The Beatles was one of the hottest musical acts ever. People (and especially girls) went so crazy over the Fab Four (as they were sometimes called) that reporters and concerned parents and TV hosts talked about Beatlemania. While concert venues hired thousands of security guards to keep up to 55,000 screaming fans in line, and show business records were shattered, the Beatles and their manager made quite a bit of money!
And hundreds of thousands of teenaged boys grew their hair longer to copy the Beatles' “mop tops.”
|A Hard Day's Night|
In all that Beatle-craze, which included the release of a movie starring the Beatles called A Hard Day's Night, some TV producers got a great idea: let's create a pretend Beatles-like band and make a fun TV show with the same kind of comedy featured in the Beatles' movie.
Does that sound like an idea that would work? Believe me, I was a teenager at the time: it worked!
Four likeable musician-actors were cast as band members, asked to grow their hair and get "Beatle haircuts," and recorded some music. They took a six-week acting course and filmed TV episodes. Before the TV show even debuted, the first Monkees single became a hit, and later the first album shot up the charts as well. When the show first aired, September 12, 1966, it quickly became a massive success.
Money was definitely made!
As a matter of fact, the TV show and singles and albums were such a success, that the band went on tour and were greeted by some Monkee-mania--crowds of enthusiastic fans, screaming girls!
Did you know...?
Since the Beatles were often called “the Fab Four,” of course people poked fun at the manufactured group the Monkees by calling them the Pre-Fab Four.
Both the Beatles and the Monkees have animal names that are slightly misspelled!
Some musicians who were considered for roles in the Monkees were guitarist and singer/songwriter Stephen Stills (later famous in the bands Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), Paul Williams (later famous as a composer and songwriter), the group The Lovin' Spoonful, and Danny Hutton (later famous in the band Three Dog Night)--plus hundreds of other people who auditioned to be part of the band and show.
Although the people casting the show chose musicians to play the roles of the four musicians, the producers were reluctant to let them actually play their own music! Later, after they became very popular and therefore much more powerful, the guys in the band insisted on playing (and at times even writing and producing) their own music.
“Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees” was the silly song that started each show. And “I'm a Believer” was a huge hit for the group.
Although the Monkees-as-a-group was a major hit in almost every way, including television ratings, the TV show was canceled on this date in 1968. Also canned on this date were the shows “Bewitched” (in 1972) and “Sanford and Son” (in 1977).
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