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May 2, 2024

The Monkees: One of the Most Successful Bands of the Late 1960s

The Monkees were an American pop rock band formed in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s. The band consisted of Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork. Spurred by the success of the television show of the same name. With international hits, four chart-topping albums and three chart-topping songs (“Last Train to Clarksville”, “I’m a Believer”, and “Daydream Believer”), they sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

The Monkees were originally a fictional band created for the NBC television sitcom of the same name. Dolenz, Jones, Nesmith and Tork were cast to portray members of a band in the sitcom. Music credited to the Monkees appeared in the sitcom and was released on LPs and singles beginning in 1966, and the sitcom aired from 1966 to 1968.

For two albums, the Monkees mostly performed as a group; however, within a year, each member was pursuing his own interests under the Monkees’ name, rendering the Monkees once again a group in name only. With widespread allegations that the band members did not play their own instruments—followed by the cancellation of The Monkees, diminishing success on the charts, and waning popularity overall—band members began to leave the group. The Monkees held a final recording session in 1970 before breaking up.

A revival of interest in the Monkees came in 1986, prompting a 20th anniversary reunion. Over the following 35 years, the Monkees periodically reunited for reunion tours, a major-network television special, and new studio albums. Following Jones’s death in 2012 and Tork’s death in 2019, Dolenz and Nesmith embarked on a farewell tour in 2021. The tour ended shortly before Nesmith’s death at the end of the year.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see portraits of the Monkees members in the 1960s.

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