Hey Hey, It's The Monkees! The Story Of The Pre-Fab Four

By | September 20, 2017

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The Monkees, left to right: Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith. (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)

The story of The Monkees, a television show that would chronicle the imaginary rise to fame by an imaginary Beatles-esque band, would make a good TV show in itself. The Monkees (Peter Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith) were musically talented, but famously didn't play the music on their songs. The Monkees did sing the vocals -- and what vocals they were! This TV band, four young men who didn't know each other and were brought together by producers -- a "fake" band, you might say -- had real hits, bigger hits than anyone could have expected. The Monkees were intended as a parody of The Beatles, but at their peak they were dueling with The Beatles on the pop charts. "I'm A Believer," "Last Train To Clarksville," "Daydream Believer," and "Steppin' Stone" were '60s anthems, and they came from a TV show. In addition to recording some of the '60s most memorable songs, The Monkees sold out concert halls across the country. The four actors who answered the audition ad in Daily Variety became icons of the decade and heartthrobs to teenage girls from coast to coast.

The Monkees premiered in 1966 and was on TV until 1968. The audience fell in love with Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith. MTV revived the sitcom again back in 1986 and a whole legion of new fans were born again, with reunion tours and new records. 

The Beatles 'Hard Day’s Night' Film Inspired the TV Show Developers

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Source: IMDB

The initial idea for the television show The Monkees actually began in 1962 as the brainchild of aspiring filmmaker, Bob Rafelson. But he was unsuccessful in selling his pitch to TV executives. Rafelson shelved his idea and went to work for Screen Gems where he met Bert Schneider, whose father was an executive for the TV unit at Columbia Pictures. Encouraged by his father, Schneider and Rafelson formed their own production company, Raybert Productions. Then, in 1964, the Beatles film Hard Day’s Night hit the big screen and further heightened Beatlemania. The success of Hard Day’s Night led Rafelson and Schneider to resurrect Rafelson’s old idea for a television series on a similar vein. This time around, the concept for The Monkees was more favorably received. Rafelson and Schneider sold the idea to Screen Gems Television in 1965.