I was the perfect age to enjoy The Monkees. They already had a #1 single (Last Train to Clarksville) when their series premiered in September 1966. I was a month away from turning 8. The Monkees were instant stars. In 1967, The Monkees sold more records than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.
Little did fans know that behind the scenes there was turmoil. The Monkees had some of the best song writers (Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, Carole King to name a few) and studio musicians (Glen Campbell!) playing on their songs, but The Monkees weren’t allowed creative control or even allowed to play instruments for their records. They were told what to sing, and when to sing. Of course this didn’t sit well with them. Tensions grew after The Monkees went on a sold out tour where they did sing and play their own instruments.
Despite a popular television show, a feature film, and three number one albums in a row things were about to come off the rails.
The Monkees: Behind the Music is an extremely well done short documentary that looks at the rise and fall of The Monkees. It’s interesting to note the number of comebacks the group has made over the years with different combinations of Davy, Mickey, Mike and Peter… as well as one outing with Davy, Mickey and song writers Boyce & Hart (who wrote some of the Monkees’ biggest hits).
The Monkees (Mickey and Mike, Davy died in 2012, and Peter passed in 2019) are doing a farewell tour that starts in September 2021, runs for over 30 performances and concludes on November 14th. I just might have to see them live. I know that would thrill the 7 year old in me.