Saturday, October 10, 2009

Remembering the Monkees

By Martin Sejas

If you grew up in the 1960s, then you would have heard of The Monkees and their distinctive music and style. If you didn't grow up in that era, then there is still a good chance that you have heard some of their hit songs either on TV, movies or another medium. Whatever the case, The Monkees' impact on music and the record industry was profound and the ripples are still being felt today.

One of the unique aspects of the Monkees was how the band originated. It wasn't like most bands from the 1960s who at one time or another met up to eventually form a group. Instead, the Monkees originated from an idea to create fictional band for a TV show. Two American filmmakers were inspired by the Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night to move ahead and make the concept a reality. As a result, they put an advertisement in a newspaper to attract people to the audition. Eventually, they chose 4 people to become members of a fictional band called the Monkees.

The new group then got assistance and training from songwriters and musicians to learn to function as a band before the first show would get underway. Their first single "Last Train To Clarksville" and their first album titled simply The Monkees shot to number 1 on the charts. Soon enough, the success of the TV show and the music meant that there was pressure for them to develop as a live act and go touring. Eventually as they toured, Monkeemania developed (a variation of the word Beatlemania) into a frenzy and because of that, the band members wanted to take more creative control over their music.

This led to a bitter separation from their musical coordinator who did not let them play their own instruments or use their own material. Nevertheless, the group continued to have big hits such as "I'm A Believer" and "Daydream Believer" in 1967 and which can still be heard on radio stations around the world. In total, the first four albums from the group went straight to number 1, a feat which has never been emulated since.

Despite their enormous success in such a short period of time, the popularity of the Monkees started to dip in 1968 and by 1969, they were cancelling shows due to poor ticket sales. By 1970, the group has disbanded and the end of the Monkees was confirmed.

Overall, The Monkees represented the first case of TV manufacturing a pop group and which has intensified in the 21st century. However, their outstanding success also demonstrated that they were more than just a TV band and that their music would live on.

Martin Sejas is the owner and chief writer of All Time Classic Songs, a website dedicated to showing the greatest songs ever written in the history of music. You can legally download The Monkees as well as other artists from the website.

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