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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 15th of each month and six days later, on the 21st, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of 'DOG BITE High Gravity Lager' (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Friday, June 12, 2015

THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE (Or, TSOML - Blog Bit 4)

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8/8/1967. The “Summer Of Love”. My eighth birthday. I received my first ever music album: The Monkees.
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There were two things that most rocked my world back then: The Monkees and Batman and Catwoman (Julie New - mmmmm! - mar). OK, that’s three things. My math was never very good.

STEPHEN ON HIS 8th BIRTHDAY, WITH MONKEES GUITAR AND 'THE MONKEES' RECORD ALBUM IN BACKGROUND. FLANKED BY SISTER BONEHEAD AND BROTHER NAPOLEON

In retrospect – after it was way too late – I came to realize that I should have made a career in the music field. I was always interested in a variety of creative paths, but the one I didn’t really explore enough – music – is the one I should have focused on. Oh well, next lifetime.

I may have liked ‘Theme From The Monkees’ and ‘Last Train To Clarksville’ better than ‘I Wanna Be Free’ back when I was eight, but ‘…Free’ better illustrates the mind-set I would develop later in life. And because the song is not even two and a half minutes long and because its vocalist, Davy Jones, stood only 5 feet 3 inches tall, I’m counting this as only half a song (so there will be a "Bonus Track").

I WANNA BE FREE - THE MONKEES (featuring Davy Jones)



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIFLRasX2UQ

1966: 
I wanna be free,
Like the bluebirds flying by me
Like the waves out on the blue sea.
If your love has to tie me, don't try me,
Say goodbye.

I wanna be free,
Don't say you love me, say you like me,
But when I need you beside me,
Stay close enough to guide me,
Confide in me,
Oh-oh-oh 

I wanna hold your hand,
Walk along the sand
Laughing in the sun,
Always having fun
Doing all those things
Without any strings
To tie me down.

I wanna be free
Like the warm September wind, babe
Say you'll always be my friend, babe
We can make it to the end, babe
Again, babe, I gotta say:
I wanna be free
I wanna be free
I wanna be free 

One thing I still appreciate about Davy Jones (my favorite Monkee) was his willingness to make jokes about his lack of height. It takes a big man to do that. 

The Monkees were created as America's television answer to The Beatles. The show was a lot of wacky fun and I was a Monkees fanatic back then. Today, I even have a DVD titled 'Our Favorite Episodes'. Each Monkee (Davy, Micky, Peter & Mike) was asked to name their favorite episode, and all 4 of those were collected on this DVD.

FUN FACTS:

It was probably in 1970 that I made the mistake of trading my Monkees album, which I'd received on my 8th birthday, to my friend Greg for his LP 'Incense And Peppermints' by The Strawberry Alarm Clock. Years later, I greatly regretted that trade. But my "Mommy made it all better" when, in 2003, she gave me that same recording on compact disc for my birthday.

Half a block from the world famous OK Corral there used to be a small drinking establishment, a gin joint, a hooch parlor, a silly shack called 'The Lucky Cuss Saloon'. (I believe it later changed its name to 'Legends Of The West'.) I mean, this place was a real dive. I really liked it. It was my favorite bar in Tombstone. And it was also right next door to where Morgan Earp was shot and killed through the back alley window of a billiard room. Some say the ghost of Morgan Earp haunted the saloon's back room.


I remember being in The Lucky Cuss Saloon one night (late 1991 or early '92) with my girlfriend "The Countess", when this couple of tourists, a man and woman from jolly old England, came in, sat down and ordered drinks. There were only us two couples and the bartender in the saloon.

Me being the troublemaker that I am, it wasn’t long before I happened to mention (just loud enough) to The Countess that The Monkees were better than The Beatles. Of course that’s total balderdash. I knew it perfectly well. But what the heck, I had to defend us Americans on our own Western turf, didn’t I?

It wasn’t long before there was a pretty... uhm.. spirited"... discussion going on about which band was better. I defended The Monkees with everything I had, and I really enjoyed the... uh... conversation. It was touch-and-go there for awhile about whether or not this was going to turn into “The OK Corral Shootout, Part 2”. To steal a line from Bugs Bunny: “Ain’t I a stinker?”

BONUS TRACK:

I STILL enjoy the wackiness of The Monkees. That had to be some of the funnest money ever made:

GONNA BUY ME A DOG - THE MONKEES (Monkee-ing around)



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v72H7YRzOEg

My previous blog bits pertaining to 'The Soundtrack Of My Life' (TSOML) can be found by clicking the links below:

TSOML #1
TSOML #2
TSOML #3

For more TSOML participants, visit the blog of GIRL WONDER ('Your Daily Dose') by clicking HERE.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

20 comments:

  1. Innocence and pick 'em up sticks beats 'Incense And Peppermints,' any day, any how!

    Gosh, I still knew all of the words, and they WERE better than the Beatles! I liked them all - no particular favorite.

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    1. DIXIE POLKA ~
      Great to hear from you! I hope you're feeling much better. (I prayed.)

      I can say THIS in all honesty: My all-time favorite Monkees song is 'DAYDREAM BELIEVER', and I like it as well as ANY Beatles song and better than most. (Frankly, I think 'Rocky Raccoon' is the only Beatles song I like as well.)

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  2. When I was in high school, MTV used to play The Monkees (TV show) in the morning. You must understand that I was never early anywhere. However, I was usually downstairs for breakfast at the top of the hour when it came on (7:00 am) and my brother was always up very early (often doing last minute homework) with the TV on. When The Monkees came on at 7:00am, we both enjoyed that one. I had to be at school by 7:45 (the final bell rang then). BUT, if I stayed to watch the end of The Monkees it became a very close call. Sometimes the episodes were so funny I just couldn't leave until the end.

    At this time, I was driving myself to school, so it was like a raceway between my house and school. Ha! Then, because I was so late, I always had to park in the very back of the lot (big school, big lot!) and RUN! to class. There were several occasions in which I skidded through the door as that final bell was ringing, but I was never tardy. Sometimes I was still chuckling. That was a great show!!!!

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    1. GIRL WONDER ~

      >>... my brother was always up very early (often doing last minute homework) with the TV on.

      Ha! That's my kinda guy!

      It's so amazing that you know 'THE MONKEES' television show but you didn't know 'LOVE AMERICAN STYLE' which came later. Thanks to MTV, I guess.

      Yeah, the show WAS funny - even today it's funny. I was just watching my 'Monkees' DVD because my Internet service was out and it was fresh in my mind because of this post.

      So, in Peter's favorite episode, it's decided by the other Monkees that Peter is the only one qualified to apply for this job listed in the paper because the ad says "No training and no experience necessary", and Peter is the only one with no training and no experience!

      Peter is worried about applying for the job, but Mike tells him: "Just remember these three words: Don't argue".
      Peter: "That's two words".
      Mike: "You're starting already!"

      Ha!-Ha! That IS funny!

      Yeah, THE MONKEES was mindless, frivolous fun, but you know what? It still beats the hell out of most of the crap they broadcast on TV today!

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  3. You started getting your own albums at a younger age than I did. When I was 8 I was still listening to my parents albums which really is all fine and good since that would have been the music I'd have rather listened to anyway. My mom kept up with a lot of the hits of the day, but I was more into the older stuff and the classical.

    I was in high school when the Monkees came on the scene and I guess I usually watched every episode. I was probably more into the Batman craze at the time and I bought all the different 45 versions of the Batman songs that came out.

    The Monkees cranked out some good music and it was a pretty trippy show.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. BOIDMAN ~
      Yeah, my first music album came pretty early - 1967, when I was 8 - but I didn't acquire the second one until 2 or 3 years later. (And THAT actually ties into my next BOTB installment by no coincidence.)

      Yeah, man, BATMAN and THE MONKEES were where it was at for me. My Ma could get me to do ANYTHING by saying, "Batman comes on in an hour, and if you want to watch it you need to _____."

      Man, I was RUNNING to get 'er done (whatever she was).

      Today, I would say I probably like The Monkees show better than The Monkees music, but the songs 'DAYDREAM BELIEVER' and 'LAST TRAIN TO CLARKSVILLE' hold up really, really well for me.

      Also, just watching that opening credits segment of 'The Monkees' show, with them running toward and away from the ocean water, and pushing that bed through a busy city intersection makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The days of Innocence lost.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  4. My oldest friend's brother Tom (an old friend himself) is probably the world's biggest Monkees' fan (still).

    He's got all the shows on VHS and DVD and by now, probably Blu Ray, and I'm sure he's got all the CD's in every incarnation.

    I don't know the PC term these days, but Tom is slightly mentally challenged. But he's got a great heart, and digs music-the Monkees to him are what Rundgren is to me. He'd have backed you in that Tombstone bar.

    I will always remember a conversation with him a decade or so ago when the band was doing a reunion tour...he said:

    "A lot of people don't know it, but the Monkees are pretty famous."

    He never understood why I thought that was such a funny statement.

    Your closing paragraph really struck me, because that scene (the water) transports me back as well to a time when life was simply....simpler. I never owned one of their recordings until well into the CD era, but it's good catchy pop with some songs that are quite good (I am partial to "I'M A BELIEVER" and "NOT YOUR STEPPING STONE")

    And if I can ever find a recording of the theme from "Love American Style," I'm buying it. I loved that show as well. I wish I could see it now to get all the jokes I am sure went over my head back then (I was a couple of years younger than you when it was on) and to see if it holds up at all.

    LC

    ReplyDelete
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    1. LC ~

      >>... "A lot of people don't know it, but the Monkees are pretty famous."

      Ha! That IS funny!

      Did you know that some people know that you and I aren't famous?

      Yeah, that beach scene in the opening credits for The Monkees really stood out. Also, that bit where all four of them were linked arm-in-arm and walking toward the camera 'left leg-right leg-left leg-right leg', etc. That bit must have inspired millions of young friends to emulate it. I know WE did!

      Yep, I like BOTH of those songs, too.

      There are a few episodes of LOVE AMERICAN STYLE available at YouTube (at least the last time I checked) including the episode that actually served as the pilot for 'Happy Days'.

      Yeah, that was a cool theme song that also takes me back to that era of relative innocence. There have been SO MANY television show theme songs / instrumentals that I really dug/dig. Love American Style, Taxi, MASH, Hill Street Blues, The Odd Couple, The Bob Newhart Show, Rockford Files, Sanford And Son, Barney Miller, WKRP In Cincinnati (which is probably my favorite), and the list goes on. Sometimes the theme music was WAY BETTER'N the actual TV show was.

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Delete

    2. Al Bondigas here. Love American Style was not instrumental only. It had lyrics. I'm singing it right now, and believe it or not, I sound pretty good. That's it!! That's my rulin'.

      Delete
    3. JUDGE AL ~

      Methinks youz need to listen more closely to the testimony before makin' yer rulin's.

      I didn't say the theme for 'LOVE AMERICAN STYLE' was an instrumental. I merely mentioned it amongst my favorite "television show theme songs / instrumentals that I really dug/dig.", such as "Love American Style, Taxi, MASH, Hill Street Blues, The Odd Couple, The Bob Newhart Show, Rockford Files, Sanford And Son, Barney Miller, WKRP In Cincinnati (which is probably my favorite).

      Now, granted that 8 of those 10 listed were instrumentals (no surprise considering it's MY rulin', right?), but two of them I knew to include vocals: 'Love American Style', and my favorite, 'WKRP In Cincinnati'.

      >>... I'm singing it right now, and believe it or not, I sound pretty good.

      I don't believe it.
      Barney Fife thought he sounded great, too. :-)

      ~ D-FensDogG

      Delete
    4. Why, I ought a.....

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  5. My favourite Monkee tune was Steppin' Stone. Tork lays down a really nice bass line and Mickey does a pretty neat fill off the toms in it. Paul Revere and the Raiders did the song first and I don't like their version at all. The song was from the early Boyce and Hart days I believe.

    I'm sure you've seen the movie "Head", written by Nicholson. I know the film was about a lot of things going on in America at the time but I do recall though that some of it dealt with the Monkee's discontent (rightly so) at being a commodity rather than a band. Zappa had a cameo role in that along with a lot of other interesting people. My favourite song from the film was Porpoise Song, co written by Carol King. A well crafted piece of music.

    When I consider what the show was actually made for, I don't see it as an answer to the Beatles. I see it as Madison Avenue realizing a few things. They saw just how much money the Beatles made from merchandise such as lunch boxes and decided to cash in on that idea. Further, I think they were going about the business of sanitizing the hippy culture and making it palatable to middle class America. Middle class America had money to spend and the hippy style was going to be big business. And it was big business, huuuuge business.

    That said, it doesn't detract from the fun of the tv show or from the music itself. The show was great comedy, the clothes were stylish and everybody wanted that car. It's also fun to watch the shows now and notice just how stoned out of their minds the guys were later in the series. I think the songs do hold up well today. They were well constructed, had strong melody lines and ultimately had something to say.

    I was wondering if you remember the short and ill fated tour where Hendrix opened for the Monkees Whilst the Monkees were really cool dudes and could party with the best of them, the audiences were so wildly different, it was bound to be a disaster. That's the kind of thing that happens when suits get involved in the music business.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Howdy, ANNE ~

      >>... My favourite Monkee tune was Steppin' Stone.

      Yeah, I like it too. So does DiscConnected (see comment above).

      I'm not certain (would need to look it up) but it's possible none of The Monkees actually played on that track. In the early days, they mostly just did vocals and studio musicians (some of The Wrecking Crew) recorded the instrumental tracks. In later years, Mike, Micky, Peter and Davy were more instrumentally involved, but I'm not really sure where that transition occurred.

      Yeah, I saw the movie 'Head' once, many, many years ago. Don't really recall much of it now though. But Carole King was an EXCELLENT songwriter. I may even be featuring one of her originals versus a cover version in a future BOTB installment. I listed this potential match-up way back when BOTB first began.

      >>... When I consider what the show was actually made for, I don't see it as an answer to the Beatles

      Well, to be more accurate, it was "American television's answer to The Beatles movie 'A Hard Day's Night'." Yes, it was initiated primarily as a commercial endeavor and it was inspired by that Beatles movie. You'll notice that the zany style is quite similar. "Suits" realized that there was money to be made by an Americanized version of 'A Hard Day's Night' for television audiences and auditions were held for actors / performers, with the emphasis on charisma, not musical ability. So, The Monkees were not really an organic band, but were assembled as a commercial endeavor by corporate interests. The individuals - Mike, Micky, Peter and Davy - began to rebel against that whole "manufactured" idea and started to assert themselves against "the man". So their later stuffs more represented their authentic input.

      >>... Further, I think they were going about the business of sanitizing the hippy culture and making it palatable to middle class America.

      Yeah, no doubt. 'The Partridge Family' show was doing the same thing. Make money and water-down the message. (Although I must admit that I am not a full-fledged fan of the original message, either. It was kind of one extreme against another extreme, and the "Capitalist" extreme wasn't really as it pretended to be anyway. It was actually funding its opposition, which so often happens.)

      >>... The show was great comedy, the clothes were stylish and everybody wanted that car.

      It was the second coolest car on TV after the Batmobile.

      >>... ...the songs do hold up well today. They were well constructed, had strong melody lines and ultimately had something to say.

      Ha! Just like "The Monkees"! They were "the young generation" and they had "something to say". :-)

      >>... I was wondering if you remember the short and ill fated tour where Hendrix opened for the Monkees

      Yeah, I WAS aware of that, but I'll bet most Americans aren't. Amazing that you know of it.

      Great comment, Anne!

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  6. Oh I love the Monkees and have "Their Greatest Hits" album-I know...typical. I love that one song that Davy Jones sings-so sad when he passed away. You know my brother has the Monkees car that was a model which he glued together. I heard it is worth something but who knows. He got the model as a gift at the height of the show. That 2nd song sounds like the smoked a few and were having some fun. I love that Saloon name-"The Lucky Cuss Saloon"-too bad they changed the name.

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    1. BIRGIT ~
      Pretty cool that your brother has managed to hold on to that Monkees car all this time. Those models get brittle and tend to fall apart after awhile. Yep, I used to put them together "back in the day" also. In fact, I had a Batmobile but it is long gone.

      The only Monkees album I have is that first one. For sentimental reasons, I always play it on my birthday.

      The Lucky Cuss Saloon was like a real, old-tyme Western drinking parlor - everything was unvarnished wood and a wooden plank floor, and dark inside - really my kind of place. Most of the other bars in town had more of a "tourist trap" feel to them. Too sanitized.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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    2. I think that bar sounds great! I don't like to go to "pretty" bars.

      Delete
  7. I remember when Davy Jones guest starred as Marcia Brady's crush on The Brady Bunch! It's sad that he died so young. I also liked Micky. Some other great theme songs include: The Jeffersons, Love Boat and Bonanza. There's even an episode where the Cartright "boys" sing the lyrics! Look what you've started, Stephen!

    Julie

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    1. Ha! Sorry, GEM JULIE. Next thing you know, I'll be starting a new blogfest where everyone has to name their top 3 favorite TV theme songs.

      Yeah, I remember that Davy / Marcia 'Brady Bunch' episode, too. Methinks we're... gettin' old. ;-)

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  8. How did I miss this when it went up? Dang. Somehow, your blog posts are hidden on my list. I don't even know how to hide one, so how did that happen and how do I fix it. Now I have homework.

    When I was young, my neighbor and I LOVED the Monkees with real-fan devotion. We were obsessed with them and could be found dragging out that turntable daily to create the theme songs of the day.

    "Shades of Grey" is one of my favorites, in addition to the ones you've mentioned.

    Check out the original post:
    <a href="http://www.cherdoontheflipside.com/2014/05/marcia-drive-playhouse.html>Marcia Drive Playhouse</a>

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    1. DOC CHERDO ~
      Yeah, you've complained of this before (my new blog bits not showing up in your Dashboard). I have no idea why they wouldn't, but then it seems sometimes Robin's don't show up in mine, either.

      Davy Jones and Spock... whenever we kids played, I got to be those two characters or I'd take my tambourine and starship Enterprise and go home.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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