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The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith Couldn’t Understand the Band’s Success



The Monkees‘ Mike Nesmith couldn’t make sense of his band’s success. Subsequently, he discussed what he thought about them potentially entering the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Notably, the group was a hit from the beginning.

Why Mike Nesmith turned down a chance to write with Carole King

Numerous famous songwriters wrote tunes for The Monkees, including Neil Diamond, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka, and Harry Nilsson. During a 2014 interview with App, Nesmith was asked if he learned anything from the work of these songwriters.

“Actually, a lot of what they did was lost on me,” he said. “I had no real understanding of the pop song — or even the pop culture — which is to say pop art. That understanding developed much later for me.”

Nesmith said King asked to write a song with him. He was intimidated by the idea and turned her down. He said he loved her music, he just had no idea how to write pop music.

The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith said fans understood the Prefab Four more than he did

Nesmith was asked what it was like to attend a Monkees convention. “The convention itself was a revelation,” he replied. “I have known for a while that Monkees fans knew something I didn’t about the music and the experience of the show.


“To meet them and talk to them in the context of a trade show where they exchanged the artifacts and memorabilia gave me a real insight, and I enjoyed learning about it,” he added.

Part of the experience left him mystified. “I’m not sure, and never have been, why The Monkees resonated so strongly and have continued over the years,” he said. “Not that I think it undeserved, just that it is a mystery. It’s clear that something is persistent here that is very substantial and meaningful — a spirit that was expressed that does not seem to have an end. But, real answer — I have no idea.”

Nesmith was asked whether The Monkees deserved to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He said it would be “fine” if they were included in the hall. Nesmith stressed the people in charge of the hall were entitled to their own musical tastes. The rocker compared the hall having a right to their own curation to people having a right to decorate their homes as they see fit.

How The Monkees’ 1st 2 singles became huge hits

Nesmith said he didn’t understand The Monkees’ success. However, it’s undeniable The Monkees were a hit from the beginning. According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, the band’s debut single, “Last Train to Clarksville,” charted the same week the series premiered and went on to sell over one million copies.

The Monkees’ music supervisor, Don Kirshner, felt the band could sell even more records with their next single, “I’m a Believer.” Fans ordered 1,051,280 advance copies. “I’m a Believer” became the longest-running No. 1 single since The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

The Monkees were a commercial juggernaut even if Nesmith couldn’t make sense of the phenomenon.


Source: Cheat Sheet

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