Music Monday: America’s Answer to the Beatles – The Monkees

If you’re of a certain age, you’ve heard of the Monkees. They were one of the hottest bands of the late 60s.

The Monkees are an American rock and pop band originally active between 1966 and 1971, with reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. Their original line-up consisted of the American actor/musicians Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork with English actor/singer Davy Jones. The group was conceived in 1965 by television producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider specifically for the situation comedy series The Monkees, which aired from 1966 to 1968. The band’s music was initially supervised by record producer Don Kirshner, backed by the songwriting duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.

The four actor/musicians were initially allowed only limited roles in the recording studio for the first few months of their five-year career as “the Monkees”. All four contributed lead vocals to various tracks. They eventually fought for the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band’s name, acting as actors, musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers. Following the television show’s cancellation in 1968, the Monkees continued to record music until 1971, after which the group broke up.

Dolenz described The Monkees as initially being “a TV show about an imaginary band… that wanted to be the Beatles that was never successful”. Ironically, the success of the show led to the actor-musicians becoming one of the most successful bands of the 1960s. The Monkees have sold more than 75 million records worldwide making them one of the biggest selling groups of all time with international hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “Daydream Believer”, and “I’m a Believer”.

It’s too hard to just pick one or two of these classic songs, so I’ve included all of them, along with the theme song from the TV show. If I had to pick a favorite it would be “I’m a Believer”.

As a bonus, I’ve thrown in the first episode of the TV show.

Enjoy.

sources: Wikipedia and Wikipedia

*image from The New York Times

 

70 thoughts on “Music Monday: America’s Answer to the Beatles – The Monkees

  1. I loved the monkees and fought with my older sisters when they told me their favorite bands, the Beatles and the doors. What were they thinking? They would never be at the level of my monkees! )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You picked a winner! “I’m a Believer! ” is a special song! My niece who was 10 years old at the time that I got married sang this song at our wedding reception. She surprised us with it. It was simply adorable and very good for a 10 year old! She has an awesome voice !
    I do like all the other songs you listed too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of my favorite shows from the day! Every girl in my neighborhood was in love with Davey Jones. It is hard to pick one favorite and you shared all the ones that came to mind, but “Last Train to Clarksville” is likely my most favorite. And that car they rode around in was so iconic. Great post, Jim! Really loved these memories you shared!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Brad. It was an iconic show and band. And I remember all the girls having a crush on Davy. When I was watching the videos, he looked quite short. So I checked – he was 5’3” And that was a great car…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved this show and the band! I’m guessing you know this, but Mike Nesmith wrote the song “Different Drum” that was a hit for Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys. Of the ones you mention, I think Last Train to Clarksville is my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the memories! The tv show was broadcast here in the UK at Saturday teatime, and we never missed it. I’d add A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You to your list of their best songs, which I still listen to occasionally.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny how it passed you by. Looked it up: made #1 on Cashbox, #2 on Billboard and #3 here. Still my favourite of theirs. Going out on a limb, but do you know Listen To The Band? A Nesmith song, not a huge hit, but people have made some fun videos for it. Don’t get caught out by the false ending tho…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I hate to keep saying I remember these songs and shows from way back when. I enjoyed the Monkees show and music. The show was from the time of three major networks in the US. Everyone watched the same stuff or was familiar with it. Today, there are so many channels and shows it is hard to have a TV experience everyone can relate to. I’d pick I’m A Believer and Pleasant Valley Sunday, a rare iconoclastic Monkees tune, as my favorites. Thanks for the memories. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also remember watching the show; I think it was Saturday mornings. A colleague o mine just told me that the Monkees are still cranking out albums, and their last two albums are great…

      Like

  7. Omg I had no idea that I’m A Believer by Smashmouth was a cover of this song! I actually prefer this version. I had no idea about this band but let’s just say after listening to the songs you linked above I’m A Believer… sorry couldn’t resist the pun 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My favourite show during my late teens! Always liked their music. I was just saying to my husband today that we really did grow up and raise a family during one of the best periods of history ever.

    Liked by 1 person

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