Thursday, April 4, 2013

Daydream Believers

Look how trippy this sleeve looks! How can you not dig it? :)
  Last year when I was obsessed with The Beatles (see previous post, haha), I naturally became obsessed with their almost knockoff band, The Monkees. Now, I am NOT saying that the Monkees were ripoffs. What I am saying is that they were very similar to The Beatles and were created to be a TV show version of the band.
The Monkees! From left to right: Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith
  For those of you who don't know the Monkees, they were a band that had their own TV show, which ran for two seasons from late 1966 to early 1968. There were four members- Mike Nesmith, the "leader," Micky Dolenz, the quirky also-sometimes-leader, Davy Jones, the lovable tiny one with a British accent, and Peter Tork, the slightly dumbed down yet just as lovable one. Their TV show episodes usually consisted of the group getting into typical sitcom drama, quirks and whatnot, which usually resulted in a song, performed by the band.
Look at those groovy hats!

  There are a few reasons why The Monkees receive so much hate. The first is because people believe they were directly copying The Beatles. Yes, there are a few similarities- Both band's names are about animals, they both misspell one letter in their band names on purpose, there are four members, each member took a turn at singing lead vocals, etc- but the bands are actually quite different. Whereas The Beatles got their start in Hamburg in the late 50's and early 60's performing both skiffle and rock n' roll, The Monkees started their career when sixties psychedelia was just blooming, and therefore most of their music was entirely psychedelic or poppy and upbeat. The Monkees as a band broke up in 1970, the same year as The Beatles. But I personally believe The Beatles had much more musically variety than The Monkees, as The Beatles covered not only psychedelia but also pop, soft rock, country (See "Don't Pass Me By, heh), hard rock, blues, ballads, and much more. That's not to say The Monkees were musically lacking, but of course, The Beatles covered more genres.
The Monkees on their beachy TV set. Groovy!
  Another reason people typically bash on The Monkees is because they were a band specifically created for a TV show. Whereas Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork identified themselves as musicians, Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones classified themselves as actors when asked. They were pieced together by producers rather than finding each other on their own and forming a band first. At first they also didn't play their own instruments on recordings and often didn't write their own lyrics, either. But after long struggles with their producers, they were finally able to play instruments on some recordings. Not all, but some.

  So, judge for yourself- are The Monkees an actual band? I think so. Although they were created for commercial purposes, they did play their own instruments eventually and did actually sing. They also toured as The Monkees, too, before Davy's unfortunate death in February of 2012. And if you didn't know who The Monkees were before this post, I'm glad I could introduce you too a new band!
  I hope you liked the post, have a fabulous Thursday!

For this playlist I've included a few Monkees songs, Beatles songs that may or may not have inspired Monkees songs, Monkees solo career songs (mainly by Mike Nesmith), and just a few other 60's pop songs I thought fit in. Enjoy!
  1. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" by The Monkees
  2. "I Feel Fine" by The Beatles
  3. "How Can You Kiss Me" by Mike Nesmith
  4. "Let's Spend the Night Together" by The Rolling Stones
  5. "Pictures of Lily" by The Who
  6. "Ticket to Ride" by The Beatles
  7. "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan
  8. "For Pete's Sake (Closing Theme)" by The Monkees
If you like The Monkees, check out these other awesome songs by them that I like:
  • "Randy Scouse Git," which is actually about The Beatles. (Specifically the line 'The four kings of EMI.')
  • "Your Auntie Grizelda," featuring a rare vocal performance by Peter Tork.
  • "Daily Nightly," a trippy number that I happen to adore.
  • "Words," another psychedelic one (I know I've used that word a lot in this post, bear with me!) that sounds almost dark and dreary at first.
  • "I'm a Believer," a classic in Monkees tunes, and I think in tunes in general.
  • "Daydream Believer," the Davy Jones classic!
  • "Valleri," starts off with a Spanish acoustic guitar riff that rocks my world. Love it!
  • "You Told Me" pays hommage to the beginning of The Beatles' "Taxman."
  • "Daddy's Song" just.. pure fun!

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, I despise Your Auntie Grizelda. At the beginning of their career, the songs they would allow Peter to sing were always out of his vocal or range or something. It never sounded right. It made him look like a fool and a terrible singer when he had talent.

    If you like Daddy's Song, you should listen to the version with Mike's vocals! Maybe I only prefer it because I'm a Mike girl, but I think it's great!