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Monkees in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library Archive

February 10, 2012 by  
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It was a historic occasion.

I happened to be on hand at the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Library and Archives at Cuyahoga Community College when the very first Northeast Ohioan turned in an archive request.

I was the very second person.

Was this person a renowned music historian digging deep into research on a scholarly project for a dissertation? Perhaps a film director researching a pop-music biopic? Maybe the relative of a deceased music legend hoping to learn more about that person’s life?

None of the above.

Meet the lovely and charming Kayleigh Lascio, 20, of Willowick. She’s currently a student at Lakeland Community College, but she’s thinking about studying baking in the culinary program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She also has her own 1960s music show called “Double Entendre” on the college’s Lake Effect radio station.

Her request?

The Monkees. Anything on the Monkees.

The Monkees are an American pop/rock group who were created by Hollywood television producers in Los Angeles. Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider (who would go on to produce the Peter Fonda-Dennis Hopper movie “Easy Rider”) dreamed up the band for a Beatlesque sitcom that aired from 1966 to 1968. The band members are Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, and Brit Davy Jones. Most of the band’s music was written by other songwriters and produced by Don Kirshner.

To date, the Monkees have sold 65 million singles and albums. I know all about the Monkees. The first record I ever bought was their single “Last Train to Clarksville.” It cost me 45 cents, which I “borrowed” from my mom.

While waiting in the archive room for our material to arrive, Lascio told me that she first learned about the Monkees from a CD of her dad’s she played constantly. Then she began watching reruns of “The Monkees” television show on Nick at Nite.

She saw the Monkees reunion tour in Columbus last summer and has seen the individual members in their solo acts at many venues. For example, she has seen Tork’s Shoe Suede Blues band four different times at the Winchester in Lakewood.

Her archival material arrived and consisted of boxes of Monkees ephemera, such as trading cards, fanzines and touring schedules. The one date Lascio remarked on was Jan. 15, 1967 — the band’s appearance at Cleveland’s Public Hall. They had an opening act by the name of Jimi Hendrix. He was booed off the stage by teenage girls wanting to see the headliners.

My chance meeting with Lascio made my day. And it made me proud of the mission of the archives. This is the unique beauty of having the Rock Hall and this priceless collection in Cleveland. All who love music can go there, register for a card and immerse themselves in the music of their choice. It’s a dream come true for anyone who loves rock ‘n’ roll music.

My request arrived right after Lascio’s. It was a giant black-and-white photograph of Tom Waits by Jay Blakesberg. In it, Waits is looking intently at the camera while sitting poised at a kid’s tiny toy piano.

I laughed.

via Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Library and Archives now open for business |

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