The Monkees started off as the cast of a TV show about a fictional rock and pop band. The concept was pitched by aspiring filmmaker Bob Rafelson in 1962, and was initially rejected. After the success of The Beatles' movie A Hard Day's Night, the TV show idea was revived, developed, and cast in 1965.
The cast/band consisted of Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Davy Jones, and Michael Nesmith, who all had backgrounds in music and acting. The instrument playing was mostly mimed for the show (at times in purposely over-the-top ways, like punching through a tambourine, rather than playing). However, in real life, the members of the band could play. They could also write songs and produce, but were limited by the show, so only a portion of that talent was explored.
The sitcom only ran from 1966, until its cancellation in 1968. By then, the band had become quite real, and recorded albums until 1971, before parting ways the first time. They have reunited in various forms several times, to varying success. Each lineup has contained Dolenz, and at least one other original member. There were never any outside people added.
There was a huge resurgence in The Monkees' popularity in 1986, which is when I became a fan. I met Davy Jones in, I believe, 1987, when his memoir was released. I also saw the group live around that time (then a trio without Nesmith).
Sadly, Jones died in February 2012, and Tork in February 2019. Dolenz and Nesmith remain active members of the group, and were to tour in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic placed those plans on hold.
However, a 25-track live album,The Monkees Live: The Mike & Micky Show was released in early April, 2020, much to their fans' delight.
In Loving Memory of Davy and Peter
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