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The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or the Monkees??

nightchef

Member
Messages
464
Ripgtr is right about Nesmith. He not only wrote Different Drum but also "Some of Shelly's Blues", best recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Others of course. The only true musician in this band (playing musician that is, Davy was an accomplished singer by the time the Monkees were formed), he was respected enough by the Beatles to be invited to the studio for the taping of the close of A Day in the Life. There is a photo of him sitting and conversing with Lennon. We all know who else was there. Rock Royalty. And, Nesmith is credited with the genesis of MTV. Any four guys could sound good when you had half of the Brill Building writing for you and the Wrecking Crew playing the instruments. All they had to do was look cute for little kids and sing. But, hey, the singing took talent.
Good stuff except for the part about being the only true musician in the band. He may not even have been the best musician in the band: Peter Tork was a competent multi-instrumentalist who did most of the keyboard playing on their third and fourth albums and some of the singles (including piano on “Daydream Believer” and electric piano on “Pleasant Valley Sunday”). He also played some guitar here and there (“For Pete’s Sake” and “Sunny Girlfriend,” for instance) and banjo on at least one track, “You Told Me” from Headquarters. Very little bass, oddly—that was the one instrument that was almost always played by a non-Monkee. It seems the decision to present him as the bass player was more a casting choice than a musical one.
 

nightchef

Member
Messages
464
Of course the question (serious or not) has the problem of comparing apples to oranges: the Monkees were not really a band in the same sense as the Beatles or the Stones. They were the cast of a TV show about a band, and they made some records together, but their entire original career as a musical unit lasted about as long as the amount of time the Beatles were together before they made any records (i.e., 2-3 years). They never had the kind of intensive woodshedding and gigging experience that made the Stones and Beatles tight, inventive ensembles. Of course they weren’t as good; they couldn’t possibly have been, regardless of individual talent.
 

Telfer

Member
Messages
235
English heartthrob and tambourine player extraordinaire David “Davy” Jones...
Also a virtuoso with the maracas....favorite weapon of the South American shaman.
They got most of their mileage out of ONE song...Last Train to Clarksville. That jangly guitar was probably the first electric guitar sound I ever took notice of...probably through a Vox amp.
 

HerrRentz

Member
Messages
2,753
The first rock song I ever remember hearing was Last Train to Clarksville. I was about five or six and we were living in Germany at the time.
 

gmann

Member
Messages
8,834
Ripgtr is right about Nesmith. He not only wrote Different Drum but also "Some of Shelly's Blues", best recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Others of course. The only true musician in this band (playing musician that is, Davy was an accomplished singer by the time the Monkees were formed), he was respected enough by the Beatles to be invited to the studio for the taping of the close of A Day in the Life. There is a photo of him sitting and conversing with Lennon. We all know who else was there. Rock Royalty. And, Nesmith is credited with the genesis of MTV. Any four guys could sound good when you had half of the Brill Building writing for you and the Wrecking Crew playing the instruments. All they had to do was look cute for little kids and sing. But, hey, the singing took talent.
Peter Tork was an excellent musician and could play several instruments. Look it up.
 
Messages
849
The Monkees rule. They caught the brunt of the "they don't even play on their album" blues, but the same could be said of most charting 1960s USA rock acts. I like records by The Beach Boys and The Byrds and many of the groups who used LA "wrecking crew" session musicians and brill building writers... I wasn't alive in the 1960s so I don't really have big feelings about authenticity of acts from that era. I never saw The Beatles, Stones or Monkees live so to me, The Monkees may as well be as "real" of a band as the others. I mean, Rock N Roll Circus, Help, Hard Days Night....most of those movies had the same vibe as The Monkees tv show or Head. They were all just caught up in the music industry and the 1960s counterculture.
 

A-Bone

Montonero, MOY, Multitudes
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
103,068
Years ago a radio dj introduced a song by Gerry Puckett and the Union Gap saying they outsold the Beatles in 19xx ...don't recall which year. Is that possible?
1968, maybe.

"Gary Puckett and the Union Gap came on the national scene like a comet on steroids in late 1967. For the next 20 months their music ruled the airwaves. During this time period they had six hit singles packaged in three hit albums. The Union Gap topped the Cashbox charts twice in 1968, and were continuously on both the Billboard singles and LP charts, usually in the top ten.

"Incredible

"When you consider 1968 in terms of pop music, names like The Beatles, The Monkees, The Supremes, and Simon & Garfunkel come to mind. But in terms of record sales, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap outsold all of them in ’68. Expand it to straight rock and roll — which brings in Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and "Jumping Jack Flash" — and Gary Puckett still sold the most records in 1968. Sales were so strong that Columbia Records simply gave the group’s third album a short but appropriate title: Incredible."
 

chrisr777

Member
Messages
24,858
In order of personal preference, the Beatles first, then the Rolling Stones, and then the Monkees.

And no, the Banana Splits don't quite make it. I was eight years old when they were on TV and I enjoyed the show back then, but I couldn't watch them now.
They've matured a bit.

 

Jon Silberman

10Q Jerry & Dickey
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
42,735
The difference between the Monkees and many other bands is, with the former, we know that they didn't play the instruments on their early albums.

I think if we knew this truth concerning many other bands we like, many of us would be shocked.
 

PRW

Member
Messages
2,254
I unapologetically like The Monkees' recorded output, however many bodies were involved and whether the early songs came from an All-Star roster of heavyweights like Carole King, etc. The results entertain my ears, I don't give six cacas how "authentic" they were.

They did go out on tour, just the four of them, unadulterated, and were no more or less competent than a lot of "top" bands of the era were amid the 100 decibels of teenage girls screaming. They suffered from the absence of a lead guitar (anything more than the Clarksville or Pleasant Valley Sunday riffs, and he actually did play the latter one on the record, was beyond Nesmith's skill set).

Mickey Dolenz in addition to a great rock voice also became at least a competent drummer, and what he did on "You Just May Be the One," my favorite Monkees song, was exceptional IMO.

The album that was on, Headquarters, is as close to "just the four of them" as it got, and the results were superb IMO, but they quickly decided once they proved they could do it that they didn't want to work that hard and it was back to the studio pros.

And Nesmith is a giant. I've gotten cussed at for saying this, but IMO he was equally as important as Gram Parsons in the development of "country rock," the only difference being that Gram is overly romanticized in some quarters for his decadence and the way he checked out while Nez has lived to a ripe old age and looks more like LBJ as he gets older.
 

Salfordlad

Member
Messages
1,171
Enough already! Everybody I knew back then hated the Monkees. We knew they were a corporate LA creation that had zero musical value. This isn't funny anymore. If you weren't a teenager in the 1960's just shut up and listen to your wiser elders. They were CRAP!
 

Betos

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,636
Fun fact about the Monkees, AKA the PRE-FAB Four; Mike Nezmith's mother invented white out!
 

SteveO

Member
Messages
16,823
The difference between the Monkees and many other bands is, with the former, we know that they didn't play the instruments on their early albums.

I think if we knew this truth concerning many other bands we like, many of us would be shocked.
Most people didn't seem to notice (or care) that most of the pop acts of the 60s were using staff writers and studio musicians, but what set the Monkees apart in that regard was probably the comparisons to The Beatles. That's an impossibly high standard to match, and the fall from grace was inevitable when the truth came out.
 

ifallalot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,106
Boyce and Hart, Nesmith, Diamond, Shelton, Keith Allison…that was some serious stuff. Hopefully we’ve reached the point where they aren’t just a punchline.
Exactly

However that also shows how amazing the Beatles and Stones were. It took a team to make the Monkees great, the Beatles and Stones more or less did it themselves

That being said, “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” by Boyce and Hart might be the perfect power pop song
 

jackrd

Member
Messages
25
Good stuff except for the part about being the only true musician in the band. He may not even have been the best musician in the band: Peter Tork was a competent multi-instrumentalist who did most of the keyboard playing on their third and fourth albums and some of the singles (including piano on “Daydream Believer” and electric piano on “Pleasant Valley Sunday”). He also played some guitar here and there (“For Pete’s Sake” and “Sunny Girlfriend,” for instance) and banjo on at least one track, “You Told Me” from Headquarters. Very little bass, oddly—that was the one instrument that was almost always played by a non-Monkee. It seems the decision to present him as the bass player was more a casting choice than a musical one.
Thanks for letting me know that. Obviously, I am not a Monkee's 'fan' or would/should have known this.
 






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