Debunking Every Excuse For Keeping The Monkees Out Of The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame
Every induction ceremony just reminds us that The Monkees deserved to be in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame from day one. Some folks have argued against it. Their arguments don't hold up. Even against many of the legends already inducted.
1. They Didn't Play Their Own Instruments
Untrue...and irrelevant. The Monkees started playing in the studio and performing live as early as 1967. More importantly, it was common practice in the mid-’60s for rock and roll bands to be supplemented or even replaced by studio musicians on their records. This was the case with albums and hit singles made by Hall of Fame inductees including The Beach Boys and The Byrds. And let's not forget the huge number of vocal groups and solo artists inducted into the Hall of Fame like The Drifters, The Mamas & The Papas, Etta James and others, who didn't play instruments, either.
2. They Didn't Write Their Own Songs
Also untrue and also irrelevant. Michael Nesmith was writing songs for the band from the very beginning and the rest of the Monkees started contributing their own songs by their third album. In fact, before joining the Monkees, Nesmith had already written the ’60s anthem "Different Drum," which launched the career of Linda Rondstadt — one of the dozens of Hall of Fame inductees, alongside Elvis, The Righteous Brothers, The Temptations and many others who, by the way, didn't write their own songs, either.
3. They Were Puppets
4. They Were A Manufactured Band
A big rap against The Monkees is that they weren't a "real" band because they were assembled and manipulated by producer Don Kirshner to fit a prefabricated image. Which isn't wrong, it's just not much different from how Malcolm McLaren assembled, managed and manipulated 2006 Hall of Fame inductees, The Sex Pistols (who, by the way, covered The Monkees hit, "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone").
5. The TV Show Mattered More Than The Music
When the show was on the air, The Monkees' record sales dwarfed their TV ratings, which never even cracked the Top 25. And while the show only lasted two seasons, The Monkees continued recording and touring for decades.
6. They Were Just Actors
You mean like Hall of Fame inductee Ricky Nelson, who was already a TV star when he made his first record? Nope. Not at all. Before becoming a Monkee, Michael Nesmith was already a charting songwriter and credible musician (see #2 above) and has since been called a musical genius. Davy (then David) Jones was already successful enough in the UK that another David Jones changed his last name to "Bowie" to avoid confusion. Peter Tork was making his name as a folk singer and had already shared the stage with the legendary Pete Seeger. And Mickey Dolenz? Check out the garage-rock rave-up he recorded and wrote before joining The Monkees, "Don't Do It."
7. They Weren't Counterculture
8. They Were Cheap Beatles Knock-Offs
The Beatles respectfully disagree. Lennon said he never missed an episode of the show. McCartney praised the band, as did Harrison, who had Peter Tork play on his first solo album. The Monkees even hung out at the Sgt. Pepper sessions.
9. They Weren't Very Rock & Roll
In 1967, at the peak of their fame, The Monkees risked everything in a battle to take creative control of their music and ended up firing the man who put the band together and fed them their hits. Nesmith sealed the negotiations by putting his fist through a wall in their Beverly Hills hotel suite, telling their former puppet-master Don Kirshner, "That could have been your face!" Pretty f***ing rock & roll.
10. They Weren't Influential
They practically invented the music video. They inspired countless kids to start bands across three decades. Their songs have been covered by artists ranging from Weezer to Cassandra Wilson, and sampled by RUN D.M.C., Ginuine, and Del Tha Funky Homosapien, who got the title and the hook for his hit "Mistadobalina" from the particularly weird Monkees track "Zilch."
They were a real band. A band who made a permanent impact on the music scene. A band that, in 1967, outsold the Beatles and Stones combined. A band whose music has been discovered and revived by every generation since they first came on the scene. So, c'mon, Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Listen to us. Listen to the fans. And, most importantly, listen to the band.