Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Birthday wishes go out today to Micky Dolenz - drummer, vocalist, and one-quarter of The Monkees who (with Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork) were a manufactured band whose ensuing popularity seems to have taken just about everyone involved by surprise. Yet under the supervision of Don Kirshner the creation of Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider - who were themselves inspired by The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night - not only became enormously popular in their cultural moment but would remain so for thirty years. Pioneers in the field of boy bands, The Monkees also provided a crucial step in the evolution of the music video.
I'm a Believer was the band's second big hit, spending seven weeks at the Number 1 spot on the American charts as well as climbing all the way to the top of its UK counterpart in 1966, the year it was released; some of their other hits included Last Train to Clarksville (their first single and first US #1), Pleasant Valley Sunday, and Daydream Believer (yet another #1).
Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it seems inevitable that a band inspired by The Beatles when they were still fun would have a certain appeal, especially at a time when John, Paul, George, and Ringo themselves were evolving into a serious, thoughtful (albeit increasingly less fun) band; yet even thirty years after The Beatles had broken up The Monkees were still drawing crowds to their various reunion tours, dispensing their trademark brand of feelgood nostalgia with a puckishly infectious chemistry.
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