The Monkees were two folk singers and two actors pulled together to from a Beatles-lite pop group for mop top hungry American teenagers. Whilst the real fab four were dabbling with drugs, facial hair and musical experimentation, the Monkees offered easy on the ear tunes and whacky 'comedy'. They were derided at the time by serious muscians and the critics ripped into them on a weekly basis.
But time has been kind to the bands musical legacy and, with song writers such as Carole King and Neil Diamond on board, the Monkees are now seen as pioneers. The original manufactured boy band but with added great songs.
'I'm A Believer', 'Pleasant Valley Sunday', 'Last Train to Clarkesville' and the perenial 'Daydream Believer' have stood the test of time extremely well. Mike Nesmith's interpretation of Micheal Murphy's 'What Am I Doing Hanging Round' and his own 'Listen To the Band' highlight an emerging songwriter and performer of some style, whilst Mickey Dolenz 'Randy Scouse Git' was a self penned UK number 2 single.
Ok, so overall the TV shows were pretty poor, but the music is extremely well crafted and beautifully realised. On the 1967 'Headquarters' album the Monkees even pulled off a minor classic - mostly self played - that topped the UK and US charts. They experimented on the Jack Nicholson scripted 'Head' - now considered a 'cult classic' before Tork jumped ship soon to be followed by Nesmith.
It was all but over by 1969, as the public moved towards the adult rock sound of late period Beatles and the likes of Led Zepplin and the reborn WHO.
Every self respecting power pop fan should own a Monkees greatest hits. Simple.