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This is Now : Article: Are the Monkees Cooler than the Beatles?

March 31, 2011 by  
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from: The Advocate and Greenwich Time newspaper,
Stamford, CT, Nov. 17, 1995

Hey! Hey! Some say it’s cooler to be Monkees
by John Breunig

The appearance of Monkees tambourine virtuoso Davy Jones at
next weekend’s Beatles Expo in Stamford means the renewal
of an inevitable, ageless debate: Who wins a battle of
the bands between The Fab Four and The Prefab Four? Since
there is no Monkees Anthology to help with the scorecard,
we would like to offer fair representation to the sides
of Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Davy Jones, and Mike Nesmith.
Maybe we’re just being daydream believers, but here are
reasons we think Monkeesteria may beat Beatlemania on the
measure of cool:

1) Greater success as multi-media stars: Davy alone is a
star of television (“The Brady Bunch”), stage (“The Brady
Bunch”, off-broadway), and film (“The Brady Bunch”).

2) No fear of the competition: In other words, do you see
any of the Beatles appearing at Monkees conventions?

3) Forerunners to the grunge look: C’mon, admit it. You
look at the garb of any member of the Seattle set and
you think of the guy in the Monkees with the wool hat.

4) They took a stand on the vegetarian issue first: ABC
had to reject advertising from McDonald’s for next week’s
“The Beatles Anthology” because group members don’t eat
meat. Peter Tork turned down a chance to reunite The
Monkees for a Micky D ad for the same reason, except he
did it 20 years ago.

5) The name game: Sure, the Beatles influenced the band
name of their American counterparts, but Davy Jones
actually forced another musician to change his own name.
Now that guy calls himself David Bowie.

6) Better opening acts: The Beatles used bands such as
The Cyrkle (“Red Rubber Ball”). The Monkees gave national
exposure to Jimi Hendrix.

7) Mode of transportation: The Beatles were always running.
The Monkees cruised in that cool Monkeemobile. Plus, Davy
had a jockey’s license. Ringo didn’t even have a driver’s

8) The Monkees practically invented MTV: Not only were
they the first video superstars, but Mike (“my mom invented
Liquid Paper”) Nesmith won the first Grammy Award for a
music video in 1982.

9) Connected to hipper friends: The Monkees’ film (“HEAD”)
was co-written by Jack Nicholson and their television show
featured timeless hipster musicians such as Frank Zappa and
Tim Buckley.

10) A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You: Showed consideration
for fans by rejecting plans to play Shea Stadium because
they didn’t want to look like bugs on a stage. Guess what
other group couldn’t resist the money and wound up looking
like beetles in center field?

11) Not victims to peer pressure: Do you see any two Monkees
with the same haircut?

12) Made debut with start of another cultural phenomenon:
“The Monkees” television show makes its premiere the same
night as “Star Trek”. When the Beatles made their first
appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, the only other debut
of note on the show was by one Davy Jones as The Artful
Dodger in a stage production of “Oliver!”.

13) Learned to stop faking it: The Monkees were actors who
eventually learned to play their own instruments. In the
meantime, they got by with a little help from friends such
as musicians Glen Campbell and Leon Russell and songwriters
Neil Diamond (“I’m A Believer”) and Carole King and Gerry
Goffin (“Pleasant Valley Sunday”). The Beatles were
musicians who turned to the talents of two guys to do their
four voices in their cartoon series. They couldn’t even be
bothered to train their vocal instruments by the time
“The Yellow Submarine” was released.

14) Passed the Marx and Lennon test: John Lennon once
called The Monkees the greatest comic talent since the
Marx Brothers.

15) The Connecticut Connection: Peter Tork’s father was a
teacher at the University of Connecticut. If for no other
reason, the fact that there’s a Husky among them makes them
cooler than the lads from Liverpool.

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