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Thread: Turn It Up! - The Monkees

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    Default Turn It Up! - The Monkees

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    "Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio
    Turn it up, that's enough, so you know it's got soul
    Radio, radio turn it up..."
    - Van Morrison

    The average length of the 45 rpm single is 3 minutes and 30 seconds...

    If you can't say what needs to be said in 3 minutes and 30 seconds then it probably isn't worth saying...

    "Turn It Up!" is a series about those classic tunes played on radio stations the world over that still live on over the airwaves of our memories and the artists who created them...

    The Monkees

    The Monkees were an American rock and pop band originally active between 1966 and 1971, with reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. They were formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the American television series The Monkees which aired from 1966 to 1968.

    The musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork; and British actor and singer Davy Jones. The band's music was initially supervised by producer Don Kirshner, backed by the songwriting duo of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.

    The four actor-musicians were allowed only limited roles in the recording studio for the first few months of their five-year career as "the Monkees".

    Dolenz described the Monkees as initially being "a TV show about an imaginary band… that wanted to be the Beatles that was never successful". Ironically, the actor-musicians became one of the most successful bands of the 1960s. The Monkees have sold more than 75 million records worldwide making them one of the biggest selling groups of all time.

    In assigning instruments for purposes of the television show, a dilemma arose as to which of the four would be the drummer. Both Nesmith (a skilled guitarist and bassist) and Tork (who could play several stringed and keyboard instruments) were peripherally familiar with the instrument but both declined to give the drum set a try. Jones knew how to play the drums and tested well enough initially on the instrument, but the producers felt that, behind a drum kit, the camera would exaggerate his short stature and make him virtually hidden from view. Thus, Dolenz (who only knew how to play the guitar) was assigned to become the drummer. Tork taught Dolenz his first few beats on the drums, enough for him to fake his way through filming the pilot, but he was soon taught how to play properly.

    Thus, the lineup for the TV show most frequently featured Nesmith on guitar, Tork on bass, Dolenz on drums and Jones as a frontman, singer and percussionist. This, however, is in opposition to the lineup which would have made the most sense based upon the members' musical strengths. For example, Tork was actually a more experienced guitar player than Nesmith, while Nesmith had at one time specifically trained on the bass. While Jones certainly had a strong lead voice and sings lead on several Monkees recordings, Dolenz's voice is regarded, particularly by Nesmith, as one of the most distinctive in popular music history and a hallmark of the Monkees' sound. This theoretical lineup was actually depicted once, in the music video for the band's song "Words", which shows Jones on drums, Tork playing lead guitar, Nesmith on bass and Dolenz fronting the group. In concert appearances Tork also took much of the guitar duties, even in appearances with Nesmith, and Dolenz often plays rhythm guitar on stage.

    Controversy hit early in 1967 concerning the Monkees' studio abilities. Dolenz told a reporter that the Wrecking Crew provided the backing tracks for the first two Monkees albums, and that his origin as a drummer was simply that a Monkee had to learn to play the drums, and he only knew the guitar.

    A January 28, 1967 Saturday Evening Post article quoted Nesmith railing against the music creation process. "Do you know how debilitating it is to sit up and have to duplicate somebody else’s records?" he asked. "Tell the world we don’t record our own music." The whistle-blowing on themselves worked to force producer Don Kirshner out of the project, and the band took creative control for its third album.

    But the Monkees toured the U.K. in 1967 and found a chilly reception. The front pages of several U.K. and international music papers proclaimed that the group members did not always play their own instruments or sing the backing vocals in the studio. They were derisively dubbed the "Pre-Fab Four", and the London Sunday Mirror called them a "disgrace to the pop world."

    Jimi Hendrix was their tour-opener that year, and he told Melody Maker magazine, "Oh God, I hate them! Dishwater… You can't knock anybody for making it, but people like the Monkees?"

    Critics of the Monkees observed that they were simply the "Pre-Fab four", a made-for-TV knockoff of the Beatles; however, the members of the Beatles themselves took it in their stride and even hosted a party for the Monkees when they visited England. The party occurred during the time when the Beatles were recording album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; as such, the party inspired the line in the Monkees' tune "Randy Scouse Git", written by Dolenz, which read, "the four kings of EMI are sitting stately on the floor."

    George Harrison praised their self-produced musical attempts, saying, "It's obvious what's happening, there's talent there. They're doing a TV show, it's a difficult chore and I wouldn't be in their shoes for the world. When they get it all sorted out, they might turn out to be the best." (Monkees member Peter Tork was later one of the musicians on Harrison's album Wonderwall Music, playing Paul McCartney's five-string banjo.

    Nesmith attended the Beatles session recording for single "A Day in the Life" at Abbey Road Studios; he can be seen in the Beatles' home movies, including one scene where he is talking with John Lennon. During the conversation, Nesmith had reportedly asked Lennon "Do you think we're a cheap imitation of the Beatles, your movies and your records?" to which Lennon assuredly replied, "I think you're the greatest comic talent since the Marx Brothers. I've never missed one of your programs."

    Nesmith wrote about this encounter on Facebook:

    "When the Beatles were recording Sgt. Peppers, Phyllis and I spent a few days with John and wife Cynthia Lennon at their home, and one in the studio with "the boys." That's where those pictures of John and I come from—the "Day in the Life" session. The minute I had the wherewithal—cachet and money—I raced to London and looked up John.

    During the '60s it seemed to me London was the center of the World and the Beatles were the center of London and the Sgt Pepper session was the center of the Beatles. It was an extraordinary time, I thought, and I wanted to get as close as I could to the heart of it. But like a hurricane the center was not stormy or tumultuous. It was exciting, but it was calm, and to an extent peaceful. The confidence of the art permeated the atmosphere. Serene—and really, really fun. Then I discovered the reason for this.

    During that time in one of our longer, more reflective, talks I realized that John was not aware of who the Beatles were. Of course he could not be. He was clueless in this regard. He had never seen or experienced them. In the strange paradox of fame, none of the Beatles ever saw the Beatles the way we did. Certainly not the way I did. I loved them beyond my ability to express it. As the years passed and I met more and more exceptional people sitting in the center of their own hurricane I saw they all shared this same sensibility. None of them could actually know the force of their own work."

    Dolenz was also in the studio during a Sgt. Pepper session, which he mentioned while broadcasting for radio WCBS-FM in New York (incidentally, he interviewed Ringo Starr on his program). On February 21, 1967, he attended the overdub and mixing session for the Beatles' "Fixing a Hole" at EMI's Abbey Road studio 2.

    During the 1970s, during Lennon's infamous "lost weekend", Lennon, Ringo Starr, Micky Dolenz, Harry Nilsson and Keith Moon often hung out together, and were collectively known in the press as "The Hollywood Vampires".

    Paul McCartney can be seen in the 2002 concert film Back in the U.S. singing "Hey, Hey, We're The Monkees", the theme from The Monkees television show, while backstage.

    The Monkees, selected specifically to appeal to the youth market as American television's response to the Beatles with their manufactured personae and carefully produced singles, are seen as an original precursor to the modern proliferation of studio and corporation-created bands. But this critical reputation has softened somewhat, with the recognition that the Monkees were neither the first manufactured group nor unusual in this respect. The Monkees also frequently contributed their own songwriting efforts on their albums and saw their musical skills improve. They ultimately became a self-directed group, playing their own instruments and writing many of their own songs.

    Notable achievements -

    Gave the Jimi Hendrix Experience their first U.S. concert tour exposure as an opening act in July 1967. Jimi Hendrix's heavy psychedelic guitar and sexual overtones did not go over well with the teenage girls in the audience, which eventually led to his leaving the tour early.

    Gene Roddenberry was inspired to introduce the character of Chekov in his Star Trek TV series in response to the popularity of Davy Jones, complete with hairstyle and appearance mimicking that of Jones.

    The only recording act to have four No. 1 albums in a 12-month (changed from 1 year to avoid confusion with a calendar year) span.

    In 2014 the Monkees were inducted into America's Pop Music Hall of Fame.

    The Music Business Association (Music Biz) honored the Monkees with an Outstanding Achievement Award celebrating their 50th anniversary on May 16, 2016.

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monkees

    Peak US chart position in parenthesis -

    "[Theme From] "The Monkees" - 1966 - (Did not chart until released as a B-side in 1986) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnLTfjWmfGY

    "Last Train to Clarksville" - 1966 - (# 1) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4FIu4Xj16I

    "I'm a Believer" - 1966 - (# 1) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55V6xLwsNGo

    "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" - 1966 - (# 20) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mZ_YDzoKmE

    "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You" - 1967 - (# 2) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji9CIyETZZI

    "Randy Scouse Git" - 1967 - (# 2 in the UK - Did not chart in the US) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bopJiZ7XDDA

    "Pleasant Valley Sunday" - 1967 - (# 3) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boJlejbuyw0

    "Words" - 1967 - (# 11) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHf7X7Mt66M

    "Daydream Believer" - 1967 - (# 1) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iho8DRdqQCU

    "Valleri" - 1968 - (# 3) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nEZ8-RfPTs

    "D. W. Washburn" - 1968 - (# 19) -

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cRCv06YNhM


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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Fascinating information.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    As for their TV work I thought the Monkees had a good chemistry. John Lennon calling them the funniest thing since the Marx Bros was probably pushing it, but I liked their TV show a lot. As regards session musicians playing on their early records, back then that was done more often than is usually recognised - i.e. Roger McGuinn was the only of the Byrds to actually sing and play on their Mr. Tambourine Man single and b-side, while Alex Chilton and Gary Talley were often the only members of the five-piece Box Tops to at all on much of their early material.

    Mike Nesmith is a quality musician and writer, and he did some fine country rock with his First and Second National Bands after the Monkees split.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    Great introductory remakrs.

    The Monkees were so much fun. Their music was secondary to their comedy, but they turned out to be able to hold their own on a stage - except it didn't matter, because the girls screamed so loudly, they could hardly even hear themselves. It's notable that when the MTV generation rediscovered them, their show didn't seem dated, like so many teenage shows from that era did.

    I really liked their car.

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    I always approached the Monkees from the point of the song and they covered the songs of some pretty good songwriters: Nilsson, Goffin and King, John Stewart, Neil Diamond. In addition, Nesmith added a few quality tunes as well. A personal favorite has always been As We Go Along by Dolenz, with an assist from Neil Young on guitar.

    Sidebar discussion: Take a Giant Step and The Porpoise Song both by Goffin and King have got to be some of the most hallucinogenic tunes of the era. Hmmmm, they didn't cover that in Beautiful!
    "He who makes songs without feeling spoils both his words and his music. " ~ Guillaume de Machaut

    "Music that is born complex is not inherently better or worse than music that is born simple." ~ Aaron Copland.

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    Senior Member Dan Ante's Avatar
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    Yes I enjoyed their TV show, was it really that long ago, where have all those years gone.
    "Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    I'm wit Jimi

    "Jimi Hendrix was their tour-opener that year, and he told Melody Maker magazine, "Oh God, I hate them! Dishwater… You can't knock anybody for making it, but people like the Monkees?""
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Jimi Hendrix was their tour-opener that year, and he told Melody Maker magazine, "Oh God, I hate them! Dishwater… You can't knock anybody for making it, but people like the Monkees?"
    I don't get Jimi's take. The Monkees were a lot of fun. I don't see why people couldn't like Jimi Hendrx and the Monkees. It's really a matter of variety.
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member Dan Ante's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    I don't get Jimi's take. The Monkees were a lot of fun. I don't see why people couldn't like Jimi Hendrx and the Monkees. It's really a matter of variety.
    Yeh Hendrix comes over as bitter or jealous, no matter they were good entertainers.
    "Understeer is when you hit the wall with the front of the car, oversteer is when you hit the wall with the rear of the car.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    In 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience were on the undercard for a UK tour with the mighty Engelbert Humperdinck - I wonder what Jimi thought of that.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    Senior Member Dan Ante's Avatar
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    Here we go again. ..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    In 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience were on the undercard for a UK tour with the mighty Engelbert Humperdinck - I wonder what Jimi thought of that.
    There were a total of eight shows (two each in four cities) done as part of the "package tour" -

    April 20, 1967 - ABC Cinema in Lincoln, Lincolnshire - with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Californians, The Quotations, and MC Nick Jones.

    April 21, 1967 - City Hall in Newcastle - same line-up as above.

    April 22, 1967 - Odeon Cinema in Manchester - same line-up as above.

    - Hendrix quote: "“Although I wasn’t scared starting my first big tour, we did wonder how they would accept us, there being so many different acts and us probably the most extreme of all. In Blackpool, the police slipped Mitch and Noel through side doors and took me around the block five times before helping me in. I lost some hair, but I might have lost the lot if they hadn’t been guarding me!

    April 23, 1967 - Gaumont Cinema in Hanley, Staffordshire - same line-up as above.

    If you're interested in "The Californians" -

    https://www.last.fm/music/The+Californians/+wiki

    Haven't been able to determine if "The Quotations" are the New York doo-wop group of "See You In September" fame...

    If anyone has a copy of this book it would make the basis of a great thread -

    "Legends on Tour: The Pop Package Tours of the 1960s"

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Legends-Tou.../dp/0752442759

    but not 200 plus £ "great"... so perhaps one of the UK members can just nick a copy from their local lending library, eh?
    Last edited by Sydney Nova Scotia; Aug-28-2018 at 12:30.

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    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Ante View Post
    Yeh Hendrix comes over as bitter or jealous, no matter they were good entertainers.
    Or Jimi thought, "I'm too cool to associat with this teeny bopper group."
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Sydney, I think there were a few more before then - my mum and sister saw Hendrix at the Gaumont cinema in Worcester on 2nd April 1967 - they did two shows that day and the bill was similar if not the same. When my sister next contacts me I can ask her if she can remember what sort of band the Quotations were.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Sydney, I think there were a few more before then - my mum and sister saw Hendrix at the Gaumont cinema in Worcester on 2nd April 1967 - they did two shows that day and the bill was similar if not the same. When my sister next contacts me I can ask her if she can remember what sort of band the Quotations were.
    Yes, I'm certain that you're right - I could only find a link for the shows listed in the post above but check out this story courtesy of Engelbert Humperdinck -

    "Engelbert Humperdinck: “Jimi Hendrix saved my show!”

    https://www.loudersound.com/features...-saved-my-show

    "A couple of Jimi’s musicians used to play with me before they were with him. In the early sixties, when I was becoming established in the United Kingdom, I had Noel Redding and the drummer Eric Dillon [who later joined Redding in Fat Mattress] in my band. Later on, when promoters wanted to introduce a foreign act into the UK they would put them on with an established artist.

    In spring 1967 I was part of a package tour with the Walker Brothers and Jimi and The Experience, though Cat Stevens and I were guesting more than being part of the billing.

    “I don’t know how many concerts we did together on that tour, but it was quite a thrill to be sharing the same stage as Jimi Hendrix. Little did I know that I was walking in the path of genius. It was immediately obvious that he was special, and that tour was when he started smashing his guitars up on stage and burning them, which was revolutionary in those days. I used to watch his show all the time from the wings. I remember seeing him burn his guitar, maybe even on the first night of the tour.

    “One night, I can’t remember exactly where, my guitarist didn’t show up. In fact he didn’t even call. But Jimi came over and said: ‘Don’t worry, man, I’ll play for you.’ I told him the audience would think it was bizarre if he was on stage with me. He went: ‘I’ll play behind the curtain.’ So he went behind a curtain at the side of the stage and played. It felt as though there were three guitars behind me that night. That’s how great he sounded. He was so solid and made everything sound massive. Afterwards I said to the audience: ‘I don’t think you people realise, but the great Jimi Hendrix has just been playing guitar for me.’ He saved my show.

    “We hung out together a few times on that tour. He was a very gentle man, a great person to be around. I’d smoke my cigars, we’d chew the fat a little, have a few drinks and relax. I didn’t talk about music with him, because we were in different leagues and into different kinds of things. But I do remember him offering me one of his military jackets one night. I just told him: ‘It’s okay. Thank you so much though.’ I was such a fool not to have taken it. I’m sick to this day that I didn’t say yes!”

    Reading this story makes me suspect that perhaps the genesis of the "Oh God, I hate them" quote from Hendrix stems from his bitterness over Mike Nesmith being unwilling to trade his green wool cap - (we call them "tuques" in Canada - tuques with pom-poms on top = formal wear; tuques without pom-poms = leisure wear) straight-up for one of Hendrix's military jackets. Nesmith reportedly said "New tuque for an old jacket, eh? - Thanks but no thanks!" Hendrix reportedly did not take that as well as one would have hoped and a vibrantly acrimonious life-long feud between himself and The Monkees ensued... all over a green tuque...

    Attachment 107181

    The above story may be somewhat apocryphal (with "apocryphal" being defined as "I'm completely making most if not all of this up")... but the Humperdinck story actually is true.

    - Syd
    Last edited by Sydney Nova Scotia; Aug-28-2018 at 13:19.

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