The Monkees Essentials
The Monkees might've been a group of cute, Beatlesque pinups conjured up for television, but their songs are some of the most enduring that American pop has ever produced. The TV show that introduced the band—made up of actor-musicians Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork—only originally aired from 1966 to 1968, yet over the ensuing decades, The Monkees' two-and-a-half-minute melodic pop nuggets made a mark on everyone from contemporaries like The Hollies and The Archies to modern guitar-pop masters such as Oasis and Weezer. Prior to their own hugely successful solo-artist careers, Neil Diamond and Carole King wrote a number of The Monkees' biggest songs (like “I'm a Believer” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” respectively). And with some of the industry's most sought-after arrangers, session players, and producers working on their albums, it's no surprise they stand alongside The Beach Boys as some of 1960s Los Angeles' most representative—and best—recordings. Beyond their highly cultivated beginnings, The Monkees proved their musical legitimacy in later years with unexpected forays into psychedelia and country rock, some of which were written by Nesmith himself.