Monkees
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

, /10
Links:

I Monkees furono una delle piu` spudorate truffe artistiche dell'industria discografica degli anni '60, ma, come tutte le altre, finirono per essere influenti sul loro tempo. Tanto possono il denaro e la pubblicita`.

I Monkees vennero inventati a tavolino per esigenze puramente marketing, e all'inizio ne' suonarono ne' cantarono il proprio materiale. Don Kirshner era il potente editore di canzoni del "Brill Building". Kirshner, come tanti altri, era stato colto alla sprovvista dalla "Beatlemania". Deciso a reagire, aveva spostato il suo quartier generale a Los Angeles, aveva scritturato giovani autori come Neil Diamond, Tom Boyce, Bobby Hart, e aveva assunto i migliori session-man in circolazione. Deciso a ripetere l'exploit dei Beatles, segui` la strada piu` semplice: seleziono` quattro ragazzi fotogenici, fece scrivere e suonare dal suo staff canzoni orecchiabili e vivaci alla Beatles, e varo` una trasmissione televisiva a puntate sulla falsariga dei film dei Beatles, in cui i quattro teenager americani emulavano lo spirito surreale dei loro rivali inglesi. La trasmissione divenne subito popolarissima, e l'adolescenza americana si intossico` delle canzoncine che fungevano da colonna sonora alle avventure dei quattro mattacchioni.

Formati nel 1965 dal texano Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork e Davy Jones, i Monkees fecero il loro esordio televisivo nell'autunno del 1966. Era gia` pronto il primo album, The Monkees (ottobre 1966), per comporre le cui canzoni si erano mobilitati almeno cinque grandi compositori del Brill Building. Dal Novembre 1966 al Giugno 1967 (per 31 settimane!) le charts degli album ebbero costantemente un loro disco al primo posto, in particolare il secondo More (gennaio 1967). Su quegli album i quattro comparivano praticamente solo in copertina, ma la musica era davvero un'ottima imitazione del Merseybeat. La coppia Boyce-Hart scrisse per loro Monkee`s Theme (1966) , Last Train To Clarksville (1966) e Stepping Stone (1966). Neil Diamond scrisse I'm A Believer (1966) e John Stewart scrisse Daydream Believer (1967). Sono canzoni emblematiche di come i Monkees sapessero rielaborare le tipiche armonie vocali Californiane del folk-rock.

Dopo un anno di fenomenale successo le creature di laboratorio si rivoltarono contro il loro padrone. Mike Nesmith, dopo aver scritto Different Drum (1967) per Linda Rondstadt, chiese che i Monkees potessero scrivere e suonare il proprio materiale. Nacque cosi` il terzo album, Headquarters (maggio 1967), che per meta` era scritto, cantato e suonato (per davvero) dal gruppo, e comunque molto inferiore ai due precedenti. Pisces Aquarius Capricorn & Jones Ltd (novembre 1967) contiene Pleasant Valley Girl ma per il resto non e` meno orrendo. Il gruppo compone canzoni country-rock e pop che farebbero arrossire anche i Beatles. La colonna sonora del film surreale Head (dicembre 1968) aveva forse la miglior canzone di Nesmith, Circle Sky, che era quasi garage-rock, e rimane di gran lunga il loro album piu` originale (nonche' un documento allucinante dell'epoca). Mike Nesmith pubblico` persino l'album strumentale Wichita Train Whistle Sings (Dot, 1968), come a voler dimostrare che non era soltanto una faccia sorridente. Ma nessuno li prese sul serio e, a parte Listen To The Band (1969), fu l'inizio della fine.

Greatest Hits (Arista, 1969) contiene i loro hit.

Mike Nesmith, dopo un altro hit di country-pop (Joanne, 1970) e sei album di quel genere, si diede a produzioni di alta qualita` tecnologica: prima il concept The Prison (1974) e poi il video multimediale Elephant Parts (1981).

Justus (Rhino, 1996) e` l'album della rivincita: i quattro Monkees scrivono tutto il materiale, lo suonano, lo arrangiano, lo cantano. C'e` persino l'hard-rock di Admiral Mike (sempre di Nesmith). Dei vecchi Monkees ci sono soltanto echi lontani nei coretti.

(Translated by Ornella C. Grannis)

The Monkees was one of the most shameless artistic swindles perpetrated by the record industry of the 60s, but like most other bands of that era, they ended up being influential just the same. Such is the power of money and marketing.

The Monkees were put together exclusively for marketing reasons. In the beginning they neither played nor sang their own material. Don Kirshner, the powerful song publisher of the Brill Building, like many others, had been caught unprepared by Beatlemania. Determined to react, he moved his headquarters to Los Angeles where he contracted young authors, such as Neil Diamond, Tom Boyce and Bobby Hart, and hired the best session men in circulation. Committed to repeat the Beatles phenomenon, he followed the easier path: he selected four photogenic boys, he made his staff write and play catchy and lively songs a la Beatles, and launched a television program along the lines of the Beatles movies, in which the four American teens emulated the surrealistic spirit of their English rivals. The program became a hit almost immediately, and American youth grew up intoxicated by the ditties that served as soundtrack for the adventures of four goofy kids.

Formed in 1965 by Texas-born Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Davy Jones, the Monkees debuted on television in the fall of 1966. Their first album, The Monkees (October 1966), had already been recorded. To put it together, at least five great composers of the Brill Building had been employed. From November 1966 to June 1967 (for 31 weeks!) the album charts constantly showed them in first place, in particular their second album, More (January 1967). On that album the four Monkees really appeared only on the cover, but the music was indeed a great imitation of the Merseybeat. The duo Boyce and Hart wrote The Monkee`s Theme (1966), Last Train To Clarksville (1966) and Stepping Stone (1966). Neil Diamond wrote I'm A Believer (1966) and John Stewart wrote Daydream Believer(1967). The Monkees often pretended to sing them, and on few occasions even managed to do so.

After a year of phenomenal success the laboratory creatures revolted against their masters. Mike Nesmith, after having written Different Drum (1967) for Linda Rondstadt, demanded that the Monkees be allowed to write and play their own material. Consequently their third album, Headquarters (May 1967), was released, half written, sung and played by the group, and unfortunately much inferior to the two first two. Pisces Aquarius Capricorn & Jones Ltd (November 1967) includes Pleasant Valley Girl but the rest is as horrendous as the previous one. The group composed country-rock and pop songs that would make even the Beatles blush. The soundtrack of the surreal film Head (December 1968), contains perhaps one of Nesmith's better song, Circle Sky, almost garage rock in style. Head remains by far their most original album, as well as a traumatic testimonial of that time. Mike Nesmith even released the instrumental album Wichita Train Whistle Songs (Dot, 1968), to demonstrate that he was not just a smiling face. But nobody took him seriously and, aside from Listen To The Band (1969), it marked the beginning of the end.

Greatest Hits (Arista, 1969) contains all the hits.

Justus (Rhino, 1996) is an album of revenge: the four Monkees write all the material, they play it, they arrange it, they sing it. It even includes hard-rock (Admiral Mike by Nesmith). Only a distant echo of the old Monkees remains, every so often, in some choruses.

After quitting the Monkees, vocalist Mike Nesmith, now a full-fledged songwriter (Linda Rondstadt had a massive hit with his Different Drum), and eccentric enough to record an all-instrumental version of his songs, The Wichita Train Whistle Sing (Dot, 1968), pioneered country-rock on Magnetic South (RCA, 1970), possibly the best one (Joanne, Silver Moon), Loose Salute (RCA, 1970), Nevada Fighter (RCA, 1971), And The Hits Just Kept Comin' (RCA, 1972), one of the best (thanks to guitarist Red Rhodes), Tantamount To Treason (RCA, 1972) and Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash (RCA, 1973), with Some of Shelley's Blues. A new season began with the ambitious concept album The Prison (Pacific Arts, 1974), which was followed by his two loudest and most melodic albums, From A Radio Engine to the Photon Wing (Pacific Arts, 1977) and Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma (Pacific Arts, 1979), that contains Magic and Cruisin'. These were high-tech productions that ventured into multi-media territory. In 1976, five years before the birth of MTV, Nesmith had already created a video for one of Radio Engine's songs, Rio. Elephant Parts (1981) was a multimedia effort, a video that was part comedy, dance and music. Concentrating on tv and music production, Nesmith did not return to hiw own music until Tropical Campfires (Pacific Arts, 1993), a humble collection of country and exotic vignettes, laid-back to the point of being almost "ambient".

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami

What is unique about this music database