They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but at the same time, it's also a great way to try and cash in on a popular trend. And that's what happened with The Monkees. Now, we've seen it with movies, television series, and particularly the world of music. But the truth is that very few of these imitators have the talent or fresh enough approach to allow it to thrive in its own right. There are, however, exceptions, The Monkees being one of them (as people following the Monkees tour 2018 will no doubt agree).
Back in 1964, America and the rest of the world had been swept away by the Liverpool-born John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr (perhaps you know them better as The Beatles). As Beatlemania swept across the globe, everyone was looking for a way to cash in on their success, and The Monkees successfully did so. The idea was a relatively simple one: hire four guys to play musicians on an American sitcom, and put music at the center of it. If successful, the reward would be high ratings and record sales.
To find their Monkees, the producers held auditions, ran ads in industry trade publications like The Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety, and scoured musical acts. In the end, they signed on Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith. And despite the fact that they were, relatively speaking, amateurs in terms of music and acting, somehow it all gelled together. The Classic TV show was a hit and the music became a sensation in its own right, actually reaching a point where more records were being sold than there were people watching The Monkees on TV. All of which also led to concert tours that created a sensation everywhere the so-called "Pre-Fab Four" went, and secured their place in pop culture history. What follows is our guide to some of that history, and the little band that could — despite all the people who said they couldn't.