On July 19. 1966, after recording three versions of "I Wanna Be Free," Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart turned their attention to the first of two attempts at an ‘opening titles’ version of "(Theme From) The Monkees." At this stage, the additional verse of the final TV version had not been written. Interestingly, this version is recorded in G minor, which is one step down from the previously recorded LP version which was recorded in A minor.
The original session tapes for this initially unused version are believed to be no longer available, however a mono mixdown of the master take (sans vocals) was released on the Japanese-only CD THE MONKEES BEST!! WITH ORIGINAL KARAOKE in 1996.
This mono mixdown of the backing track was initially treated to overdubs of finger snaps as well as vocals by Micky Dolenz, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. A mono mix of this version was initially released on the 1994 CD reissue of THE MONKEES. In 2006, the same mix preceded by 4 seconds of studio chatter and a count-in was included on a 2-CD reissue of THE MONKEES.
In March 1967, this mono mixdown also served as the basis for a version of "(Theme From) The Monkees" to be used for the series’ airing in Italy. Micky Dolenz triple tracked vocals in Italian (two tracks of the main melody plus a harmony vocal) to a tape containing this backing track.
The first release of "Tema Dei Monkees" was as the Italian B-side of "Valleri," RCA Victor catalog number 45N 1546, in 1968. This version featured a unique mono mix of the track edited with elements of the mono LP mix of the English-language "(Theme From) The Monkees" to extend the 56 second recording to 2 minutes 31 seconds. This mono mix has not been issued in any unedited form, though it can be re-edited from this release as we believe that it contains the entirety of the mono mix. This is the mix that was first released on Rhino's MONKEE BUSINESS in 1982. Interestingly, this version exposes the difference in keys between the two versions as the jarring edits from this mix to the LP mix during the guitar solo jump one full step back and forth between the keys of G minor and A minor.
In 1970, RCA Victor issued an Italy-only compilation LP titled I MONKEES IN TV. The lead-off track for this LP was a stereo mix of "Tema Dei Monkees" featuring the backing track centered with both of Micky’s melody vocals panned right and the harmony vocal panned left. It is notable that the harmony on the second line of the verse is not fully audible in any other mix.
The first US release of "Tema Dei Monkees" from a master tape was in a mono mix on 1996’s MISSING LINKS VOLUME THREE. This mix presented a relative balance between the melody and harmony chorus vocals with slight reverb. This version is extended by an edit at 57 seconds; the previous four bars are repeated to extend the chorus through a fade out.
A new stereo mix of "Tema Dei Monkees" said to contain "every last little bit of Italian that Micky muttered" was created for a 2007 2-CD reissue of HEADQUARTERS. This mix includes an introduction where we hear Micky rehearse for about 6 seconds before the backing track begins. Micky’s two melody vocals are panned left and right, and his harmony vocal is panned center but kept low in the mix. The mix is not faded out, so we hear the backing track come to a hard stop, which is not heard in any of the other available mixes.