I have never claimed to be cool. Let’s be completely clear on that point. So what I am about to tell you really should not change your opinion of me whatsoever.
After my post about my ten-year anniversary last week, I would think I had properly conveyed the level of awesomeness my husband possesses. However, during our anniversary dinner, he went and outdid himself by giving me the best gift I could have imagined. Diamonds? No. Pearls? No. A ticket to the three-day Monkees Convention in March of 2013? Damn straight!
I know, I know. A Monkees convention probably ranks up there in cool points along with Star Trek and Comic-Con conventions. But I’m not in middle school anymore, and I really don’t care if this precludes me from being in the popular crowd. I would probably rather hang with Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter anyway. Besides, I have clearly found a man to share my life with who accepts my oddities enough to have spent the last ten+ years with me and even indulge me in my fanaticism. WINNING!
Still, my comfort level with being an attendee of a Monkees convention does not make me any less annoyed when people constantly question WHY I am such a huge Monkees fan, insinuating that Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, and the late Davy Jones do not have enough talent to warrant such devotion. I am not going to lie…it irks me something terrible. Not because I think every person in the world needs to love The Monkees, but because there are still too many people who will not give them enough of a fair shake to open their minds just a bit and discover that this group really was more than just the sum of skeptical reviews by music snobs with axes to grind. They really were more than a “Beatles knock-off,” more than “bubble gum rubbish,” and more than “a make-believe band who didn’t play their own instruments.” Actually, not one of those overly-documented descriptions is even true. But before I ever even knew about any of those controversies or misnomers, there was something that did make me fall in love with them and, more importantly, KEPT me in love with them. (For more on how The Monkees have played into my life, see Why I Like Bananas.)
The Monkees television show was how I got my first taste, and in itself, it is a reason to love them. It was revolutionary for its time, winning two Emmy Awards, yet its timeless slapstick and improvisational comedy allows it to continue to survive generations. But nevermind the fact that they were comedic television geniuses. For me, it was the music that brought it all together and kept me coming back for more. Everyone knows the big hits like I’m a Believer, (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone, Pleasant Valley Sunday, Last Train to Clarksville, and Daydream Believer. All are great songs. But The Monkees were really so much more than these…and even BETTER than these, especially when they fully evolved into an “authentic” group, taking solid control over the sound they put out. Unfortunately, the average person has probably never heard most of these songs. So I would like to give you six reasons WHY I have loved, do love, and will always love The Monkees:
1. Porpoise Song – This is the theme song from The Monkees’ movie entitled Head. The movie is pretty trippy, and probably not for everyone. However, this song is an undeniable masterpiece. Written by the great Carole King and Gerry Goffin, the song’s mixture of powerful instrumentation and Micky’s transfixing, emotional vocals never fail to make me stop what I am doing so I can close my eyes and take it all in. Its magic is never lost on me, no matter how many times I listen to it. If I HAD to pick a favorite Monkees song, this would probably be it.
Fortunately, in about eight months I will find myself in a vast sea of educated people, and I can finally geek-out about things like whose version of Harry Nilsson’s “Daddy’s Song” was better – Davy’s or Mike’s? And then I will proclaim, “These are my people.”
Like I said, I never claimed to be cool. Just happy.