Sunday, March 4, 2012

hey, hey, we're the Monkees

They called these guys the pre-fab four - Beatle's knock-off for television.  With the huge success of The Beatles, someone had the big idea  to create their own fab four band version of A Hard Days Night for TV.  The concept was sold to Screen Gems and attempted to cast the already established band, Lovin' Spoonful, to be the band.  Spoonful was under contract with another company at the time and couldn't sign on with Screen Gems.

Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork were hired to be a boy band grooving to prerecorded music played by studio session artists.  But The Monkees quickly emerged with a sound of their own.  It wasn't long before they wanted to have more input in production - and eventually won out.  Micky, Michael, Peter and Davy didn't want to just play like they were a band - they wanted to be a band!

The 'pre-fab four' developed their own unique sound - a band different than the The Beatles.  In fact, The Monkees rubbed shoulders a good bit with and befriended members of The Beatles.  Once Michael Nesmith asked John Lennon  "Do you perceive us to be a cheap imitation of The Beatles, your movies and records?"  Lennon replied, "I think you're the greatest comic talent since the Marx Brothers. I've never missed one of your programs.

George Harrision understanding that the pre-fab band were having to produce a TV show, produce their own albums as well as tour stated that "It's obvious what's happening, there's talent there. They're doing a TV show, it's a difficult chore and I wouldn't be in their shoes for the world. When they get it all sorted out, they might turn out to be the best."  Later, Peter Tork played Paul McCartney's five string banjo on Harrison's Wonderwall Music album.

What started out to be a knock-off band for TV - turned out to be a new and fresh voice in American pop music.  Every now and then I'll hear one of their songs on the radio and appreciate them more than I did when I was a kid.  These four talented young men seized an opportunity and fought to make more of it.  The Monkees became a real band - a notable place in Rock and Roll history.
  You guys made us believers.

Rest in peace Davy Jones.
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