Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Belated B-day To Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones of The Monkees

Sunday Dec. 30th marked the birthdays of both Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones of the Monkees (they turned 65 and 62, respectively). As some of you may know, the Monkees' 4th album "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones, Ltd." got its name from the astrological sign of each band member. Since "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Capricorn, Ltd." would have been redundant, they tacked on Jones' name at the end.

As a "2nd generation Monkee fan", I discovered the show in reruns during the 1970s (Saturday mornings on CBS and ABC and weekday afternoons on Ch. 50 in Detroit). When I was younger, it was the music and silly antics that attracted me to "The Monkees". As I got older, these were still reasons for me to tune in; however, I began to get the inside jokes, parodies, and political commentary that the series featured as well. I sometimes regret that they didn't make more than the 58 episodes of the series that were produced. However, I can understand them wanting to move beyond the "Davy falls in love/Monkees get chased by the villain of the week" formula.

In regards to the Monkees' music, one thing that I have come to appreciate about it is its diversity. Although they share the same birthday, the musical interests of Mike and Davy couldn't have been more different. Monkee tunes sung by Nesmith were usually in the country-rock vein (before the term was even coined), while the ones fronted by Davy were more pop oriented (with an occasional vaudevillian/show tune feel to them).


The Rock Chick said...

I loved the Monkees as a kid, too. They were on in reruns right after school and I used to race home to watch them.

It's funny you posted this because on Saturday night, I had some people over for poker and we were trying to figure out how old The Monkees were now. I said they had to be in their 60's because I thought the shows were taped in the 1960's. Everyone thoguht they taped in the 70's because thats when we all watched them, but we were watching reruns!

Holly Smith said...

I was such a huge fan of the Monkees as a kid. My mom even took me to see them in 1987?? at Six Flags Astroworld. It was my very first concert, and Weird Al Yankovich was the opening act : ).
I used to watch the reruns during the summers, and my friend and I were in love with Davy. As for their music, I totally agree with you, there's something for everyone. I have the Greatest Hits CD, but I have old cassette tapes of most of their other songs. I like "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" the best now, but as a kid I loved "Valerie" and "Daydream Believer" the best.

Malcolm said...

Jessica: On my way home from work, I was thinking about your comments. It's hard to believe that "The Monkees" series is over 40 yrs old (it ran from 1966-1968). I might have thought the same as you (that the show was made in the 70's) when I was kid. It's funny because one of my nieces is a 3rd generation Monkee fan (she used to watch the reruns on Nickelodeon in the 80's). When I first told her that "The Monkees" was made in the 60's, she didn't believe me. It took her awhile to grasp the fact that the cute little Englishman she enjoyed watching was now in his early 40s.

Holly: I still regret that I didn't make an effort to go see The Monkees in concert. I didn't know that Weird Al toured with them. I'll bet that was something to see.

Back when Monkeemania II was in full swing, a guy I knew gave me a mix tape he made from several of their albums. I wore that tape out.

The Monkee tunes you listed are enjoyable... esp. "Pleasant Valley Sunday". Some of my other faves are: "Sweet Young Thing", "Your Auntie Grizelda", "Shades of Grey", "Randy Scouse Git", "Words", and "Circle Sky".

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

I adore the Monkees! I just stopped by to wish you a very Happy New Year. I am so glad I met you this year, Malcolm, thanks for all the great info you share with me!

X. Dell said...

I've been watching The Monkees on OnDemand. I'd forgotten how funny they were, even though the schtick component, something that annoyed me a bit, I didn't notice as a young 'un.

I love their movie, Head, though.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Ahhh The Monkees.

As to Davy songs:

Someday Man
Love To Love
Star Collector
She Hangs Out
and of course, Daydream Believer

Now for Mike

Listen To The Band
Papa Gene's Blues
St Matthew
The Door Into Summer
Love Is Only Sleeping
Sweet Young Thing

Yeah...I love the Monkees :)

Malcolm said...

Barbara: Happy New Year to you as well! I had discovered your blog earlier this summer, but then lost track of it somehow. I am glad that we reconnected.

X. Dell: I can't remember which one of the Monkees said it, but one of them remarked that the comedy on the show was conventional. He then said something along the lines of once they were turned loose on the material, they gave it a fresh spin. I think that all four of them had comic talent, but my favorite was Micky.

Mistress of the D: You named some really good ones! I need to get another copy of "Someday Man" (I had it on the compilation "Monkee Business" that I bought in the late 80s).

I almost included "She Hangs Out" in the You Tube player that I embedded on this post. Unfortunately, You Tube didn't have the clip that I preferred (the one on the multi-colored set that they used for many of the performances at the end of the 2nd season episodes). Yeah... it's probably silly of me, but I can be picky that way. :-)

I wished that some of Mike's Monkee-led tunes had been released as singles (I read that "Love Is Only Sleeping" almost was a single, but was pulled at the last minute).Back in the mid 90s, I bought a CD called "Here No Evil: A Tribute To the Monkees". It features a lot of indie artists doing their take on tunes like Last Train To Clarksville, Door Into Summer, Mr. Webster, You Told Me, and Daydream Believer. It also includes a group called The Bob Rupe Band doing their version of St. Matthew. Although I had never heard Mike's version at the time, it sounded to be a faithful rendition because I recognized it as a Nesmith song right away.

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