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The Monkees....again?


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When Davy Jones died early last year I thought "Yeah, that's it, the Monkees is a band gone for good."

Jones was the cute one with the British accent and probably the only reason I paid any attention to the band when I was a kid. Their music was nothing exciting, soft pop we would call it today. I guess it didn't hurt that American teens were addicted to television and they were a band built just for a television program.

I don't recall all the particulars about the other three band members, Dolenz was a kid actor, but Jones was a singer and continued to perform for years after the band broke up. So here we are again with the aging Monkees (minus one) on tour and at least some of them have to be approaching seventy years old by now. I guess they still get royalties from the music. Add that to their Social Security checks and they must be doing pretty well.

http://music.msn.com/music/article.aspx?news=804937&ocid=ansent11

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Michael Nesmith managed to carve out a continuing career. I remember Elephant Parts fondly:

'Robert Michael Nesmith (born December 30, 1942) is an American musician, songwriter, actor, producer, novelist, businessman, and philanthropist, best known as a member of the musical group The Monkees and co-star of The Monkees TV Series (1966-1968). Nesmith is notable as a songwriter, including "Different Drum" (sung by Linda Ronstadt with the Stone Poneys), and as executive producer of the cult film Repo Man (1984). He also is credited with creating the genre of the music video (!?). In 1981, Nesmith won the first Grammy Award given for Video of the Year for his hour-long television show, Elephant Parts (from Wiki)'.

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I worked on Michael's 1984 short-lived TV series, Television Parts (which was an offshoot of Elephant Parts), and it was a quirky, bizarre, funny, and occasionally-entertaining show, certainly nothing like anything on the air at that time. I only got to meet him twice, but the second time, he hung out for a couple of hours and actually regaled us with Monkees stories. We were in a building about 100 yards from where they originally shot the show at Sunset & Gower Studios, the street corner where you see them roll Peter Tork in the big brass bed, holding up traffic in the opening titles.

Unfortunately, I think trying to do a Monkees concert without Davy Jones is kinda like doing a Beatles reunion without (say) Paul McCartney, assuming the rest were alive. Not exactly happening. Nesmith had plenty of opportunities to do this in the 1990s but passed, because he had $100M in Liquid Paper money, plus he won another $100M in a very bitter lawsuit with PBS over the distribution of his home video projects.

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It seems like I must have missed something. The who? Oh... not the Who, the Monkees? I really hadn't ever heard them. I searched Amazon for "The Monkees" and found everything that's there on MP3. I played some samples and... UGH! But there's one that I liked: Randy Scouse Git from their album Headquarters. So I bought the track. $1.29. Go figure.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Colin, you might like to watch the 1968 movie, Head which starred The Monkees.

Of course, it may seem dated and bizarre today, but had a cult following during the 70s.

Oh look, I found a copy at YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVxriDM8h68

Read this article at The Guardian for their feelings about the movie, and insights into who The Monkees were.

Excerpt:

At the height of their fame, the Monkees teamed up with Jack Nicholson to film the psychedelic classic Head – and destroy their careers in the process.

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I think Mike Nesmith was one of the founding exec's at MTV. Also Micky Dolenz was a kid actor in a TV show in the fifties called Circus Kid.

My favorite was Peter Tork. Even at nine years old, I thought he was cute! I loved his long, golden blond hair!!!!

The Monkees were a sixties American TV ripoff of the early Beatles movies. My favorite of their songs is Pleasant Valley Sunday. Listen to the lyrics-- a great commentary on burgeoning sixties suburbia and the world of the middle class then.

.

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It seems like I must have missed something. The who? Oh... not the Who, the Monkees? I really hadn't ever heard them. I searched Amazon for "The Monkees" and found everything that's there on MP3.

Their song "Daydream Believer" was one of the biggest hits of 1967, and a follow-up hit, "I'm a Believer," was the #1 song of 1968. For a brief period, the Monkees were a huge, huge, huge group... but their fame was only a short-lived fad of about two years. They were bigger than One Direction is today, to put it in historical perspective.

In truth, I think their music only really matters today to 1960s fans and historians. But several Monkees hits are still played round the clock, even now, on thousands of oldies radio stations. To deny their importance is to deny the enormous musical length and breadth of the pop culture of the 1960s.

I think Mike Nesmith was one of the founding exec's at MTV. Also Micky Dolenz was a kid actor in a TV show in the fifties called Circus Kid.

Wrong on the first one, right on the second. But the MTV insiders did admit that music videos like Nesmith's Elephant Parts did inspire the idea for MTV. Nesmith was a little bitter about it, but I think his $200M fortune kind of assuaged that.

The Monkees were a sixties American TV ripoff of the early Beatles movies. My favorite of their songs is Pleasant Valley Sunday. Listen to the lyrics-- a great commentary on burgeoning sixties suburbia and the world of the middle class then.

Great, great song -- written by the great Carole King and Gerry Goffin, about their neighborhood in West Orange, New Jersey, where they lived on Pleasant Valley Street. I bow to no one in my admiration for King -- I think she's easily one of the top 10 greatest pop songwriters who ever lived.

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