In Monkey Business: The Revolutionary Made-for-TV Band, the Monkees are described just as I remember from all the after-school TV-watching of my youth: "a kind of visual LSD for the Kool-Aid set."
The author, Eric Lefcowitz, interestingly describes how he forgot about the band throughout the 1970s. But at the start of the next decade, he heard "a bizarre cover" of "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone" by the Sex Pistols. Despite being a fan of dark and political acts like Joy Division, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, and Black Flag, Lefcowitz found himself a few days later buying a Monkees album.
I similarly feel that there will always be some "music purists who never get the Monkees, who don't care that the Beatles, themselves, were fans." Or that some of the Monkees' songs were penned by legends like Harry Nilsson, Neil Diamond, and Carole King. Or that their TV show used "cutting-edge techniques" and band member Michael Nesmith, "for all intents and purposes [along with the Beatles' movie A Hard Day's Night], invented the revolutionary music video format that would later become MTV."
Other interesting tidbids from this book about a space in time that endlessly fascinates me:
- Urban legend has it that mass-murderer Charles Manson auditioned for the band, but that was later proven false.
- Stephen Stills, later of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, actually did audition, but he lost out "due to a receding hairline and a recessed tooth."