4 Reasons Why The Monkees Were Great

First off, let me start by saying that I’m a fan of The Monkees. As a child I used to watch their TV show on reruns (obviously, I’m not THAT old despite what my wife would have you believe) and I’ve always loved their music. Some people, especially huge Beatles fans, tend to hate The Monkees even though The Beatles themselves liked them.

From the TV show to their music, they were great and actually still are. Just a month ago they had yet another tour even though one of the four, Davy Jones, passed away earlier in the year due to a heart attack. Can The Beatles say they’ve toured recently? No. Of course more of them are dead than just one…

So here are my reasons why The Monkees deserve some fucking respect.


4. They Rocked


Despite rumors that have been around as long as they have, The Monkees played their own instruments. Yeah, that’s right, they totally did. Don’t believe me? Go read something. As much as I hate to use Wikipedia as a source for info, I can’t link to a book and have you read that without you actually buying it.

So The Monkees played their own instruments. Interesting. I wonder what else we’ve been lied to about all of these years.

“Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source? Nooo…”

Now let’s get down to it. The music they played was indeed rock, even though they had some slight country heading to the mix. Eventually they wanted to lean more towards blues which can go either way, in country and rock.

They had four number one albums in a one year period. They held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard album chart for 31 consecutive weeks, 37 weeks total. You can’t do that if you don’t put out some decent music.

Their first album The Monkees held the top spot on the Billboard 200 for 13 weeks, after which it was knocked out by their second album, More Of The Monkees. It included their first hit, “Last Train To Clarksville” which as it turns out was a depressing song about going to fight in Vietnam and most likely not coming home from there. Even the Cracked writer who wrote that bit thought they didn’t play their own instruments. Shows what kind of research they do.

“Hey Hey we’re The Monkees, and people say we monkey around!” Yup, now it’ll be stuck in your head all day.

Take the last train to Clarksville now I must hang up the phone
I can’t hear you in this noisy railroad station all alone
I’m feelin’ low oh no no no, oh no no no
And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home

Depressing shit, but the song was a fun-filled number you could dance to, so people loved it. Plus, you know, it was The Monkess, and they were top shit then.


3. Jimi Hendrix Opened For Them


That’s right, guitar/rock legend Jimi Hendrix opened for The Monkees. As you can imagine it didn’t go over well, because well, their music styles are completely different. There weren’t a lot of drugged out rockers in the crowd at a Monkees show. At least not then anyway. During one of the shows, Jimi Hendrix finally had enough of the audience booing him and gave them the finger before walking off the stage and quitting the tour. And now he’s dead.


2. They Had A Hit TV Show


Sure The Beatles had some hit movies, but The Monkees had a hit TV show. In the scheme of things that doesn’t mean much, but The Monkees TV show, aptly titled “The Monkees” can be shown in reruns and syndication. The Beatles can’t say that.

The Monkees TV show first hit the airwaves in 1966 and went until 1968 before stopping production on new shows. It went into syndication in 1969 and has been reran multiple times up until the 1980’s. Because of the syndication, they sold even more albums and had more success, including more tours which were critically acclaimed.


1. They Still Tour


As I said at the top of this article, The Monkees just had a tour in the U.S. even though Davy Jones passed away on February 29, 2012. From Wikipedia (AGAIN?!), “The brief tour marked the first time Nesmith performed with the Monkees since 1997, as well as the first without Jones. Jones’ memory was honored throughout the shows via recordings and video. During one point, the band went quiet and a recording of Jones singing “I Wanna Be Free” played while footage was screening of him walking along the beach. For Jones’ signature song, “Daydream Believer”, Dolenz explained that the band had discussed who should sing the song, only to conclude that it should be the fans. “It doesn’t belong to us anymore,” said Dolenz. “It belongs to you.””

“Hey, aren’t we missing somebody? Oh… right…”
What? Too soon?

Hopefully that tour won’t be their last, because I’d love to see them live. Until then, thanks for the tunes, chaps. They rock, and so do you.

10 responses to “4 Reasons Why The Monkees Were Great

  1. Not a fan, but I don’t dislike them either. Good article, though.

  2. Remember the mid 80s revival. I’m a punk rock kind of person but appreciate all things music. Jones passing was sad.

    • I likes me some punk. The last concert I went to was to see Screeching Weasel. I’ve seen The Methadones, The Queers and The Descendants. Punk is fun.

      Yeah, it was sad to hear about Davy, which I actually had just heard about when I did a little research for this blog! I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it back when it happened.

      • You likes you some old school punk! Yeah it is fun. It is also kinda funny to say to a kid who likes them today “yeah, they were good 20, 25 or 30 years ago too” and see the reaction.

  3. LOL no doubt. While I’m more of a classic rock guy, I definitely respect the influence and attitude of the punk bands. And I think that classic punk rock should fall into the line of classic rock as well. You know, the Ramones weren’t the only classic punk band around lol. I just wanna smack some of the kids today I see wearing Ramones shirts and can’t name one of their albums.

    • To what other classic rock do you listen?

      • Currently I’m listening to Simon and Garfunkel. Pretty much all of it. There is some I don’t like, but mostly all of it. I love it. CCR is one of my favorites, Zeppelin is okay (even though they ripped off some older blues guys), Skynyrd is cool, AC/DC is my favorite though of all time. The Hollies, Jefferson Airplane, Presley, Orbison, Floyd forever… I could go on and on.

  4. The Monkees was one of the all time worst TV shows in history. My little brother and sister loved the dang show, but I saw it as horrendously moronic. Thank goodness TV shows like that no longer exist!!! There were so many rotten TV shows made back then I’m surprised the young boomers made it to a ripe old age today without mental issues! I’m 62 (old) and read books instead of all of those terrible TV shows of my youth. I’ll admit that I’ve become more of a TV nut in my aging years since there are so many great dramas on network and cable these days. With surround sound and HD how can you go wrong? Heck, I’ll even join my wife in watching some of those “reality” shows. Some of them are pretty damn comical. Even today’s music is better than it was ages ago. But I wish those kids would dial in a tad of treble instead of too much bass. As far as I’m concerned we’re living in the BEST era ever! Everything is WAY better than it was in those dark, dark, gloomy days of the ’60s.

    • Wow, really? I’m only 34 but I was raised on classic rock, 60s and 70s stuff, and I love it. There’s such a huge difference in the music from then to today. Back then there were things worth singing about. The musicians had talent and played more than the same three cords in every song. Singers sang and weren’t auto tuned. I think the music back then was so much better than it is today. As far as TV goes, I’ll give you that, those older shows were kind of horrible, but look at what they had to work with. They didn’t have the technology we had today, AND they weren’t allowed to show a lot on TV. Rules back then were much more strict than they are today. Hell, married couples weren’t allowed to be seen on TV sleeping in the same beds! As far as The Monkees go, their show was okay. It was obviously something people wanted to see back then, which is why it was such a hit. I’ve honestly never been much of a fan of the show itself, but I’ve always loved their songs. But I gotta ask, what part of their show are you glad isn’t around anymore? You say you’re glad shows like that don’t exist anymore. Like what? Because the basic principle of the show is still being done today. Bands are being created for comedy TV shows and they’re actually putting out albums and touring. So what was it about that show that you say isn’t around anymore? Thanks for stopping by and hanging out a bit!

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