Monday, June 25 , 2018, 7:39 am | Overcast 62º


Danny Tyree: Hey, Hey It’s The Monkees’ Golden Anniversary

In this Tapioca Tundra of a world, it’s a blessing when you can find a kindred spirit.

I knew I’d done that in college in the late 1970s when I met John Evans and he waxed nostalgic about The Monkees (both the TV show characters and the band’s music).

This comes to mind because the 50th (!) anniversary of the first single released by the Pre-Fab Four (as someone dubbed them) has just passed, and the 50th anniversary of the TV show’s debut is coming up Sept. 12.

I’ve retained a soft spot for The Monkees over the years. In 1990, I co-wrote a comic book called Scaramouch with Alan Sissom (another college friend and best man at my wedding the next year). In the first issue, the title character and his girlfriend entered a deserted town. (The zombie inhabitants would show up later.)

I just had to have Scaramouch start singing, “Here we come / walkin’ down the street / We get the funniest looks from / everyone we meet ...”

Scaramouch was supposed to be the start of a great comics career, but the three-issue miniseries was canceled after the second issue. It’s like the book was taunting us with The Monkees’ song “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.”

Alas, for those of us who have been Monkees fans since the beginning, time has moved even faster than those sped-up montages (actually proto-music videos) on the TV series.

We loved the band members announcing, “We’re the young generation / and we’ve got something to say.” Little did we know that in the blink of an eye, that “something to say” would be, “Hey, you kids get off of my lawn!”

“Daydream Believer” still gets me misty-eyed, and not just because Davy Jones passed away in 2012. (The Anne Murray version affects me the same way.) It brings back bittersweet memories of young love. Maybe my wife used to think of me as “a white knight on his steed,” but now it’s more like one END of the steed.

I’m glad that The Monkees have stayed in the public consciousness via reruns, revival tours, the recent Good Times! album, the use of “I’m A Believer” in the movie Shrek, etc.

The opening sequence of the TV show has even figured into the current presidential campaign. (“Have you seen Hillary riding a unicycle or swinging from a vine like Tarzan lately? Me neither. Sure signs of leprosy, bubonic plague or conjoined birth, if you ask me.”)

Sadly, Michael Nesmith (he of wool hat fame) announced that a concert in the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles on Sept. 16 will be his last performance with surviving bandmates Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork.

“What am I doin’ hangin’ round?” asks one hit by The Monkees. I’m sure many members of my generation have asked themselves that question.

Well, I have a lot of reasons for still being here — and one of them is to spread the appreciation of The Monkees!

I’ve introduced my son 12-year-old son, Gideon, to the show and the music, and hope he’ll be sharing them with others long after Dolenz and Tork decide to discontinue touring and recording.

The Monkees have produced great music, not only with compositions cranked out by other songwriters but with their own more experimental material. They’ve made us think (“Pleasant Valley Sunday”), smile and cry.

What more, baby, do we really need?

— Satirical columnist Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page Tyree’s Tyrades. He is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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