History for the Rest of Us

Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees

Hey, Hey, We’re The Monkees

May 18, 2012

More Albums than the Beatles? I was originally a skeptic, but after reviewing information from Rolling Stone, ‘I’m a Believer’. Yes, the Monkees, the band that started out as a TV Show actually sold more albums in 1967 than the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined. Television Series The television series The Monkees, which ran from 1966 to 1968 was “a TV show about an imaginary band, a band that wanted to be The Beatles” according to Mickey Dolenz. Originally the plan for the show was to feature ‘The Lovin’ Spoonful’, an unknown band at the time. However, ‘The Lovin’ Spoonful’ was already under contract with a record company, so the rights to market music from the show would be out. They scrapped their plans and would look elsewhere. In September 1964, Davy Jones was signed to a long term contract. He was coming off a Tony nomination for his role as the Artful Dodger in the Broadway show Oliver!. Coincidentally, his performance in that role would be seen on the Ed Sullivan Show on the same night that The Beatles made their first appearance on the show. A year after Davy signed his contract, an ad in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter ran to cast the other members of the band. The ad was as follows: Madness!! Auditions. Folk and Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles in new TV series. Running Parts for 4 insane boys, age 17-21. Want spirited Ben Frank’s-types. Have courage to work. Must come down for interview. Approximately 400 applied, and three Americans, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork would join the Englishman Davy Jones as The Monkees. Critics Over the years the band has had its critics, particularly because they didn’t write all their own songs and used studio musicians. The Monkees have been seen as a precursor to the modern corporate-manufactured bands of recent decades. Some critics refer to the group as ‘The Pre-Fab Four’. Notwithstanding the critics, the band, together with some of it’s famous songwriters like Neil Diamond and Carole King, was able to string together several international hits including “The Monkees”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Daydream Believer”, “I’m a Believer”,...