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33 & 1/3 Configurations of The Monkees

April 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Fred Velez, news feed

(I’m new to this Blogging thing, Folks. So please, be kind)

{Note: Parts of this article originally appeared in 2011 on Steve Marinucci’s AbbeyRd Message Board.}

Many Pop/Rock bands over the years have seen changes in line-ups throughout their careers, everyone from the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Who, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, KISS among others. In some of those cases, new members came in to replace other members, either friction within the band or to unfortunate circumstances. The Monkees have seen their share of different configurations within the band line-up, but they were one of the few groups that for the most part with one possible exception, didn’t replace key members with substitutes. It’s interesting to follow the group through the years and examine the many configurations of the Monkees:

From 1966 to 1968 they were the quartet we all know and love.

1967 Tour Program

When Peter Tork quit in late 1968, they existed and recorded and toured as a trio.

1969 Concert Poster

In early 1970 Mike Nesmith left the group and Micky & Davy recorded one Monkees album as a duo. They also recorded one single, ‘Do It In The Name Of Love’ as Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones.

The one time new members replaced other members occurred during 1975-76, when Micky & Davy united with their former song writers Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart to record and tour as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. (Guitarist Keith Allison from the Raiders played in the band). Peter Tork joined them for one concert on the 1976 tour.

Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart

Micky & Davy broke ties with Boyce & Hart and did their own tour in 1977 (Peter joined them for one show at the Starwood on this tour) and also performed in the West End stage production of Nilsson’s ‘The Point’.

‘The Point’ Cast Album – Japanese version

In 1986 Micky, Davy and Peter reunited for their hugely successful 20th anniversary Monkees tour. Michael Nesmith joined them at the Greek Theater for a memorable performance, the first time the four of them shared a stage since 1968. Micky, Davy and Peter continued to tour as the Monkees from 1987 on. Nesmith joined them again for a concert at the Universal Amphitheater the day before they received their Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1986 Reunion with Nesmith

1987 Reunion

In 1996/97, the four Monkees reunited for the ‘Justus’ album project where they played all the music, wrote all the songs and produced the album themselves. They filmed a group documentary and a network TV special and did a British tour with Nesmith in early 1997. Negative coverage from the British press and other factors led to Nesmith pulling out of the American leg of the tour with no advance notice. The other three Monkees continued the tour without Nesmith

Monkee 97 photo 96promo.jpg

1996/97 Reunion

The three member configuration of the Monkees toured again in 2001, but friction within the group led to Peter Tork leaving the tour and Micky & Davy continued the tour as the Monkees in 2002.

Monkees2001 photo Monkees2001A.jpg

2001 Tour photo prior to Peter quitting.

Micky & Davy - BB Kings photo MDBBKing.jpg

From 2002 tour at B.B. King’s, taken by Fred Velez at Micky Dolenz’s request.

There was a long gap from 2002 to 2011 when the individual members toured on their own, with occasional join ups along the way,with one Monkee making a surprise appearance at another Monkees’ solo show. (Micky with Peter, Peter with Davy, Micky with Davy).

Micky guesting with Peter at Beatles Con.

2011 saw what was perhaps the most successful Monkees tour since the 1986 20th Anniversary Tour, Davy, Micky and Peter performing before sold out crowds in England and the United States, playing prestigious venues like the Royal Albert Hall in England and the Beacon Theater in New York. The Monkees garnered some of the best reviews they’ve ever received, including a surprisingly excellent review from Rolling Stone.

Talks were underway in early 2012 for another Monkees tour, this one to include Michael Nesmith, rumors were flying as early as January of 2012. Then tragedy struck when Davy Jones died from a heart attack on February 29th. Micky and Peter appeared at a memorial for Davy held in April at B.B. King’s in New York, and then at a private memorial with Nesmith in Los Angeles.

Memorial Finale photo MemorialFinale.jpg

At B.B.King’s Davy Jones Memorial with Johnny Blair, Annabel and Talia Jones, Peter Tork, Deana Martin and Micky Dolenz

It was at the L.A. memorial that Nesmith suggested that they go ahead with the tour plans, and the Monkees launched into a short but memorable 12 date tour, perhaps the mostly highly anticipated tour of their entire career. The shows with the line-up of Michael, Micky and Peter received rave reviews by fans and critics alike, including another sterling write-up from Rolling Stone. Among the highlights of the tour were tasteful and heartfelt tributes to Davy in the shows. It was Nesmith who suggest that the fans and NOT the Monkees would sing Davy’s signature tune ‘Daydream Believer’. Though Davy was deeply missed, his presence in the show was greatly felt.

Monkees 2012 Davy photo monkees_2012Ajpg_zps04a4be1c.jpgCurrently, Micky, Peter and Michael are on separate solo tours, with plans to reunite for another Monkees tour by the end of the year, with more dates and venues on the agenda. This configuration of the Monkees is mostly likely and sadly going to be the final one. But the Monkees, no matter what the line-up was, Davy, Michael, Micky and Peter always gave the Fans a great ride. Thanx for the ride, Guys.

Fred Velez, 2013



One Response to “33 & 1/3 Configurations of The Monkees”
  1. hadlockjudith says:

    Nice article – good job!!! They did have a few many different configurations over the years – but I don’t think you missed a one!!! This will be a very good article for future reference, for someone trying to figure it all out! Thanks for writing it!

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