NBC Invests In The Monkees

Today in 1966, NBC bought The Monkees television series from Screen Gems. The Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night inspired Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider to create the program. 437 applicants auditioned for 4 roles, ending up with  Micky Dolenz, Michael NesmithPeter Tork and Davy JonesDon Kirshner, produced the early sessions with help  from the songwriting duo, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. who plumbed the best of the Brill Building talent to come up with hit records for the group to record.  The show ran from September 12, 1966 to March 25, 1968, winning two Emmy Awards in 1967. The music segments are said to have inspired the progenitors of MTV, which, once upon a time, played music videos. Trivia: Many of the same sets and props from The Three Stooges short films made by Screen Gems were used in the series.

Quick Takes:

35 things that will make it feel like you’ve got your life together. (Via Buzzfeed)

If you thought that Moog was the biggest name in synthesizers, you may have never known about Alan R. Pearlman. His ARP units fueled hits for Edgar Winter ( “Frankenstein,”) Herbie Hancock (“Chameleon,”) and the early-1980s version of the theme to the television series “Doctor Who.” NYT notes that the five-note signature motif of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”was played on an ARP 2500 synthesizer, which is seen in the film. An ARP 2600, mixed with natural sounds, provided the voice of R2-D2 in the first “Star Wars” movie. Alan R. Pearlman passed away January 15, 2019. Heres his full obit.

Today in History:

1972, A section of Bellevue Boulevard in Memphis was renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard. The remaining length of road kept its original name after protests from the Bellevue Baptist Church.

1976, Barry Manilow scored his second US No.1 single with ‘I Write The Songs‘, which was written by The Beach Boys Bruce Johnston. (Video)

Tonight in 1991, Operation Desert Storm begins, with US-led coalition forces bombing Iraq, during the Gulf War. I remember we were watching a Sinbad special on HBO. Here’s a clip where he talks Motown and music. (Video)

2011, American music publisher, talent manager, and songwriter Don Kirshner who helped launch the careers of Neil Diamond, Bobby Darin, Carole King, Neil Sedaka, The Monkees, The Archies and Kansas, died of heart failure at the age of 76. In addition to his contributions to The Monkees’ career, he also served as a music consultant for almost two dozen TV series between 1966 and 1977.

Happy Birthday to: Antonio Prohias (Spy vs Spy), 1921 (d. 1988); Betty White, 1922; Eartha Kitt, 1927 (d. 2008); James Earl Jones, 1931; Shari Lewis (Ventriloquist), 1934; Muhammad Ali, 1942 (d. 2016); Chris Montez, 1943; Mick Taylor, 1948; Kid Rock, 1971

Much More Music:

From this mornings playlist.. Robbie Dupree‘s 1981 hit, “Steal Away“. A nice mix of the original 45 with video from his performance on The Midnight Special.  (Video)

Last Train to Clarksville“, The Monkees. Written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and  recorded at RCA Victor Studio B in Hollywood on July 25, 1966, the tune was number one in the land just 4 months later. Mickey Dolenz was the only Monkee to perform on the single. Wikipedia notes that although LA’s “Wrecking Crew” provided the instrumental backing for many of the early Monkees’ songs, Boyce and Hart’s band Candy Store Prophets did the session work for this song. (Video)

Today’s Quote Worth Re-Quoting: “Everyone wants happiness. No one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain.”

We leave you with a classic clip featuring Birthday Girl Betty White. Here she is as Sue Ann Nivins, giving Ted Baxter his due on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Thanks for listening!

Scott Westerman
Host and Producer – Rock and Roll Revisited
Author: Motor City Music – Keener 13 and the Soundtrack of Detroit