Wherever you go, you find Monkees fans and the Denver Popular Culture Con was no different. Amid rooms full of caped crusaders and cosplay creations, I was initially not sure how many folks would attend a talk on a TV show from the 1960s – but happily I was met by a nice, engaged audience for my talk on Why the Monkees Matter – and afterward they bought books! What more could an author ask for?
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…and of course, the music still matters because two years ago they put on an album on their 50th anniversary that made the top 50 in the Billboard charts. Fifty years after their last top-ten album. No other artists can say that. No other living artists right. If you put up dead people’s stuff then it’ll sell yeah but no other living artists and the people that wrote for them on this album again very major modern songwriters. So I think that’s really really cool Rivers Cuomo, Andy Partridge, Ben Gibbard wrote a beautiful song called Me and Magdalena which is just a very gorgeous song — a Nesmith thing. These are all amazing people today. What they did, the folks at Rhino records went out and asked people from hit rock bands today, if you could write for The Monkees would you and a bunch of them said yes and then they said okay write me a song that sounds like a Monkees song and that was a great challenge for them. They really, really enjoyed it. Ben Gibbard sings the Me and Magdalena when he’s on tour.
A hit television show about a fictitious rock band, The Monkees (1966-1968) earned two Emmys–Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Directorial Acheivement in Comedy.
Capitalizing on the show’s success, the actual band formed by the actors, at their peak, sold more albums than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined, and set the stage for other musical TV characters from The Partridge Family to Hannah Montana. In the late 1980s, the Monkees began a series of reunion tours that continued into their 50th anniversary.
This book tells the story of The Monkees and how the show changed television, introducing a new generation to the fourth-wall-breaking slapstick created by Laurel and Hardy and the Marx Brothers.
Its creators contributed to the innovative film and television of 1970s with projects like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Laugh-In and Welcome Back, Kotter. Immense profits from the show, its music and its merchandising funded the producers’ move into films such as Head, Easy Riderand Five Easy Pieces.
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