The Monkees And Me

I suppose that for someone as fascinated by primates, both of the skyscraper-climbing and planet-ruling sort, as I apparently am, The Monkees should be a favorite band for, if nothing else, their name.

In what passes for my reality, The Monkees have been an act that has mostly been a part of the pop culture landscape with the foursome periodically popping up on my radar such as this week with the news of Davy Jones’ death.

I might have caught The Monkees via their television show during the late ’60s, but as The Monkees initial run ended about the time I was beginning to walk and talk, I suspect I truly became aware of the show, the band, and the music from reruns in the early ’70s.

However hazy those memories are, I do remember watching The Monkees and being quite enamored by their small-screen shenanigans. It was the manic hijinks that was the hook for me as a pre-schooler with the music being something that merely accompanied the zany antics of Davy, Mickey, Mike and Peter.

I can’t say that I favored any of the four over the others, but Davy Jones certainly stood out for both his lack of verticality and his British accent.

Jones also famously caused Marcia Brady to get all googly-moogly and this too made an impression as I watched reruns of The Brady Bunch after school.

(though perhaps not quite as much as if he had won the affection of Laurie Partridge)

Of course, The Monkees were a musical act and, even before I truly became interested in music, I knew more of their music than I likely did by any other group including the quartet that provided inspiration for The Monkees creation.

Like The Monkees themselves, the songs were part of the pop culture landscape, something that had simply always existed. I never owned much of their music, but, if I happened upon one of their hits while surfing the radio dial, I probably paused.

Here are four songs from The Monkees that still make me pause when they shuffle up on the iPod…

The Monkees – (Theme From) The Monkees
from The Best Of The Monkees (2003)

It occurs to me now that the theme song to The Monkees had to have been one of the earliest pop songs to which I knew all the words. It served as an appropriately playful greeting to each episode.

The Monkees – Last Train To Clarksville
from The Best Of The Monkees (2003)

Like The Monkees’ theme song, The jangly Last Train To Clarksville was written by the songwriting duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Years later, in the early ’90s, a couple of friends would occasionally share drinks with Boyce at our favorite watering hole and I’m thinking that I met the songwriter at some point.

The Monkees – Pleasant Valley Sunday
from The Best Of The Monkees (2003)

It’s been rehashed ad infinitum how much credit The Monkees truly deserve for their musical success given that the band’s hits were written by outside writers. The breezy Pleasant Valley Sunday was penned by the legendary songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

The Monkees – Daydream Believer
from The Best Of The Monkees (2003)

I’d have to put Daydream Believer on any short list that I might compile of songs that make me involuntarily smile. It’s pure sunshine and about as bouncy a song as I can think of.

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3 Responses to The Monkees And Me

  1. motorcycleguy says:

    I have my “More of the Monkees” vinyl propped up on the bookcase, right behind the Monkeemobile model I built….sitting on top of the original MPC model box

  2. Chris says:

    Something I never got about “Last Train to Clarksville” until years later…Clarksville, Tennessee is the home of the 101st Airborne Division and the lines “I’m leaving in the morning” and “I don’t know if I’m ever coming home” have a totally different meaning once you realize that. In 1966, it meant the guy was about to ship out to ‘Nam.

    A little more sly than that year’s “Ballad of the Green Berets,” that’s for sure.

  3. […] 5. The Monkees- (Theme From) The Monkees from The Best Of The Monkees (2003) The Monkees And Me […]

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