Many of The Monkees’ songs were written by the same songwriters.The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” was a huge hit and radio stations wanted a follow-up.They started playing another song from the same album.
The Monkees’ Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz | James Jackson/Evening Standard/Getty Images
The Monkees‘ “Last Train to Clarksville” was so popular that radio stations wanted another one of The Monkees’ songs immediately. They began playing another song from the same album. Subsequently, the group’s record label decided not to release the other song as a single.
A quiet evening inspired a Monkees hit
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were a songwriting duo known as Boyce & Hart. They are most known for writing Monkees songs such as “Valleri,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” and “Last Train to Clarksville.” In his 2015 autobiography Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart discussed the origin of “I Wanna Be Free.”
“Tommy and I usually wrote songs to order on-demand and almost always under the threat of a deadline,” he wrote. “But a quiet evening in 1965 had found us both home early with some free time on our hands. I emerged from the cocoon of my downstairs room to find Boyce in the living room, guitar in hand, lost in his musings over the kernel of a song idea.”
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Radio stations were ‘unwilling’ to wait for another Monkees song to become a single
The success of “Last Train to Clarksville” impacted “I Wanna Be Free.” “After the success of ‘Clarksville,’ radio stations around the country, unwilling to wait for a second Monkees single to be released, began playing another song from their first album as if it were a top 10 single,” Hart recalled.
“But, ultimately, the record company decided not to release ‘I Wanna Be Free’ as a single so that the fans would have to buy the entire LP in order to own the song,” Hart added.
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How the song performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom
Since “I Wanna Be Free” was never a single, it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The track appeared on the Prefab Four’s self-titled debut album. The Monkees topped the Billboard 200 for 13 weeks, remaining on the chart for 102 weeks altogether.
According to The Official Charts Company, “I Wanna Be Free” did not chart in the United Kingdom either. On the other hand, The Monkees became a hit in the U.K. There, the album was No. 1 for seven weeks, staying on the chart for 37 weeks in total. None of the group’s subsequent albums performed as well on the U.K. chart.
“I Wanna Be Free” found some popularity on …read more
Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet