Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Monkees: one of the most influential sixties bands or just another Beatles copycat?

Just a month ago, I watched a mediocre BBC TV program about the Beatles' influence on America. They spoke of how the Beatles' visit to America created a massive infestation of "Beatlesque" bands (see, it was so common they had to create a name for it!), such as The Lovin' Spoonful and The Hollies, both of which in my opinion are bands in their own right with incredible songs. The TV program mentioned the Monkees only briefly, saying they were a band designed  specifically to replicate the style and music of the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania (hell, all you have to do is look at their names). After watching a Hard Day's Night, U.S. T.V. producers thought that a T.V. show about a band would be a good way to make money, and they were right,  so the Monkees were born. They had the majority of their songs written for them and didn't even have to play the instruments, all they had to do was smile and look attractive on their T.V. show. Sounds like a simple job, huh?

What the BBC program failed to mention  was that the Monkees would in fact outsell  the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined, and would have four consecutive Number 1 albums in the year 1967 alone (now that is a lot of money, though I'm willing to bet the band members only received a tiny fraction of it). This was not your average Beatle copy-cat.

In fact, there's a sweet little story about when the Beatles and the Monkees met. The Beatles very kindly hosted a party for them when they visited England, and Nesmith asked Lennon if he thought they were a cheap imitation of him. Lennon replied that he thought they were the greatest comic talent since the Marx brothers, and that he'd never missed one of their programs. The Monkees were no longer simply a "Pre-Fab Four" as they now wrote some of their own songs and played their own instruments, as well as going on tours. Their life was busy and far more stressful than most people realised, as the band rushed from interview to TV filmings.

I disagree with people who say compare their talent to the likes of One Direction (how could anyone, even bloody dare! It's blasphemy at it's worst). They're an incredible band that have made a lasting impact on music.

Had the BBC program been made a couple of months later, I'm sure it's tone would have changed in light of Davy Jones' death. Davy Jones was considered by many to be the most lovable of all the Monkees (did you know he acted in an Oliver! musical in London?), and how unexpected his death was is part of why it is was so tragic. I'm sure that if he could see what was going on down here, he'd be the slightest bit consoled that some of The Monkees' albums are now on the Amazon best-seller list.
If you're new to the Monkees and this entire article has seemed as confusing as Chinese (unless you're Chinese), then watch a couple of the following videos and see if you like them. If you like the Beatles, there's a 95% chance you'll like the Monkees (is it even possible to dislike the Beatles?...)

So what do you think? A band in their own right?
If any of you are interested in further reading on them, here's an excellent article on the Monkees and how their impact on music:
(this has been written late at night without proper proof reading, I apologise if it's not well written)

I'M BACK!!!!

I feel absolutely horrible for being away so long...
But I'm here to let all of my loyal followers know (I could never apologise enough for being away) that I'm still alive and kicking :)
And my music taste has changed incredibly, I think I can safely say I know a lot more about classic rock now than I did before :)
So, you can expect a slight change in blog layout and a proper blog post coming up very soon!
(hey, don't give me that face guys...I'M SORRY!)