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Monkee Business: The Revolutionary Made-For-TV Band [Paperback]

Eric Lefcowitz , Stephanie Thompson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Jan 2011
The Monkees had everything-a popular TV show, hit records, and adoring fans. Everything but control over their careers. Author Eric Lefcowitz chronicles the kaleidoscopic journey of Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, following each of the four Monkees, together and apart, from 1965 to the present day. A must-read for music fans, "Monkee Business" is a definitive is the definitive biography of a rock and roll legend.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Retrofuture Products LLC; First Edition edition (3 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0943249007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0943249001
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can you dig it? 30 May 2011
By P. Rowe
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Whilst their albums have enjoyed frequent releases since their back catalogue was bought up by Rhino in the late 1980s there continues to remain a dearth of biographies for the biggest manufactured band of all time. Since the publication of Monkeemania The Monkees : Monkeemania in 1986 there has been just the excellent Sandoval book The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story of the 60s TV Pop Sensation, a couple of editions of Micky Dolenz's autobiography and the odd execrable solo Monkee book (Total Recall anyone?). Therefore this newly revised book from Eric Lefcowitz is to be welcomed. It delivers a well researched and brutally honest account of the band's origins right through to their truculent and seemingly endless reunion tours sans Nesmith. There are new anecdotes aplenty and insights into the fault lines that existed between the four actors almost before the series went on air.

Refreshingly and as might be expected, all these years later, the heart throb turns out to be a diva, the Texan is the arch manipulator, the dumb one is ultimately most damaged by the instant stardom and only Dolenz comes out the other side with anything resembling a normal life intact. The book pulls few punches and so the other players in it who get a less than impressive description are the band creators - rich kids Rafelson and Schneider and the Simon Cowell of his day Don Kirshner. Kirshner knew what would make the charts but as the Monkees demonstrated their music was far more interesting when he had been pushed to the sidelines.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you are a Davy Jones fan DONT BUY THIS!!!!!!!! 8 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The recent death of Davy Jones has rekindled my memories of being a Monkees fan in the 1960's so I thought I'd download this to fill in the gaps.
I can't be bothered to write a long winded review, the previous contributors have made a good job of it anyway. I did find the last few chapters quite sad, as the remaining three scratched around for work, the glory days far behind them. I did find the author's constant sniping of Davy Jones quite wearing after a while, the only flattering thing he wrote about Davy Jones was:
'Adorable Davy Jones took to wearing love beads with his paisley-printed shirts and crisply laundered Nehru jackets. Stoned or not stoned, he always managed to look sharp'
And he even managed to make that sound peevish, I don't know what DJ had done to the author but he REALLY does not like him!!!!!!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a read for all monkee fans 14 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a must for all you Monkee fans its great read it a must for you monkee collection my book is worth a bit more than amazon are selling it for now as i have got Micky Dolenz & David Jones signatures in it.

Please Please Bye this book its the best
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No primate punning here! 24 Jan 2011
By gilbert gigliotti - Published on
I should state that I've been a Monkees fan since the 60s. I used to watch the show in syndication. The family owned both the More of the Monkees and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones, LTD albums. I remember cutting out a cardboard guitar to play along with the records, and I sang a pretty mean version of "She" -- especially the "And now I know just why she keeps me hangin' round (hangin' round)/she needs someone to walk on/so her feet don't touch the ground (don't touch the ground)/but I love her (love her), need her (need her), want her (want her), yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah) yeah (yeah), SHEEEEEEEE" part! I learned a lot about heartbreak from those songs. Looking back, although my personality and size made me more a Davy Jones showbiz type of guy (and I was quite fond of the Nilsson-penned "Cuddly Toy," I really wanted to be Michael Nesmith (whose performance of "What Am I Doing Hangin' Round?" is as good a Leaving-the-girl-in-Mexico-was-indeed-a-mistake song as Sinatra's "South of the Border"). In short, I always have liked the Monkees and considered them a non-inconsiderable part of my cultural heritage.

Eric Lefcowitz's book, therefore, is a god-send. It offers not just a history of the band from it inception in 1965 until 2010, but more importantly it places the band/television show(s)/albums/concerts/film into the larger cultural scene. It demonstrates how the Monkees foreshadowed many things (great and small, good and bad) that are central to our world in 2011.

We meet a cast of characters, both the obvious (Mickey Dolenz, Jones, Nesmith, and Peter Tork) and the unexpected (i.e., familiar names not normally thought of in relation to the Prefab Four: creators Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, music mogul Don Kirshner, actor/writer Jack Nicholson, songwriters Boyce, Hart, Neil Diamond, Carole King, Nilsson, et al.). Then add in the friends, fans, and close acquaintances of the band (Stephen Stills, who had auditioned for the band and recommended Peter for it; Jimi Hendrix, who opened for the Monkees at their request!; Van Dyke Parks; the Beatles; David Crosby; Neil Young; Jackson Browne, et cetera...a veritable "Who's Who" of rock).

Lefcowitz's style is straightforward, and the book both informative and insightful. We get plenty of the details (the personalities, feuds, and factions) that such a history must offer. More significantly, however, when looking at the larger cultural landscape, the author, while making significant claims about the Monkees' place, never oversteps, never attempts to make too grand a case about them. Anybody who's ever written about anything knows how difficult that can be, and Lefcowitz deftly avoids that trap.

In short, if you're a Monkees fan, you love this book. If you're interested in the pop culture of the late-60's or interested in rock history, you'll love this book. If you've never "gotten" the Monkees (or think they were no more than a cynical money-making fabrication of some corporate suits), you'll learn much from this book. If you ever wondered the background of the creative team behind Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces and how the Monkees' film Head fits into it, take a look. And, if you ever wondered how Mike Nesmith managed to be at Abbey Road studios while the Beatles were recording "A Day in the Life," well, here's your book!

Hey, hey, we're ALL Monkees.

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Monkees mean Business baby 30 Sep 2010
By Lexi 'Nez' R. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I recently ordered the new Monkees book, 'Monkee Business' by Eric Lefcowitz. As a Monkees fan, once I caught whim of this new book, it was all I could do to wait for it to be released. Once I heard from Facebook that you could order it online from here, I jumped the gun and ran, credit card in hand, to my laptop to order it. It was a wonderful birthday gift to myself.

I own the book before the one, 'The Monkees Tale'. I read through that book in a day as well as 'Monkee Business'. And I loved it. There were a few misguided things, as Micky's tale as to why he wasn't drafted. It wasn't because of a childhood illness, but because he was to skinny and just a couple of other things, but otherwise, the book, much different than its ancestors, is a stunning tale. It tells of all the emotional turmoil the guys went through, throughout the sixties, as well as during their past reunion tours.

There are times in the book where you feel you are standing in the crowd among the thousands of fangirls. Then, there are times, you want to put your fist in the wall as Mike did during that meet with the villianous Donny Kirshner and last, times you feel as if you want to cry, as I did, when talking about the end of the Monkees special, 33 1/3 while the live version of Listen to the Band is played.

The book is much more currently updated down to Davy's marriage, the false tale behind the abusive releationship and to his drunken mishap on stage in which he challenged the audiance to a fight. He talks about Micky's marriage, Mike's VideoRanch webside and world(which is ALWAYS entertaining. Stop by when you can!) and briefly of Peter's advice column.

There are many other fun facts(such as the Plaster Caster story), little brief chats about the Monkees and their drug indulgences(personally my favorite is the story about Micky and his 'children')and many memoriable quotes that will have you stiffling giggles as your younger brother gives you odd looks.

The only other problem I saw, were the lack of pictures. Many of the pictures used in the book were ones used previously in others. it would have been nice to see some previously unreleased photos, if at all possible. The book did include a picture of each Monkee now, as well as bits and pieces of recent interviews. Being a paperback chapter book, I imagine it would have been a bit tough.(although I think if it had been formatted like Micky's unauthorized bio it may have worked a bit better)

The book also talks about one of my favorite subjects. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum. This is a subject I argue with constantly and have been planning a protest for. The Monkees may have their doubts, but fans are still out there. Plenty of them. Many who seek another tour as well. Someday, hopefully, perhaps the 'dashing' Jann Wenner will finally understand the Monkees became an actual rock group and one of the best yet. And no one has been able to mimic them.(I'm looking at you Big Time Rush folks)

All in all, I'd say this book is worth it in the end though. I throughly enjoyed reading it and plan on reading it at LEAST five more times. Its updated, very informal, and while most the pictures are the same, there are a few new ones fans may enjoy, not to mention plenty of humor and quotes. I give this book a 4 out of 5.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A manufactured image with no philosophy 20 Jun 2011
By Raven Shaddock - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Monkees mock themselves in the begining of their movie Head w/ a little ditty that goes...
"Hey, hey, we are The Monkees, You know we love to please, A manufactured image with no philosophy. You say we're manufactured. To that we all agree. So make your choice and we'll rejoice in never being free!"

"A manufactured image" will alway haunt them even when on tour they were asked if they play their own instruments. Mike replied w/ guitar in hand ready to enter on stage "if we don't we are in a lot of trouble."

The Monkees started out as an inspiration from The Beatles "Hard Days Night" movie. In 1965, Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider decided to make an American version. Advertising in Daily Variety for auditions of "folk & rock musicians - singers" to the public they were mobbed w/ people trying to make it. Creating their own American Idol search for the American Beatles band called The Monkees.

This book covers up to 45 years of The Monkees pre and post. Sixty Nine chapters range from 3 to 5 pages each. A true Faustian tale this book talks about each member as to what they were doing at the time. It's their lives together and apart. No matter where they are or what they do they will always be considered one of The Monkees.

This goes up to 2010 as to where they are now. Describing each album and I was very interesting to hear how and why members left the band. It was interesting to see how many punk bands loved The Monkees. Even a punk version was as Malcom states was his influence of creating The Sex Pistols. They even cover (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone as well as Minor Threat. Run-D.M.C. recorded "Mary, Mary" and Smash Mouth had a hit w/ "I'm A Believer" from The Shrek" movie.

The Monkees had plenty of talent backing them up in the writing pen. They had Carol King, Neil Diamond, Boyce & Hart, Nilsson to name a few. Plus session players like Glen Campbell, Neil Young, some members of The Byrds etc...

Author Eric Lefcowitz does an excellent biography of the band and keeps it fast paced like The Monkees episodes. It's interesting how life imitated art and how four young men looking for fame and fortune will forever be bonded.
As one of the voices in "Head" say "the tragedy of your times, my young friends, is that you might get exactly what you want."
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Monkees Tale Rewritten and Updated 23 July 2013
By RICHARD CAMERA - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just received my copy of this book yesterday. As soon as I got it I opened it and started going through it immediately. I received The Monkees Tale for my Birthday from my ex-girlfriend in the Summer of 1987. A couple of years after that I picked up the revised edition for it. I still have both those Books along with others on the Monkees. When this book was first published in 2010 I decided to wait cause I knew then that The Monkees story was not over just yet. And I was right cause in the Summer of 2011 The Monkees reunited once again for a tour. Sadly it would be the last one with Davy. On February 29th Davy Jones had sadly passed away at the age of 66 from a heart attack. We had lost one of The Monkees. Like other fans and the surviving members of the band I was shocked. Not long after this the surviving members started talking about doing a Tribute Show for Davy which resulted in The Monkees reuniting with Mike Nesmith for a Tour here in the U.S. last Fall. Well this past Spring they announced that they would be doing a Summer Tour. So sad that it took Davy's passing for this to happen with Mike. Which called for a revised edition of Eric Lefcowwitz's Latest Book on my favorite Band. With this book he recounts The Monkees story going all the way up to the present. Of special interest for me was the past couple of years before Davy's passing. With this book he truly brings the Monkees Story full circle. I was so pleased that instead of doing another revised edition of The Monkees Tale that he rewrote it and included more info. on the events that led up to the 1986 reunion to the most recent with Mike Nesmith. For a complete account on The Monkees history for the years from 1965-1970 I also highly recommend picking up the book The Monkees: The day-by-day story of the '60s TV pop sensation. Written by Monkees Historian Andrew Sandoval. Both these books have pretty much everything you would want to know about them. And don't forget to save the Texas Prairie Chicken.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this 30 April 2011
By monkuboy - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was in the 7th grade when the Monkees debuted and it quickly became one of my favorite shows. We'd debate about who was our favorite Monkee and I would go back and forth on this between Peter, Mike and Mickey but never Davy (only the girls liked Davy Jones, haha..).

Back then I thought all was roses and that the guys were great friends. I think that whole time in general to me seems to be rosy - like the good ol' days. This book takes the air out of that, however, by taking the reader behind the scenes to see what was really going on. It wasn't that they were at each other's throats or anything like that, but it just gives a well-written account of the relationships between the band members and the significant people in their lives that influenced their career. Actually, considering that they were all brought together artificially for the television show, and given the wild success they enjoyed very quickly, I'd say they handled it pretty well and got along well, too. Everyone is going to have their differences and being with each other as much as they were would probably get on anyone's nerves eventually.

The book seems to give a pretty neutral account of things and it is easy to read. It's sliced into short, easily digestible and focused chapters and has a fair amount of black and white pictures. It took me back to the years when I have lots of great memories, and it was interesting to hear what happened to them as the reader is brought up to modern day. I came away from this feeling like the book was totally worthwhile reading for any Monkee fan and also came away respecting all of the band members. I just bought Mickey's new CD too, and personally I like it very much.
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