The Monkees Released a Christmas Song Co-Written by a Pulitzer Prize Winner

During their long career, The Monkees released only one album of Christmas songs. Many famous musicians worked on that album. Notably, Micky Dolenz really enjoyed one of the more unconventional songs on the album. The song was co-written by a rock star and a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.

Why The Monkees decided to record an album of Christmas songs

In 2016, the same year as The Monkees’ 50th anniversary, the Prefab Four released their album Good Times! Good Times! was produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne. It included songs written by a host of rock stars, including Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie and Noel Gallagher of Oasis. Notably, Good Times! hit No. 14 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for four weeks.

During an interview with Rolling Stone, The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz discussed what it was like for The Monkees to have a hit album so far into the band’s career. “It’s just crazy,” Dolenz said. “The equivalent to Good Times! going Top 20 would have been someone like [Italian opera star] Enrico Caruso, who was popular in 1917, having a Top 20 record in 1967.” 

Dolenz didn’t want to release a sequel to the album. “I remember people asking about a Good Times 2, but that didn’t fire me up,” he said. “It felt too risky to try doing that again.” After Rhino Records suggested it, The Monkees decided they would rather release their first and only Christmas album: Christmas Party.

‘Christmas Party’ includes a song co-written by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon called ‘House of Broken Gingerbread’

Schlesinger collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon to write a song from Christmas Party called “House of Broken Gingerbread.” Chabon is known for his novels Wonder BoysThe Yiddish Policemen’s Union, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. The latter won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Chabon is one of several celebrities who worked on Christmas Party. Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and Andy Partridge of XTC contributed songs to Christmas Party.

During an interview with The Monkees’ YouTube channel, Dolenz discussed his feelings about “House of Broken Gingerbread.” “I loved ‘House of Broken Gingerbread,’” Dolenz said. “That was just ‘Whoa.’ It’s about a poignant moment in a child’s life. The parents are getting divorced, which you don’t always hear in a happy-go-lucky Christmas song.”

The way the world reacted to The Monkees’ ‘Christmas Party’

The Monkees did not release “House of Broken Gingerbread” as a single. It did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Notably, Christmas Party did not chart on the Billboard 200.

Audiences in the United Kingdom had a similar reaction to “House of Broken Gingerbread.” The Official Charts Company reports the song and its parent album did not chart in the U.K. “House of Broken Gingerbread” was not a hit; however, it’s an interesting connection between The Monkees and Chabon.

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