‘We played on that’: Micky Dolenz discusses the secret to the Monkees’ success

In some ways, the very nature of the Monkees’ creation helped them establish a sound unlike many of their contemporaries, Micky Dolenz says. Each of them arrived with their own unique voice.

Other bands might have grown up together, or met while in school studying similar courses. That kind of familiarity tended to create “a singularity of musical vision,” Dolenz recently told fans, “and that’s one of the reasons they were so successful — because they created this unique sound. In the case of the Monkees, we were cast together. And there was four lead singers, essentially. Four distinct styles. And we played on that.”

Dolenz went back to the Monkees’ first concert tour, which found the late Davy Jones doing a Broadway hit, Dolenz doing James Brown, Mike Nesmith covering Bo Diddley and Peter Tork playing a folk tune on a five-string banjo. “So, we actually encouraged it,” he said.

In the end, as the Monkees transformed from TV concoction to actual working band, these differences became the group’s strengths: “It’s one of the things, I think, that musically gave the Monkees sort of a unique sound,” Dolenz said. “Whereas a lot of bands, especially back in those days, they had a sound — and it was usually because there was one person, one guy or one girl or maybe two, who had the musical vision for that band.”

Something Else!

The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.