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The Monkees coming to Mesa for a pleasant Valley Friday

The Monkees

No doubt due to the slapstick antics that the members of The Monkees, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork, displayed on their television show, The Monkees were easily dismissed as being a serious rock band. But that didn’t stop their first four albums from topping Billboard Magazine’s album charts. “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” and “Daydream Believer,” all became number one hits.

Haters (although such a term did not exist as a noun in the 1960’s) were more than happy to mention that The Monkees were a Beatles rip off, that the band members did not play their own instruments and that the band didn’t even write their own songs. True, false and who cares?

Admittedly, it was the success of the Beatles film, “A Hard Day’s Night,” that inspired “The Monkees” creators/producers, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider to pitch their idea for a television series that centered around, not too seriously, the daily life of a young rock band. Rather than use an existing band for the show, the members of The Monkees were individually recruited via auditions. Although the four picked for the band and the show had never played together, they were musicians.

Both Tork and Nesmith had been working professionally in music for several years. Jones was a Tony Award nominated singer who could play drums. Dolenz, a former child actor, could play guitar. Although the line-up did not compliment the musical strengths of each member, The Monkees became Nesmith on guitar, Tork on bass guitar, Dolenz on drums and Jones as the front man.

Because of Jones’ size, it was thought he would be too hidden behind a drum kit and with Tork and Nesmith already proficient on guitar, Dolenz was the logical choice to become the group’s drummer. In a commentary track from the “The Monkees: Season 1” DVD release, Tork stated that had the live performance lineups been based solely on playing ability, it should have been Tork on guitar, Nesmith on bass and Jones on drums, with Dolenz taking the fronting role.

Unfairly criticized during their peak, history has shown The Monkees to be more influential than not. The Monkees use of a music video to help push record sales was unsurpassed until the phenomenon known as MTV came along thirteen years later (Nesmith took home the first ever Grammy Award for Video of the Year for “Elephant Parts” in 1982). Ever watch Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses shimmy in the video “Welcome to the Jungle?” Check out Davy Jones 20 years earlier in the video for “Daydream Believer”.

Sadly, due to a fatal heart attack suffered by Jones in February, 2012, the entire original Monkees’ line-up will not be able to perform together. However, this will be the first time since 1967, during the Monkees inaugural tour, that Nesmith, Tork and Dolenz will play together in the Phoenix area under The Monkees moniker.

Tickets for the August 9 show are still available and are priced from $59.50 to $129.50 plus applicable fees. Tickets can be obtained online by phone at (480) 644-6500.

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Saturday, 18 May 2024

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