Instant Replay is the seventh studio album by the Monkees. Issued 11 months after the cancellation of the group’s NBC television series, it is also the first album released after Peter Tork left the group and the only album of the original nine studio albums that does not include any songs featured in the TV show.
Although the Monkees had recorded dozens of tracks between the time of their last studio album, spring 1968’s The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees (a soundtrack LP from their film Head had been released between the two studio LPs), several of the songs on Instant Replay actually dated from sessions up to two and a half years earlier.
The band’s new music coordinator (and former road manager), Brendan Cahill, believed that releasing previously unused tracks recorded in 1966—prior to the group’s seizing control of their own recording process—was the way for the group to regain commercial success. The album’s lead single, “Tear Drop City,” written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, was one of the songs taken from the vault and was identified by Michael Nesmith as their intended first single in 1966. Notably similar to the group’s first hit “Last Train to Clarksville” (also written by Boyce & Hart), the song was sped up around 9 percent from the original recording, changing the song’s key from G to A-flat. The track was not a major hit, only managing to reach No. 56 on the U.S. charts, while reaching No. 34 in Australia. Despite the single’s poor chart performance, the album charted on the Billboard Top 40 Albums chart at No. 32.
Micky Dolenz‘s “Just a Game” had originally been written during the sessions for the album Headquarters (1967), while Nesmith’s “Don’t Wait for Me” was the first released product of his 1968 sessions with Nashville studio musicians. Davy Jones‘ “You and I” featured guitar work from Neil Young.