How the Monkees were named, and other Beatles-related myths: ‘It was a lot of fun’

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Over the years, plenty of Beatles-related myths have grown up around the Monkees, and not just relating to Micky Dolenz’s participation in some of John Lennon’s legendary “Lost Weekend” shenanigans in the mid-1970s. “I’m told I had a great time,” Dolenz quips in a talk with Gilbert Gottfried.

Earlier still, people worked relentlessly to connect the Monkees with the Beatles, even though Dolenz insists the group was never trying to be the new Fab Four.

To begin with, they didn’t name themselves the Monkees as a take off on the Beatles’ famous misspelling. In fact, early into the creative process, Dolenz reveals that the show was still called “The Monkeys,” in the normal fashion. “Then some lawyer must have said, ‘You can’t spell it like that. You’ll never be able to get ownership of any branding,'” Dolenz says. “So, that’s when they changed it.”

The Monkees also didn’t work “no, no, no” into 1966’s “Last Train to Clarksville” as an answer to the Beatles’ legendary “yeah, yeah, yeah,” from “She Loves You” in 1964 — a theory Dolenz hadn’t yet heard. “Don’t remember that — but that’s a great one,” Dolenz admits, laughing. “I’ll use it!”

As for his time in the so-called Hollywood Vampires, a hard-partying amalgam which also included Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper and others, Dolenz says: “It was a lot of fun; it was great. But … I always had a governor. I would, like, go up to the edge of the cliff, and then something would suck me back. My mom always used to say I had a guardian angel.”

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