The Point > Nilsson & The Monkees
By Fred Velez
Harry Nilsson’s connection with the Monkees has always been very strong. Starting with the recording of ‘Cuddly Toy’ on the ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.’ album where he was told he could quit his old job at the bank. Harry also contributed ‘Daddy’s Song’ for the Monkees’ ‘Head’ movie and soundtrack. Nilsson signed with RCA where he recorded his first album ‘Pandemonium Shadow Show’ to which he garnered no less the esteem of the Beatles, Harry went on to record several more acclaimed albums and singles like ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ and ‘Without You’.
Early on he had the idea of a fable about Oblio, a boy born with a round head living in a kingdom where everything including the people had points, and finds himself banished to the Pointless Forrest with his dog Arrow and in his adventures and through the people he meets, finds that he also has a point. Nilsson developed the story into an animated film and soundtrack album which contained his hit ‘Me And My Arrow’. The animated TV film was originally narrated by Dustin Hoffman. (Due to contractual obligations, the latter DVD release of The Point has Ringo Starr narrating the story).
Original Nilsson album and animated film of ‘The Point’
The Point was well received and Nilsson was approached about adapting the story for a musical theatre treatment. The story was developed for the stage and early productions were performed at the Boston Repertory Theatre and later transferred to the Lederer Theatre in Providence, Long Island. The Point eventually made it across the Pond to London, England settling at the Mermaid Theatre in 1976. More Nilsson songs were added to flesh out the story.
Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones in ‘The Point’.
In 1977 Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz joined the cast with Davy playing the lead of the boy hero Oblio and Micky in the dual role of The Count’s Kid and The Leaf Man. The London opening night experienced sound problems and at the after party Micky, Davy and Harry were discussing how the sound could be fixed. The solution came from a smiling Keith Moon, the drummer for The Who, nursing a drink, who handed the trio a card to a warehouse which housed The Who’s tour sound equipment and graciously welcomed them to use whatever they needed, then happily went back to his drink. Needless to say that The Point had the best sound of any show playing on the West End!
The show was successful enough for a cast album issued on the MCA Label featuring Micky and Davy released in 1977. For years The Point cast album was only available as an import to Monkees fans in the United States. Finally in 2016, just in time for the Monkees 50th anniversary, the album sees its’ first CD release on Geffen Records. The CD quality sounds great, bringing new life to the songs in the show, and new liner notes written for the release by Larry R. Watts details the history of the show with some rare production photos. Both Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz give great vocal performances and one of the highlights of the album is the Davy and Micky duet on the Nilsson song ‘Gotta Get Up’, a real treat for all Monkees fans.
Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones promoting ‘The Point’ on ‘Our Show’, 1977.
From ‘Cuddly Toy’ and ‘Daddy’s Song’, Davy singing the Nilsson tune ‘Together’ with the Monkees 1969 touring band Sam & the Goodtimers, Michael Nesmith’s stunning recording of Nilsson’s ‘Rainmaker’, Micky and Harry hanging with John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Alice Cooper, Keith Moon and others as the ‘Hollywood Vampires’, Davy and Harry singing background vocals on a Ringo Starr Japanese suit commercial, to the Monkees new album ‘Good Times!’, with Micky Dolenz singing a dream duet with Harry on the title track to Nilsson’s demo recording produced by Michael Nesmith who also plays guitar on it, Nilsson’s Monkees’ connection remains as strong as ever.
In this 2016 Year of The Monkees 50th anniversary, fans have the added pleasure of Harry Nilsson’s original cast album of The Point with Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz to enjoy and take part in the celebration. Thanks again, Harry.
Link to order ‘The Point’ cast album with Micky Dolenz & Davy Jones:
Fred Velez, 2016.
Fred Velez is the author of the book ‘A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You: The Monkees From A Fan’s Perspective’, and the Monkees’ inspired Holiday CD ‘A Little Bit Christmas’.