My Top 1000 Songs #149: Pleasant Valley Sunday

Too cute to have back-to-back Goffin/King songs on the list? Hey, don't look at me, I just work here.

I went through the standard Monkees trajectory. As a kid in the 70s, I grew up watching Monkees reruns in syndication, and counted a Monkees greatest hits album as one of the first records I owned. Then, by the time I was in high school and into classic rock, prog, punk, new wave, etc., the Monkees were strictly verboten, an uncool pre-fabricated tv band, and their music was relegated to guilty pleasure status. And then they made their critical comeback, the cool kids finally willing to admit that the Monkees had some damn fine songs and LPs.

Through it all, I always loved "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (like the rest of 1967's amiable Pisces Acquarius Capricorn & Jones Ltd.). Carole King and Gerry Goffin move from NYC to the suburbs and write about their experience; Michael Nesmith tacks on that distinctive guitar riff; and Mickey Dolenz gives it a compelling vocal turn abetted by some nice band harmonies. Plus some nifty studio tricks, like that psychedelic, weirdly compressed outro (another parallel to yesterday's pick). It's ear-candy AM radio pop on the surface, but far more sophisticated and accomplished at every level.

Carole King's original demo:
Maybe some Family Guy?