Remembering the Monkees

A few weeks ago I heard that Davy Jones had died and it made me sad. As a kid, I loved watching the Monkees television show and thought their music was great. In the 1970s and 1980s in the San Francisco Bay Area, channel 44 would play reruns of the old Monkees television show and I got hooked on watching the show. I thought they were the coolest group, until a distant cousin visited our home with his latest Prince cassette and thought I was uncool for liking the Monkees. I eventually grew to like Prince too, but I never stopped liking the music of the Monkees. They were just catchy songs. When I went to college, I met my friend Greg Beda, who was a big Monkees fan, and he let me borrow a 4 disc Monkees compilation and realized they actually had a very diverse set of music.

The Monkees were formed in the mid sixties for a television show about a rock group that imitated the madcap comedy of the Beatles of A Hard Day’s Night. When I was a kid, I heard that the Monkees did not play know how to play their own musical instruments and only faked playing for the show. I later found out that was only partly true. Both Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork were experienced musicians who wrote songs and knew how to play guitar before they got on the show. Mickey Dolenz knew how to play guitar, but he was assigned by the television producers to be the drummer for the group, and he had never played drums before. So during the early part of the show, he had to learn how to play drums, and he eventually became a decent drummer. A group of the top songwriters of the time, including Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Harry Nilsson, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil, provided them with music for their show. Eventually the Monkees asserted themselves, and they played their own instruments for their songs starting with the album Headquarters. They also began contributing songs that they wrote to their albums, with Mike Nesmith contributing the songs “You Just May Be The One”, “Listen To The Band”, “Nightly Daily”, “Don’t Call On Me”, and “Mary Mary”, Peter Tork contributing “For Pete’s Sake” and Mickey Dolenz contributing “Randy Scouse Git”.

When I found out that Davy Jones had died, I looked through youtube and found several Monkees songs there from their television show. Instead of their usual hits, I thought I’d post some of their lesser known songs that I really like.

A youtube video of the Monkees performing the song “Love Is Only Sleeping”

A youtube video of the Monkees performing the song “Randy Scouse Git”

A youtube video of the Monkees performing the song “Cuddly Toy”

A youtube video of the Monkees performing the song “What Am I Doing Hanging Round”

A youtube video of the Monkees performing the song “Star Collector”

A youtube video of the Monkees performing the song “I’m Going Down”

A youtube video of the Monkees performing the song “Riu Chiu”

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About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Since my time in college, my goal has been to be a successful children’s book illustrator. I’ve illustrated 3 books: Two Moms the Zark and Me by Johnny Valentine in 1993; Night Travelers by Sue Hill in 1994; and Cherubic Children’s New Classic Story Book Volume 2 for Cherubic Press in 1998. I’ve painted murals for Lester Shields Elementary School in San Jose, the Berryessa branch of the San Jose Public Library, and Grace Community Church in Los Altos. I’ve had a few illustrations published in South Bay Accent Magazine and I will have an illustration published in the January/February issue of Tikkun magazine.
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