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Fun Friday: Hey, Hey, We’re the Monkees

Friday, September 17, 2010


In the summer of 1988, I got a job working as a summertime nanny, taking care of a fourteen-year-old and a seven-year-old. They had cable at their house, and even though we didn’t watch a lot of TV, there was one hour during which we were always in front of Nickelodeon—from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. when two episodes of The Monkees aired. I’d never heard of this put-together group before then, but it only took one or two episodes for me to fall—and fall hard—for this group of hipsters from the 1960s. (Of course, growing up in the age of the mullet/long hair on guys, all of their riffs on being “long-haired weirdos” took me a while to catch onto—after all, their hair was shorter than that of most of the guys I went to school with.)

With the resurgence of their popularity because of Nickelodeon re-airing the show, their albums were pretty easy to come by—and I bought all of them that I could get my hands on. I also videotaped the shows when I was at the house where I worked, and then I took my tape recorder and recorded tapes of clips of some of my favorite dialogue and songs from the show.

At seventeen, my favorite Monkee was Peter Tork—which, if you know anything about him and anything about me seems odd: I usually go for the dark, intelligent guys, which Peter definitely wasn’t, at least on the show. I must have been able to sense that he wasn’t as ditzy as he played on the show, because I’ve since learned that he’s quite intelligent. But for me, at that age, he was the cutest. (I know, I know, Davy Jones was supposed to be the cute one, but even with the British accent, he didn’t do anything for me.)

Now that I’m experiencing a little bit of a revival of interest in the Monkees, after picking up a three-CD “greatest hits” set at Sam’s a couple of years ago, I find that I’m more drawn to Mike Nesmith, the stalwart, enigmatic one who seems to be the brains of this particular operation (at least as it was scripted for the show).

Now, I have to admit . . . it’s rare for me to read about the backgrounds/origins/life histories of celebrities whom I like. The more I know about them, the more it can possibly taint my enjoyment of the music they produced (or their movies or their TV shows or their books or whatever the medium happens to be). This is why I will never watch another Tom Cruise movie in my life. Because I know—and not on purpose—way too much about him to be able to see anything but the weird jumping on the sofa scientologist. So I have purposely written this post without looking up any information about the background of The Monkees, as a group or individually, nor any kind of “where are they now” information. I don’t want to know. All I’m interested in is the entertainment I get out of the TV show and their music.

And speaking of their music . . .

In the days before MTV, the Monkees introduced the music video, by featuring one of their songs—sometimes just them singing on a “stage” and sometimes with random footage and sometimes tying into the action happening in the actual storyline of that episode.

There were also some great songs on their albums that never made it onto the TV show:

Now, if you haven’t watched any of the other clips in this post, you should watch the last couple of minutes of this clip. (You can watch the whole thing if you want, but if you don’t have ten minutes, scroll up to 7:00 and watch to the end.)

Hopefully, if you’ve never heard/heard of the Monkees, I’ve piqued your interest and you’ll listen to some samples and discover you like some of their music. If you’ve loved the Monkees for a long time, which Monkee is your favorite? What are your favorite songs? TV episodes?

11 Comments
  1. Friday, September 17, 2010 12:40 am

    Ah, I love the Monkees! Their show aired before I was around, but I loved the re-runs and have a thing for ’60’s music. Mike was my favorite. Davy was cute, but I like the dark and serious kind. That or the Geek. I usually have a thing for goofy and intelligent. 🙂 As my niece says, I like them to be “adorkable”.

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  2. Friday, September 17, 2010 7:54 am

    Oh thank you for this trip down memory lane, Kaye! As a young girl of 12 in the late 60s I adored them, and believe it or not, Peter Tork was also MY favorite (although I’ll admit I thought Davy was cute too). ~ My sweet Mama (now in Heaven) gave me a surprise 12th birthday party (which was a huge deal back then–we didn’t have much $$) and my entire class attended – – and what stands out in my mind is that we kept playing “I’m a Believer” over and over and over….LOL! Thanks for this post! ~ Patti Jo

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  3. Leslie permalink
    Friday, September 17, 2010 10:40 am

    Yeah, the show was in re-runs when I was a kid but it was the mid-80’s for me as well – I loved the Monkees!

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  4. Friday, September 17, 2010 12:42 pm

    LOVED the Monkees. They did a reunion tour when I was in high school (late 80s) but I couldn’t go…but my friend Tonya and I used to watch them all the time!

    I think my favorite song is “Daydream Believer” and I loved all four of the Monkees.

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  5. Friday, September 17, 2010 1:17 pm

    Oh my goodness, Kaye! Count me among the (way too young for this) Monkees fans! I was a Torkaholic, too, as we called it on the listserv in the 90s. Monkees fanfic was one of the places I cut my writing teeth as a teenager. (Micky was my second fave, especially in second season episodes.) Oddly enough, I don’t like their hit songs as much as the rest of their albums, but I can’t remember what my favorite song was by them.

    Side note: Gonna Buy Me a Dog was actually in a couple episodes. I have the VHS box set and it has an index of the songs in the episodes… hold on…

    Okay, I can’t get to it, so to the Internet. Oh, thanks Wikipedia: it was used in “I’ve Got a Little Song Here” and “Monkees Blow Their Minds” (instrumental—which, incidentally, was my favorite episode, though “The Devil & Peter Tork” is definitely a masterpiece. The beginning of that clip is brilliant.).

    I’ve also seen Peter Tork and Davy Jones in concert (separately) and met them. Man, that was 10 years ago. Thanks for that reminder!

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  6. Kirsten permalink
    Friday, September 17, 2010 4:08 pm

    This brought back great memories! I discovered The Monkees through the Nickelodeon re-runs, also, and fell hard. My best friend from middle-school and high-school still teases me about the poster of The Monkees I had on my wall. :o) I always rushed home to catch their show. Great times. My favorite was Michael Nesmith. I loved his button “Save the Texas Prairie Chicken.”

    My favorite song is “Laugh.” Thanks for the memories.

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  7. Friday, September 17, 2010 6:31 pm

    Peter was my favorite too. Not sure why. Hmmmm.
    A nice trip down memory lane, Kaye!

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  8. Amee permalink
    Friday, September 17, 2010 9:17 pm

    I only remember the theme song, but I did watch the show when they had reruns on Nick at Nite for the Block Party scheduling during the summers (in the 90s). I didn’t know they had whole cds! I just thought they were the tv show. 😛

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  9. Virginia C permalink
    Sunday, September 19, 2010 7:48 am

    I was a Monkees fan. Loved the show, loved the music. I would say that Mickey was my favorite. Neil Diamond is my all-time favorite singer. I didn’t realize until many years after the Monkees had their initial run, that Neil was behind some of their biggest hits, including “I’m a Believer”.

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  10. CJ Johnson permalink
    Monday, September 20, 2010 2:12 pm

    Kaye, I had to come find you online after meeting you this weekend – and to learn you are officially a Monkees fan just makes me love you more! I’m obviously older than you because I watched them in re-runs in the 70’s, weekdays at 5pm, praying my Dad wouldn’t walk in from work before 5:30 and say “Turn that off, I can’t stand that show.”

    Now I watch it with my boys on DVD from Netflix, and my 6-year-old in particular loves them and loves the songs. He is most impressed with Mike (Wool-Hat) but thinks Micky is hilarious. Along with Journey, they are his favorite group. (Am I a good mom or what for passing such culture on to the next generation!)

    Off to watch some videos now…

    Best regards, CJ

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  11. Thursday, September 30, 2010 7:12 pm

    Davy’s Back ! Well actually he never left.

    Just a quick note to make you aware of some Davy Jones happenings. My client, children’s music artist Billy Kelly featured Davy on his latest CD. Davy joined Billy on his song “Me And My Brand New Haircut”. You can listen to the song here:
    http://thebillykellyshow.com/public/mp3/player.html

    Davy & Billy shot a video for the song last week. The full video will be out on October 26th. In the meantime here is a little teaser video they put together.

    If you have any questions about this please let me know. In the meantime feel free to share this song and video with your followers.

    Bob Albin
    YAY! Music
    (570) 452-5153

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