The truth is most people didn’t! “Head” was the first and last feature film starring The Monkees! Released 49 years ago today Nov. 20, 1968….Columbia Pictures produced and distributed the film and everyone believed it was a sure bet. Their hugely popular series had just concluded a few month’s earlier, and they were still selling millions of records. The film was directed by Bob Rafelson ( the producer and director of their T.V. Series and the screenplay was written by…..wait for it…Jack Nicholson. Yep, THAT Jack Nicholson.
In addition to Micky, Davey, Peter and Mike,”Head included Cameo’s with Victor Mature Sonny Liston, Peter Fonda, Frank Zappa and Annette Funicelo. Originally called “Changes”this 87 minute mish mash with no script, no plot and no direction outside of The Monkees desire to explore and move beyond their “slapstick and silly 30 minute T.V. Show. They knew their core audience were young “teenagers” and believed “Head” would attract and appeal to a more mature and sophisticated audience which would bring them something they desperately desired CREDIBILITY!
“Head failed miserably, the film never came close to appealing To “the mature audience”, Afterall it was, The Monkees! But, even worse, with the films emphasis on Psychedelia, “Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll in Hollywood, much of their young core audience couldn’t or wouldn’t be allowed to see it.
Here are the hard numbers…”Head” cost $760,000 to produce, and the total box office receipts were… Wait for it….just a little over $16,000….Yikes ! To this day , Wikipedia describes “Head” as “Stunningly Unsuccessful”
Fans of the film claimed it was a sincere and valid attempt to emulate The Beatles and “A Hard Day’s Night”….Not even close.
comparing the greatest band in the world to the…er…ah…um Well, they weren’t even a real band!
Sooooo, we think you GET IT. But here’s the bottom line. Some historians ( including The Monkees) believe “Head” ended the careers of Mickey, Davey, Mike and Peter both as actors and musicians. Blaming Director Producer Bob Rafelson!
However, “Head” does have a reason for being, many more film and music historians believe “Head” should be celebrated and revered as the quintessential Movie of and about The 1960’s celebrating the excess, Psychedelia and creative experimentation we all attempted to indulge! For our money “Head” delivered Thee best Monkee’s song from their substantive catalog.
It’s called “The Porpoise Song” and it open’s and closes the movie. AND, it was written by Carole King and Jerry Goffin. A loud driving, yet plaintive ballad that is basically a Hammond B-3 organ and Mickey moaning his way thru a senseless lyric. BUT IT WORKS! And set’s the stage, that your about to experience something you’re not prepared for, by four Guy’s you never expected it from…. And in those brief moments of The Porpoise Song , My friends and I got “Head” in 1968….So, what about you, did you see this rare and unusual film Have you heard “The Porpoise Song”?
We bet you’ve heard it and never knew it. So, our advice to you is run to your nearest source and get “Head” in 2018… ( nostalgia and “Train Wreck Syndrome)
But first, let’s hear “The Porpoise Song”