Micky Dolenz Sings R.E.M.

Many established artists show their appreciation for the bands they appreciate by paying tribute to their songs, both live and on record. Everyone from The Byrds and David Bowie to Patti Smith and Dolly Parton have released covers records. Tribute albums saluting groups ranging from The Ramones to Johny Cash and The Carpenters have been issued throughout the years. Rock and pop fans will get a special treat as 7a Records releases Dolenz Sings R.E.M., an EP that features a quartet of songs by the Athens, Georgia-based alternative rockers, covered by Micky Dolenz of The Monkees.

Dolenz Sings R.E.M. is a followup to 2021’s well-received Dolenz Sings Nesmith, an album on which Dolenz paid tribute to his former bandmate by lovingly re-interpreting songs penned by Michael Nesmith from his career, both with The Monkees and as a solo artist. The record was produced by Nesmith’s son, Christian, who is also behind the boards for Dolenz Sings R.E.M. The freshly minted arrangements breathe new life into these much-loved songs. The EP includes Dolenz’s versions of “Radio Free Europe,” “Man on the Moon,” “Leaving New York” and the first single, the former Monkee’s take on “Shiny Happy People.”

The new EP isn’t the only Dolenz-related project that will see the light of day this year. Beatland Books is releasing I’m Told I Had A Good Time: The Micky Dolenz Archives, Volume One. The book, which tells the story of Micky’s life from the 1940s to the 1970s, will feature exclusive photos and reproductions of handwritten lyrics and artwork, accompanied by text and commentary compiled from recent interviews with Micky by author Andrew Sandoval.

In addition to photos of The Monkees, the book will include never-before-seen images of Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Ringo Starr, and Alice Cooper, all from Micky’s personal collection. It’s a treasure trove not only for Monkees fans but for classic rock and pop music aficionados.

Micky Dolenz and R.E.M.? It’s not quite as offbeat a pairing as some might think. Michael Stipe, Mike Mills, Peter Buck, and Scott McCaughey of R.E.M. all waxed enthusiastically about the project in recent interviews, and Dolenz has expressed his admiration for R.E.M’s work as well. The engaging music video for his extraordinary version of “Shiny Happy People,” featuring some very George Harrison-esque guitar, accompanied by film and photos from throughout his life, fully illustrates that Dolenz Sings R.E.M. will be worth checking out when it’s released on November 3 on 7a Records as will I’m Told I Had A Good Time: The Micky Dolenz Archives, Volume One, which comes out in December.

-John Visconti

Fair use image of Dolenz Sings R.E.M.

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John Visconti is a lifelong music and movies aficionado with wide-ranging tastes, from The British Invasion and Motown, to the blues, a dash of jazz, on through to power pop, funk, retro soul, folk, bubblegum and metal. He digs film noir, screwball comedies, classic B movies, and Toho’s original Godzilla series. In the late 1980s, John was a writer and editor for the KISS fanzine Fire. A friend once called him “the human incarnation of an entertainment encyclopedia.” After long stints in the worlds of publishing and IT, he’s currently working in healthcare. You can check out his blog, John V's Eclectic Avenue at http://jveclectic.blogspot.com.

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