The Monkees Bio and Pictures

The Monkees

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The Monkees Bio

Formed primarily for the purpose of starring in a television series, the Monkees were on one hand a cynically manufactured group, devised to cash in on the early Beatles' success by applying the most superficial aspects of the British Invasion formula to capture a preteen audience. On the other hand, they weren't devoid of musical talent, and at their best managed to craft some enduring pop/rock hits. "I'm a Believer," "Last Train to Clarksville," "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You," "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Stepping Stone," "Take a Giant Step," "Valleri," "Words" -- all were pleasantly jangling, harmony rock numbers with hooks big enough for a meat locker, and all were huge hits in 1966-1968. Scorned at their peak by hipsters for not playing on many of their own records, the group gained some belated critical respect for their catchy, good-time brand of pop. It would be foolish to pretend, however, that they were a band of serious significance, despite the occasional genuinely serious artistic aspirations of the members.

 

The Monkees Bio

The Monkees Pictures

The Monkees were the brainchild of television producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson, who decided to emulate the zany, madcap humor of the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night for the small screen. In September 1965, they placed in ad in Variety for four "folk & rock musicians" to appear in a TV series. Over 400 applied for the job, including Stephen Stills and Harry Nilsson, but as it turned out only one of the four winners, guitarist and songwriter Michael Nesmith, actually saw the ad. Micky Dolenz (who would play drums), Davy Jones (who would sing), and Peter Tork (bass) found out about the opportunity from other sources. Nesmith and Tork had experience in the folk scene; Dolenz and Jones were primarily actors (although Nesmith and Jones had already made some obscure solo recordings).

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