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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hey, Hey We're the Monkees -- or are we?



It was 1966, and a new sitcom was on TV.  It was about four young men, musicians in a struggling rock band.  Slapstick comedy mixed with groovy clothes and, most importantly, the music.  The four young men in this TV-created band were supposed to be an American response to the Beatles.  And did I mention that one of them even had a British accent?

Everyone knew Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork.

The shows were fun, the music stands the test of time; after all, some of the best songwriters of the day wrote  Monkees hits -- Boyce and Hart, Carol King, Neil Diamond all contributed material.  Tork wrote for the band, and  Nesmith turned out to be a prolific songwriter as well.

The Monkees exceeded their TV origins to become one of the most popular bands of the era.  The band broke up in 1971, but the band revived when MTV ran a marathon of the shows in 1986.   The format of the TV shows ultimately led to the creation of the music video, after all.

Dolenz, Jones and Tork toured together frequently in the 1990's and 2000's, with Nesmith joining the others on rare occasions.

Drew and I saw the Monkees in concert several times, but never with all four  performers.  Mickey, Peter and Davy would talk about Mike, of course, but he was off pursuing other interests and was not performing with the band.  Still, we loved to see the concerts. 

And then came that day, 3 1/2 years ago, when I heard the terrible news that Davy Jones had died.

And then came the next tour, with Mickey, Peter and Mike.  Yes, Mike.  So exciting.  We saw them at the Beacon Theater.  Very different show, with much more emphasis on the songs Mike wrote and/or performed, songs I hadn't heard in awhile. It was almost like watching a different band.  Of course, they acknowledged Davy Jones -- even had a sing-along with the audience for "Daydream Believer".

We're going to a concert tonight, were seeing "The Monkees".  But it's only Mickey and Peter.  I'm not sure what they'll do, what they'll sing.  I'm sure it will be a fun evening, but...I'm not sure they can really call themselves "The Monkees".  Maybe "the Half Monkees"?


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