I don’t care what you say. The Monkees were great.

MonkeesDon’t blame me. It’s regular reader Ruthanne (a Queensborough girl like myself) who got me thinking about The Monkees. In a recent comment here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, Ruthanne shared the absolutely wacky information that Monkee Mike Nesmith‘s mum was the creator of White-Out. Now if that doesn’t beat all! But anyway, it did get me thinking about The Monkees,  a made-up 1960s TV band whose show was wildly popular when I was growing up here at the Manse – and who, to their great credit, turned themselves into a real band. Baby-boomer purists like Raymond tend to turn up their noses at The Monkees, but let me tell you, all one has to do is dig up two or three of their hits on YouTube and even those musical snobs will be tapping their feet and humming along.

So tonight, since it’s Friday and I think Friday nights are a good time to have some musical entertainment, I believe I will share with you Katherine Sedgwick’s picks for the Top 5 Monkees Songs Ever. Because, you know, why not?

But I also have a challenge for you at the end: Which song do you think should be added to the list to make it the Top Half-Dozen Monkees Songs Ever?

Okay, here are my picks. Tap your toes, hum along and enjoy:




#2 (Did you know this one was about the Vietnam War? Who says the Monkees weren’t topical?):

And I think #1 just has to be:

Okay, time to vote for the sixth song to round out this Top Half-Dozen. (Copy and paste the link from each for more video fun with The Monkees):

17 thoughts on “I don’t care what you say. The Monkees were great.

    • The Monkees were a real band. Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork were musicians before even being cast in the Monkees. As a matter of fact Peter Tork is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, keyboard, banjo) They were not allowed to play on the first 2 albums. Music supervisor, Don Kirshner brought in session musicians (known as the Wrecking Crew) who played on many other albums including the Beach Boys and others

      The 3rd album (Monkees Headquarters) was all Monkees on instruments. Michael Nesmith played pedal steel, organ and 6 string guitar; Peter Tork played keyboard, 12 string guitar, bass and banjo. Davy played tambourine but believe it or not knew how to play drums. Micky had been cast as the drummer so he learned drums. Micky played drums on the album and got better as they went along. The following CD they all played on as well and subsequent CD’s after that they played and brought in other musicians. They all took turns on vocals thought it was predominantly Micky on vocals with a large number of turns by Davy and Mike.

      They also WROTE. Mike Nesmith wrote several songs including Mary, Mary, You Just May Be the One, and several others. (Pre-Monkees fame he also wrote Different Drum which was a hit for Linda Ronstadt & the Stone Ponies) Peter Tork wrote what became the closing theme of the show in the 2nd season (For Pete’s Sake) and Micky Dolenz wrote Randy Scouse Git. Peter also came up with the introductory piano riff for Daydream Believer.

      I’ve seen the Monkees in the past year. They all play and also have a good size backing band which includes Mike’s son Christian Nesmith, who is quite the guitar player himself and plays Jimmy Page in a Led Zeppelin tribute band called Led Zepagain. Micky plays both drums and guitar. Mike plays guitar and keyboard and Peter switches off from keyboard to banjo to guitar. And Micky Dolenz’s vocals sound as good as they ever did. They are a band. A Monkees concert is a lot of fun – great songs, musicianship and even clips from the old TV shows. People have a great time.

      • Ellen, you make an extremely persuasive case for The Monkees being a real, honest-to-goodness band, and I think even my doubting husband will be convinced! I appreciate all the information you’ve sent very much indeed. And I am deeply envious of you for getting to see them in concert!

      • Katherine, I don’t know where you live but the Monkees are doing some dates on the east coast and in the Midwest starting on May 22nd. If you are in those areas, you can check the schedule on Monkees.net. They always have info on their tours. Plus Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith have some solo shows coming up in other areas. But be forewarned, Mike does not do Monkees tunes in his solo show.

      • Thanks again, Ellen! I did check the tour schedule, but unfortunately all the dates are in places far far from me. I am in beautiful Eastern Ontario, though often travel to New England; sadly, no dates there either. I will keep an eye on it, though; they need to come to Burlington, Vt., or Boston! (Or Toronto, or Montreal.)

      • Katherine, they are playing in New England next month – May 22nd at Hampton Beach Casino in Hampton, NH.

      • Oh man, Ellen, you’re killing me! I have to be in Montreal that weekend because Raymond and I are subscribers to the Opéra de Montréal (I know, I know, The Monkees, the opera…) and it’s Turandot. Instead of hearing I’m a Believer, it’ll be Nessum Dorma. Which is also a great song! But I will totally keep my eye on the tour schedule, because you’ve got me completely convinced that a Monkees concert would be more fun than anything. (Raymond may take a bit of convincing, but I will convince him!)

      • Turandot! I love that one. Have you been to a performance before? I saw this about 30 years ago at the O’Keefe Centre in Toronto, with Martina Arroyo singing the title role. It was a terrific performance — apart from someone sitting in front of me who had drenched herself in a spicy perfume and nearly caused everyone to start sneezing.

      • That was before the politically-correct don’t-wear-perfume era, I guess, Sash. (I miss those pre-politically-correct days, I have to admit – even if it meant an occasional bad run-in with bad perfume, and too much of it.) Yes, we saw Turandot once before at the OdM, but of course it’s a perennial favourite. Always fun to get dressed up and go out to a night at the opera!

  1. As befits my age, I guess, I’m halfway between you and Ray on this. They weren’t much more of a real group than the Archies or Milli Vanilli when they started, but they did sell an awful lot of green toques and got better as they went along. I particularly like their versions of “What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round?” and “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You.” But an even cooler bit of trivia than the White-Out connection is that those of us who are old enough to see the Beatles on their first Ed Sullivan appearance in February 1964 were also introduced to Davy Jones that night. We just didn’t take notice. Bonus, sweet Georgia Brown:

    • Oh wow! What a find! Who knew? (Well, I guess you did.) And the same night as the Beatles! But I do have to say that nobody could have been better than the late Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger – no, not even the late Davy Jones.

  2. My ‘other’ vote was for Pleasant Valley Sunday. I love hearing that song. And as for the Monkees, I have a photo I may send your way just for fun from 1967 showing my twin brother Ernie and moi dressed in ‘Monkees’ style shirts… the ones with the double buttons on the front at the top of the shirts. I say ‘moi’ because the picture captures another icon of that era in that it shows the two of us, with our mother, behind bars at the photo-op jail at Expo 67 in Montreal. All of us are trying our best to look like hardened criminals, though the Monkees shirts don’t help. Our mother seems to have it down better than the two of us. Perhaps she felt more natural in that environment… Montreal, not jail… because she is from Ste-Agathe, just north of Montreal.
    Thanks for the subject. And what a treat to see the Ed Sullivan Oliver clip as a bonus.

  3. I like all of the songs you’ve listed, and this was a fave, too (even though it was more of an “album cut” and not of their bigger hits):

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