Part of being a detail-oriented person is that I often spend a lot of time on one subject and forget to branch out to others. Such is the case with my taste in music. A long-time fan of the Monkees, I’m having a hard time moving on to something else, especially in today’s information-overload environment.
The attractive thing about the Monkees’ body of work is the range of artists involved, including the Monkees themselves. Don’t worry – I’m not going to claim that they played or wrote all their music. Watch their TV video of Daydream Believer. It’s pretty clear that four musicians can’t sound like an orchestra. (But they did play on the track.)
While The Beatles created a new sound for the 60s, The Monkees were the meeting ground for the 60s. I’m not a fact geek, but here’s how it appears to me:
- Songwriters included Neil Diamond, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Jerry Goldstein.
- Their show was inspired by (or copied off of, depending on your point of view) the Beatles’ movie, A Hard Day’s Night.
- The Beatles influenced them in other ways, too, including Micky’s drugged-out song Randy Scouse Git.
- They recorded protest songs like Auntie Grizelda, Zor and Zam, and Mommy and Daddy (the link goes to an earlier version that wasn’t released, and here’s a link to an interview on the song).
- Jack Nickolson co-produced their movie, Head.
- Michael Nesmith created the pre-cursor to MTV, Popclips and was involved with starting up MTV. (And his mother invented Liquid Paper.)
- The group re-united once in awhile, in various incarnations. I’m not a fan of Pool It! but I like Justus. (In a talk I saw back in the late 90s, Davy mentioned that the word play in the title was intentional and reflected what they felt was still owed them.)
And yet there’s only so much Monkees I can handle. I have other favourites, but nothing comes close to the depth of music available in the Monkees’ body of work. I’m looking for a new group or musician to follow (or several). They don’t have to be famous. I’m used to getting looks like, “You don’t know Green Day’s biggest hits?”
The Monkees were unique in that they started out as an artificial boy band but then coalesced into a group. I can listen to a hit or two when I’m in the mood. I can listen to a protest song when I’m in the mood. I can listen to a song I can’t stand when I want to say, “Why on earth would someone write that?”
It would be great to find a new musician or group with a wide body of work. (It can certainly be a growing body of work – I’m open.) Any suggestions?