disc jockeys, one in Chicago, one in Florida, and as demand for anything Monkees began to spread, they playing this taped TV version on their radio shows, something that would happen many years later with the Friends theme. Listeners to the stations airing the rough mix of "Valleri" started writing the Monkees' distributor Colgems Records, asking where they could buy a copy of the record that they had just heard.

    There was plenty of demand, but only a rough mix of the song available, and Boyce and Hart were no longer working with The Monkees. Not only that, but the group had by this time (late 1967) written into their contracts that they would perform on their records and be credited as producers. This meant that anything from the original sessions could not be used, so Colgems asked Boyce and Hart to come back and try to rerecord the song as faithfully to the original as they could. In late December 1967, Boyce and Hart recorded the new version with The Monkees, which was released as a single in March 1968, 13 months after it was first performed on the TV show.
  • "Valleri" (backed with "Tapioca Tundra") hit #3 shortly before the TV show was removed from prime time in 1968. It was the group's last Top 10 hit. Later that year, the Monkees movie and LP Head were released (December and November, respectively) to indifferent reaction. Peter Tork left the group in December 1968.
  • Famed session guitarist Louie Shelton played the solos on this song, both the original TV version and the second version that was released as a single. Bobby Hart credits Shelton's contribution for much of the song's success, telling Forgotten Hits: Louie Shelton's great Flamenco work added greatly to the song's appeal. Although he tried to duplicate his guitar work the second time we produced the song, I don't think he was ever quite able to match the magic of his first spontaneous solos."

    Shelton, who also played on "Last Train To Clarksville," released a few solo albums and in the '70s. He also worked extensively with Seals & Crofts as producer and guitar player.
  • There were two single releases of this song that were distributed. The hit single version fades out at the end, but there is also another version that is often played on oldies radio that has a cold ending.

Comments: 28

  • Joe from Newtown Square, PaI just have to correct something major here. The Beach Boys played their own instruments even after Brian Wilson started using the Wrecking Crew. Carl is on many Wrecking Crew era songs on guitar, plus that's Dennis playing the organ on Good Vibrations. Brian also is on the released tracks. One just needs to look over the session sheets to see this.

    When Brian stopped touring, the other four and Glen Campbell, then Bruce Johnston, were out on tour. Brian would do his creativity (writing, arranging, producing) and utilize the Wrecking Crew to bang out the instrumental tracks. The others would come home and add the vocals, plus more instruments to the final track. The guys never argued about it as it allowed them more time to go do other things. When they toured, it still was the five of them playing the instruments. By the late 60s, early 70s, they were expanding that touring unit with horns and other instruments.

    I love the Monkees, but comparing them to Brian Wilson and what he was doing with the Beach Boys is like comparing a Pinto to a Maserati.

    Once Brian retreated, (mid 67 onward), most instruments were the band playing on sessions. They started using Brian's home studio instead of Gold Star, Western, and Columbia, and the Wrecking Crew members faded out of the scene (especially since Brian, the influence in using them, had faded).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyConcerning the next post below; the B-side of Valleri" was "Tapioca Tundra" and it also entered the Top 100 on March 3rd, 1968, but way down at #73; and three weeks later on March 24th, 1968 it peaked at #34 {for 1 week} and stay on the chart for 6 weeks.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 3rd 1968, "Valleri" by the Monkees entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #24; and on March 24th it peaked at #3 (for 2 weeks) and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 5 of those 10 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It was the sixth and last in a string of six straight Top 10 hits by the quartet; started with "Last Train to Clarksville" (#1 for 1 week in 1966), "I'm A Believer" (#1 for 7 weeks in 1966), "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You" (#2 for 1 week in 1967), "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (#3 in 1967), "Daydream Believer" (#1 for 4 weeks in 1967), and finally this one...
    Two completely different records titled "Valerie" have charted; in 1971 Cymarron's "Valerie" peaked at #96, then in 1982 Steve Winwood's "Valerie" reached #70...
    R.I.P. Mr. Jones (1945 - 2012).
  • Jed from Fond Du Lac, WiGlen Campbell has stated in interviews that he wouldn't comment on who played the guitar parts on this song or Last Train to Clarksville, and then he "winks" at the camera. So you can take it for what it is worth.
  • Kevin from Dayton, OhActually, the TV version was also recorded over the air and played on WING-AM in Dayton, Ohio. I heard it there when I was 10, and for years, when I'd ask the station about it, they would reply that there was no version other than the one on the Greatest Hits album. When Missing Links was released, I got a copy immediately,, as the Music Director for the station, I played it on the air when WING was an oldies station.
  • Margarita from Topanga, CaQuestion from Lance, Pittsburgh, PA-Anyone know who Valleri was?

    This song was written about Valerie Kairys, who was sometimes called the Fifth Monkee. She was on maybe 13 episodes total, and she was just stunning.
  • Dan from Towson, MdIn the video: Mike does a pretty good job pretending to play the chords, but Davy is way off on that tambourine.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThe Monkees' first six releases all made the Top 10, with "Valleri" being their last Top 10 record. After that the closest one of their songs to the Top 10 was "D.W. Washburn" which peaked at #19...
  • Rick from Belfast, MeThe greatest of all the Monkee songs.....just like hearing this song....takes me back to when I was a teenager in the early 70's
  • Harold from San Bernadino, CaMike,CA----you may be right. if it's not Bryant, it could be one of the other guitarists in the "wrecking crew". they were actually involved in doing the backing tracks for alot of these songs.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI like the Captain Crocidile Version of Valleri better.
  • Ed from Lake City, Fldavy was the only monkee in t6he studio when the song was recorded, because they were in the midst of breaking up
  • Duke from Colorado Springs, CoLouie Shelton was the lead guitarist on Vallerie. He and another Set musician by the name of Gerry McGee did much of the guitar work for the Monkees. Gerry is currently the lead guitarist for the Ventures and was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Mike from Los Angeles, CaI understand that Jimmy Bryant was a studio guitarist involved in some of the Monkees songs. The lead guitar playing sure sounds like some of his work. Is this possible?.
  • Guy from Benson, NcThe comment about the Beach Boys not getting any flack peaked my interest. You have to remember two things about this: 1. The Beach Boys played on most of their early hits(the surf, cars, girls songs). 2. When they stopped playing on their hits they changed styles to more experimental music/song forms. The Monkees were a Bubblegum band promoted as the next Beatles. They were set up by the record company to get no real respect. Saying this though, they had to know what they were getting into.
  • Lance from Pittsburgh, PaI believe "Valleri" was originally spelled "Valerie" in the "Captain Crocodile" episode. The spelling changged to two l's and dropped the e. Check it out. Cool song though. Wonder if Valleri was about any particular girl? Anybody know?
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesFrom the amount of publicity this received on WLS the day it came out, one would expect at least the Second Coming of Elvis. From Clark Weber all day until Ron Riley actually spun the track at (I believe) 7 p.m., heavy emphasis was laid on the cataclysmic importance of this piece of vinyl. The much more interesting, and in many ways superior, "Tapioca Tundra" was treated as a knockoff novelty song, although receiving its due as "the other side of Valleri". The question in my mind, then and now, is: why? Why was this particular Monkees release publicised to this extreme in comparison to prior or subsequent Monkees recordings? Did this happen on other stations?
  • Charles from Bronxville, NyDirk-
    Mike and Peter were both musicians and songwriters and you'll learn in life that there is no such thing as a free ride, especially if you let annoying little things like artistic pride and integrity enter the equation, something all of them did.
    1.The real money is in who owns the publishing rights, not who stars on the show. This is why Kirshner and crew were kess than interested in using any of the songs that the band wrote - the band would own the royalties.
    2. Any hope that any of them had to be accepted as serious musicans was pretty much destroyed by appearing on the show.
    When it came out that they only sang on the first two albums, (although Peter and Mike both contributed to the writing) they became pariahs.

    John Lennon understood the deal "We love you guys, you're like the Marx Brothers!" Which was really the case with the TV show.

    The funny thing is that most of the Beach Boys instrumental work was done by studio musicans, but they never got flack for that, and they were passing as real musicans, not a TV act.

    In the end they created some wonderful records, and ironically many fans feel the best one is Headquarters, which was entirely produced by them. Not as slick as the other efforts, but that really is The Monkee's sound.
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnThat's odd. You'd think he'd simply be grateful for the free ride to fame and riches he and his fellow actors received. In the end, all they did was screw up a good thing.... But, of course, that's sort of what the Sixties were all about.
  • Richard from Lansing, MiDirk: Mike felt (as do I) that the song was over produced. Adding the uneccessary horns, and such. This was one of Boyce and Hart's failing in later years. If you know ANYTHING of the Monkees' history, you know that Papa Nez fought for and eventually gained the right for the Monkees to play on their own records. Which they did for about one and a half albums before starting to produce individual sessions..
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnSo... please explain, one of you Monkees people...Why, exactly, did Mike Nesmith hate this song? I asume he made some substantial amount of spending cash from pretending to sing on a record and appearing on a hit TV show in which he pretended to play guitar on the song in a band that pretended to exist outside of TV... Was it the melody he didn't like?
  • Brian from Providence, RiI don't know if anyone else picked up on it, but while simulating "Valleri" for the "Captain Crocodile" episode, Mike especially appears ticked off at even having to air guitar the song.
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiaso Mike Nesmith was doin' a bit of air guitar ????? shame Mike shame
  • Louie from L.a., CaThe guitar solo on "Valleri" was played by Louie Shelton.
  • Keith from Slc, UtThis song inspired a NYC pirate radio station. "Radio Free Valleri" was on the air regularly for several years in the late 1970s, and was so popular in their limited listening area that the song enjoyed a resurgence on NYC oldies radio. RFV broadcasts began with a few seconds of dead air, followed by the first few bars of the song.
  • Randy from Henderson, NvThere were two versions of Valleri.

    One was used in the first season of the show (1966). If you are familiar with the episodes, it was used on the Captain Crocodile episode and features Davy being lifted by a "cherry picker" as he sings the verse so he can be closer to the camera (and girls can swoon). The first season TV version had Glen Campbell playing the musical bridge.

    The single version was released in eary 1968 in defiance of the Monkees' protests concerning their creative control. This version, recorded on December 26, 1967 featured Louie Shelton and Gerry McGee on guitar. Which of them played the famous interlude is up for debate.
  • Tammy from Rochester, NyThe BBM liner notes list Gerry McGee and Louie Shelton asa the guitar players for this song.
  • Gene from Hammond, InQuestion: Who played the great 8-bar guitar arpeggios in "Valleri"? As much as I appreciate Mike Nesmith's musical/songwriting ability, it does not sound like he played those parts. Was it maybe Glen Campbell, Tommy Tedesco or another great session man? Can anyone help with this one?
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