The Beatles Wiki


The Beatles Wiki
The Monkees 1966

The Monkees were an American pop rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1966, comprising Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Davy Jones. They were conceived in 1965 as a fictional band for the sitcom The Monkees by the television producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider. Music credited to the Monkees appeared in the sitcom, which aired from 1966 to 1968, and was released on LP.

While the sitcom was a mostly straightforward affair, the music production generated tension and controversy almost from the beginning. Music supervisor Don Kirshner was dissatisfied with the quartet's musical abilities, and he limited their involvement during the recording process, relying instead on professional songwriters and studio musicians. This arrangement yielded multiple hit albums and singles, but it did not sit well with the band members, who were facing a public backlash for not playing on the recordings. After a brief power struggle, the band members gained full control over the recording process. For two albums, the Monkees mostly performed as a group, but, within a year, each member was pursuing his own interests under the Monkees name. By the end of 1968, they were once again a group in name only, the show had been canceled, and their motion picture, Head, had flopped. Tork left the band soon after, followed by Nesmith a year later, and the Monkees officially broke up in 1970.

A revival of interest in the television show came in 1986, and over the following 35 years the group periodically reunited for official reunion tours, a major-network television special, and four new full-length studio albums, though these efforts rarely featured all four members performing together. With Jones' death in 2012 and Tork's in 2019, Dolenz and Nesmith were left to embark on a farewell tour in 2021, finishing shortly before Nesmith's death at the end of the year.

Spurred by the success of the show, the Monkees were one of the most successful bands of the 1960s. With international hits, including "Last Train to Clarksville", "I'm a Believer", "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You", "Pleasant Valley Sunday", and "Daydream Believer", four chart-topping albums and three chart-topping songs ("Last Train to Clarksville", "I'm a Believer", and "Daydream Believer"), they sold more than 75 million records worldwide, making them one of the biggest-selling groups of all time. However, claims from newspapers and magazines that the Monkees in 1967 outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined are false and originated from Nesmith in a 1977 interview.

Connections to the Beatles[]

The group's television series bore many similarities to The Beatles' two films, A Hard Day's Night and Help!, and their albums and singles were crafted by some of the best songwriters and producers of the period. The band's television series premiered and their first album was released shortly after The Beatles' last tour in September of 1966 and they quickly became popular with teenagers who had grown tired of the Beatles.

In 1967, during a tour of the United Kingdom, the Monkees met the Beatles, and John Lennon stated he was a fan of the group and proclaimed them "the greatest comedy team since the Marx Brothers". Group member Michael Nesmith appears in the A Day in the Life promo video, breifly chatting with John.

In 1995, Dolenz, Jones, and Tork appeared alongside Ringo Starr in a commerical for Pizza Hut.


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