Why the Monkees songwriters felt their songs couldn’t sound too much like the Beatles
The Monkees and The Beatles are often compared to each other. Despite this, two of the Monkees songwriters said they didn’t want the Monkees songs to sound too much like the Beatles. Here’s a look at what Micky Dolenz and John Lennon said about the connection between the bands.
These 2 songwriters were behind many of the classic Monkees songs
A handful of Monkees songs have been written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, collectively known as Boyce and Hart. They were responsible for classic tracks like “Valleri”, “Last Train to Clarksville”, “(I’m Not Your) Steppin ‘Stone” and “(Theme From) The Monkees. “In his book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees & Turning Chaos Into Miracles, Hart revealed that he and Boyce were writing songs for The Monkees ahead of the premiere of their sitcom.
Boyce and Hart thought of a few bands they could use as inspiration when writing for The Monkees. Specifically, they thought of the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits, The Rascals, The Turtles, The Lovin ‘Spoonful, Tommy James and the Shondells, Paul Revere & the Raiders, The Hollies and The Beatles. Hart said they had narrowed their roster, but did not specify which groups remained on the roster.
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How the Beatles songs inspired the Monkees to some extent
Notably, they didn’t want the Prefab Four to look too much like the Fab Four. “We were told, [The Monkees would be] “American Beatles on TV,” but we knew that trying to steer our new band’s sound too close to the biggest ship in the ocean of pop music would be risky and unsatisfying, especially since the TV show Would borrow a lot from the visual antics of their films, ”Hart wrote. Hart unveiled the Beatles films A hard day’s Night and Help! were the models for the Monkees’ show.
Hart said he and Boyce were always inspired by The Beatles. “Nonetheless, we had learned what we could by analyzing Beatles records and trying to identify some of their tricks: strong lyrical storytelling, great instrumental riffs and intros, and a stellar voice,” Hart wrote.
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“I wrote what to us appeared to be a standard formula for mixing songs into their albums,” he added. “All of their LPs would be heavily loaded with up-tempo numbers, but there was still that killer ballad and the obligatory novelty song. Beyond that, we wouldn’t be thinking of The Beatles as we crafted new tracks for the Monkees. “
Micky Dolenz said his band looked more like this comedy troupe than The Beatles
Interestingly, Micky Dolenz of the Prefab Four discussed his band’s connection to The Beatles. Dolenz said Westworld that John Lennon felt the Prefab Four were less like the Fab Four and more like the Marx Brothers. Dolenz agreed with his assessment.
The Monkees gave us some of the most memorable bubblegum pop songs of the 1960s – it doesn’t matter who influenced their classic hits.