Hey Hey We're The Monkees

FIFTY-TWO years ago this month, a creative idea brought together a pop band called The Monkees. It was to become one of the most popular bands of its time.

A year later in 1966, The Monkees' television show commenced and run until 1968. Back then, as a pre-adolescent girl, I gained my thrills glued to the screen watching the antics of these four crazy young men, I hummed their songs and with my friends declared and changed allegiance to a favourite Monkee on a regular basis.

You see, before my disappointment, I was truly a Believer.

I thought love was only true in fairy tales

Meant for someone else but not for me

Love was out to get me

That's the way it seemed

Disappointment haunted all my dreams.

Just as I had finally memorised the song's lyrics, I heard my friend's big sisters claiming The Monkees were just a "made-for-measure-TV-band." I refused to believe it. No, this was a real band, similar in its own way to the Beatles. They had struggled their way up the ladder, they had experienced rejection, couldn't find fame. Then finally, fortune smiled on them and the world rejoiced.

But, no, actually, disappointment haunted all my dreams.

The Monkees were a creation of a young movie and TV director Bob Rafelson, who, looking for his big break, dreamed up a show about a struggling rock band. These days, The Monkees, claim fame as the first manufactured boy band. The TV division of Columbia agreed in 1965 to go ahead with the project. All that was then needed was a band - or, at least, "four insane boys" who could literally play the part. Both the Dave Clark Five and Lovin' Spoonful turned down the idea.

But, four boys were found and The Monkees television show burst onto TV screens the following year and was an instant success with its cheerful anti-establishment spirit, witty, knockabout humour and innovative direction. It also produced a string of memorable hits including I'm A Believer, Pleasant Valley Sunday and Last Train To Clarksville, establishing The Monkees, briefly, as America's leading rock band.

Stung by reports - which were true - that they didn't play on their own records, the band practised hard and went on tour. They took creative control with their third album, Headquarters, and became bona fide rock stars.

Their demise was signalled when they teamed up with Jack Nicholson in 1968 to make the psychedelic art movie, Head, directed by Rafelson. Praised by critics, the movie bombed with fans and caused dissension in the band. A disillusioned Tork was the first to quit, followed by Nesmith in 1970.Englishman Davy Jones died of a heart attack in 2012, aged 66, but the music lives on.


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Group guide: Wide Bay

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Group guide: Northern NSW

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Woman’s $2.80 bus fare led to $886 fine

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