Wednesday, August 1, 2018

My Plea For Inducting The Monkees Into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Already

I do think it is around that time of year when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will be deciding who to put on their roster of potential inductees for this year.   The Monkees have certainly been eligible for the longest time now and there have been many many pleas from fans for their induction already.  Yet, somehow, they never seem to get on that list.
The criteria for eligibility into the Hall of Fame is right there on the website:

The Monkees easily meet that.

Their debut release was the song Last Train to Clarksville which came out in August of 1966.  That's well before the 25 year mark. They also certainly contributed to the development and evolution of rock & roll. The most obvious contribution they made was the music video.   The 'Monkee Romps' in the TV episodes were the forerunners of music videos that would later be showcased on MTV.  Also, much more directly than that, Mike Nesmith himself was very influential as a producer in the late 1970's and early 1980's helping shape the look and feel of the music video as we know it today.  Heck, the Monkees even won an Emmy Award for these innovative editing techniques.  If the Emmys can recognize this achievement, what's taking the Hall of Fame so long?

Apparently, for any band to be eligible for induction, all 600 members of the Hall of Fame have to agree on a band's (or artist's) greatness and importance.  So even if 599 members all want a band inducted but 1 member says NO NO NO, then the whole process is at a stalemate and induction doesn't happen. I think that might be the case here.
One such theory that I've heard as to their delay is that there is a fear that inducting the Monkees could lead to the induction of boy bands such as New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, or even One Direction.  This fear is most likely brought on by the way the Monkees were assembled. Rather than forming organically as say the Beatles or the Rolling Stones as a group of friends enthusiastic enough about music to start a band, instead a producer named Don Kirshner auditioned 75 young men and eventually settled on 4 to make the band.  Don Kirshner's original vision was to have a fake band for a TV show where 4 handsome young boys were the faces while a real band worked behind the scenes writing and performing all of the songs. (The song writing team in this case being Boyce & Hart by the way.)  That right there is the manufactured element of The Monkees that people objected to which pigeon-holes them into the 'boy band' category.
However, the 4 lads, Micky, Mikey, Peter, and Davey almost immediately rebelled against this set up.  Mike Nesmith himself had big ambitions of being a singer/song writer. He was not about to just settle into a state of following orders while some other song writing team had all the fun.  So, they all got Don Kirshner completely annexed from his own project while they took more of the reigns of the creative aspect of the show and the songs.  Both Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork would constantly be composing songs for the Monkees to perform and quite a few of them did end up on the show and on their performing roster.
Now, I'd say that open rebellion against corporate forces keeping you down is a verifiable demonstration of the spirit of rock & roll.  It's a pity that the Hall of Fame doesn't see it that way.  Oh, in fact, I found something on the Hall of Fame's website that perked my interest a little:

Ok, so the Hall of Fame decry the Monkees as a "corporate and manufactured band" but then turn right around and induct the one element that made them look corporate and manufactured.  How did that happen?

Hey, Hall of Fame, why don't you induct the lightning storm that brought down Buddy Holly's plane while you're at it?

Or how about inducting the ham sandwich that Mama Cass choked on?

How about that Hell's Angel that killed someone at Altamonte?  I think that would fit.

Why not induct Elvis Presley's bowel obstruction?

Or what the heck? Let's induct Mark David Chapman already.  There can be a nice display with his dirty shoes under glass, the same dirty shoes he was wearing while squatting in the bushes in front of John Lennon's apartment waiting for him to return from his daily errands.

Or, hey, how about inducting the Mensa genius who told Cher that using auto-tune for her Life After Love song would work well.

No! No she did not!

Ok Ok! Maybe Don Kirshner is not as bad as all of that.  I may have gotten a little carried away with hyperbole (something I never normally do [wink emoji] ).  I'm sure Don has enough accomplishments to his name that his induction is indeed warranted.  Here's his mini-bio:

So that checks out.  But I still consider it both a slap in the face and a quick toss under the bus to give this much attention to Mr. Kirshnir but then completely dismiss and ignore the guys who made the Monkees as successful as they were.

I'll end this post and plea by embedding on of their songs: You Just Might Be The One.  It's not one of their more popular or prestigious songs for sure.  The reason I chose it is because it is one of the songs where the 4 guys, Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davey Jones are the only musicians playing on it.  The evidence I am providing can be found in this Monkees box set that I have:

Here are the liner notes for that song from the little booklet inside:

So there's you have it.  That's my piece on why The Monkees MORE than deserve their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction.  Now here's that song:

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