Band Photo of The Monkees

Learn About Iconic Pop Band the Monkeys

The Monkees was a pop-rock band that was initially created for a comedy television series that aired from 1966 to 1968 on NBC. The Monkees were composed of Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Michael Nesmith. The band had a handful of hit songs such as “Daydream Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” and “I’m A Believer.” In this article, we are going to lea/rn about the iconic band, The Monkees.

The Concept of the Show

According to the book “The Monkees: Day-By-Day Story of the ’60s TV Pop Sensation” by Andrew Sandoval, the TV show’s idea came from producer Bob Rafelson. He wanted to make a show that is centered around the adventures and antics of a band. In 1965, Rafelson, along with Bert Schneider, pitched the idea to Screen Gems, which is a TV subsidiary of Columbia Pictures. They focused on an already formed band, named The Lovin’ Spoonful, which has a folk-rock act. Later on, they cast members of The Monkees one by one.

Out of 437 hopefuls auditioned for the roles, the producers chose Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz. They were selected for their charms, talents, and their overall appearance as a group. Dolenz played drums, Nesmith played the guitar, Jones was the lead singer, and Tork played the bass. In late 1965, the band filmed the show’s pilot episode before they went home and waited if the show would push through.

The pilot episode was reinvented, and the screen test of the quartet was added. It became a hit with test audiences, that is why NBC decided to pick up the show and entitled it The Monkees.

The Show and the Songs

As the show was announced, the band also released their debut single entitled “Last Train to Clarksville.” However, the song was sung by Dolenz and not Jones, which is why he was often credited as the one who belted out the tune, which put The Monkees on the music industry.

Before the TV show premiered, the band embarked on a promotional tour in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. In fact, in one show, the band had to perform on a moving train. Drummer Micky Dolenz recalled that his drums fell all over the place during the said performance.

In September 1966, the TV show “The Monkees” debuted on NBC. A month after that, the band released their self-titled debut album, and their song, “Last Train to Clarksville” climb all the way up the charts. As time passed, the band improved musically, and they also started to perform live.

On the other hand, the show was able two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directional Achievement in Comedy and Outstanding Comedy Series. Every episode of the show features two songs, which the band lip-syncs to recording on camera.

End of the Show and Disbandment

The Monkees TV show ran for over two seasons, and it has a total of 58 episodes. The band grew tired of the same plot that is used in each episode, and they wanted to do a variety show format instead. However, the show’s producers and NBC did not agree to what the band wants, leading to the show’s cancellation even if it was still famous.

After the series ended, the band was able to star in two movies, namely “33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee,” and “Head,” however neither of the two became successful. The band released some songs after the series. However, it did not become hit songs. The band continued to do live shows; however, they noticed that fewer and fewer people attend their shows. In return, the members became uninterested and started to quit one by one.