‘It’s a common urban myth’: Micky Dolenz says the Monkees were never meant to be the American Beatles

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Micky Dolenz still bristles when the Monkees are referred to as the pre-Fab Four, meant to be a ready-made American version of the Beatles.

“It’s a common urban myth,” Dolenz tells WGN. “If you go to Wikipedia, that’s the kind of thing you’re going to hear. It was actually simpler than that. The Monkees was a television show about a band that wanted to be the Beatles. The whole show was about this out-of-work band that couldn’t get arrested, but were trying really hard to be famous.”

Their every-day misadventures ultimately aired on NBC from September 1966 to March 1968, then captured the imagination of a new generation through reruns in the 1980s. A series of reunion tours have followed — even as many out of their core fanbase, it seems, continued to misunderstand the working-class point of the show.

“That spoke to all of the kids around the world that were in that same boat,” Dolenz adds. “This was not an attempt to do an American Beatles, or else we would have been famous first! [Laughs.] But we weren’t. On the show, we were never famous. It was the struggle for success that endeared it, I think, to a whole lot of kids.”

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