Monday, February 23, 2015

Guilty Pleasures Month:Day 23- I'm Still A Believer

I am a fan of music.  I am a fan of television.  it should only follow that I am a fan of the combination of both.  This does not mean that "I want my MTV" or that "I want my MTV back."  It means that today's guilty pleasure is that group of guys who combined "A Hard Day's Night" with "A day at the Races."  This is my tribute to the Marx Bros. of Rock and Roll, let's hear it for the Monkees.

Record Producers had already been practicing media manipulation to make the artists that they handled more palatable to their audiences, but the Monkees were different.  The Monkees were a carefully woven reality.  A TV show about a band, not a fictional band, but a band that made recoreds, a band that toured,
No Boy Band that followed could ever compete with the plot that was the Monkees.  They created the formula.

Micky Dolenz, The Funny One
The only real actor of the group, Micky was never a drummer, he just played the part of a drummer extremely well.  Starting his career as a child actor, Micky brought his quick wit and comic timing to the Monkees.  He was amazingly the most likable of the four.
Davy Jones, The Cute One
Former Jockey turned song and dance man, Davy Jones capitalized on his Beatlesque British Background and was cast as the irresitable Monkee.  he fell in love at the drop of a hat.
Peter Tork, The Dumb One
Of the four Monkees, Peter Tork was the most accomplished musician.  He has the ability to play any instrument with strings and even dabble a bit in the french horn.  Peter was cast as the "dumb" Monkee.  He is actually quite intelligent and spent his entire post Monkee career living down a false reputation

Mike Nesmith, The Leader
Mike Nesmith was the heir to the Liquid Paper fortune and a Monkee.  The sTV writers referred to this song writing virtuoso and guitar player as "Wool Hat" forsaking any sign of his given name.  Mike was the force behind getting the Monkees to play their own instruments, write their own songs, and produce their own records,  He is one of the pioneers of music videos and my personal favorite Monkee.

Most of the Monkees early songs were written by established song writers and turned them into a generic hit factory.  I'm sure you know the Mokees theme and Last Train To Clarksville.  I prefer songs that may have been less popular but that were written or co-written by members of the band, specifically those penned by Nesmith.

I'm not a total snob, songwriters like Goffin/King, Harry Nilsson, Neil Diamond, and Boyce &Hart contribute some of my fave Monkees tunes

Sadly, drugs, Prison, exposure as a media invention, and the Movie "Head" destroyed their pop careers in the 60's.  Different versions of the band with partial line ups and replacement players would pop up from time to time, but for me there is no substitute for the original.

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