When I first heard, I was quick to dismiss the report. “Impossible”, I wrote on Facebook. I even said “No.” I just refused to believe such things. Then of course I went and searched and found entirely too many articles reporting the same news to ignore. I can’t really explain the sadness and horror that went through me at that point. One of the first things I remembered was sitting on my parents old couch in our living room in Glendora, California where I grew up. I was probably about 3 or 4, and every single day I would watch The Monkees with my mom at lunch time. I have a feeling she was a big “closet” fan! I’d eat my PB&J (That’s peanut butter and jelly) and watch the show. This was in 1973 or 1974, so the show had long run it’s course and was in reruns. (The show began in 1966 and ran for only 2 seasons) I didn’t know the difference. I loved the show, and it was squeaky clean. No wonder my mom didn’t mind watching the show with her preschooler! I had a crush on Davy Jones before I even knew what the word meant. The funny thing was that although it was obvious that Davy was the cute one, and I did love him – I actually loved Mike Nesmith every bit as much. (I always seem to go for the quiet underdog types!) Regardless, they were a childhood favorite, and I own all of their albums. I even went to see them in concert back in the 80’s when they reunited, and had planned to see Davy Jones when he came near me in concert later in the spring. So yesterday was a shock.
I posted the news on Facebook, figuring that I’d get a few “Oh, that’s sad”, and I’d be alone in my sadness, pouring my grief into my shamrock shake over lunch. (or is that pouring the shamrock shake into ME…??) Oddly, more and more of my friends commented on just how grief-stricken they were by the news. I had no idea so many of my friends, Duran Duran friends and otherwise, were as captivated by the show and music as I was! One of my friends even commented that she thought of The Monkees as her “gateway drug” to Duran Duran. That one thought brought a smile to my face, because that is exactly how it was. My goodness, I was only about three years old when I watched The Monkees! I learned about music from the show, I learned what it was like to be a teen idol, and more appropriately, how to be a fan, albeit a young fan at that! I suppose you could say I cut my teeth on The Monkees, and I was not the only one.
It was no different on Twitter. I was shocked by how many fellow DD fans were pouring out their condolences and grief. One of our Twitter friends (@ladouleur_xquis) made mention of exactly what I was noticing – that a LOT of Duran Duran fans were fans of The Monkees, and suggested that might be a good blog topic, and so here we are. What is the commonality?? I’m no expert, but I can suggest a few things:
1. A music fan is a music fan, no matter the age. A case in point is my youngest. She is a HUGE fan, and I’m only slightly unnerved that Big Time Rush may end up being her version of The Monkees. She loves music. She learns the words to songs incredibly fast – and not just Duran Duran songs either! She knows Crazy Train by Ozzy, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, all of the Big Time Rush songs, and even I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones among many, many others. Part of this is due to me (yep, I’m taking credit) because I listen to JackFM – the only station that will play AC/DC next to Spandau Ballet. We don’t do Barney in my house. My older two never took to music the way that the youngest does though, and I fully expect to be driving her to whatever band becomes her obsession. (and I’m looking forward to it!)
2. Maybe we went for the videos even when we were young? I loved watching The Monkees on TV, and seeing Duran Duran on TV in videos was really no different – except that I knew what a crush was by then!
3. Duran Duran is a pop band, even if we gave them fancy names like “New Wave” over the years. Yes, it pains me to write that sometimes, but it’s the truth. The Monkees were pop as well – even if they were a bit more on the bubble gum side of things. I think that musical taste develops far earlier than we might really think, and really – The Monkees were probably more than appropriate for my little mind at the age of 3 or 4. I didn’t understand what Pleasant Valley Sunday meant, but I knew the words – and was allowed to actually sing them too!
4. I can’t ignore the cute factor. I’d love to pretend that even as a preschooler I was super scholarly and knew it was about the music, but the truth is – The Monkees were cute! They even had their own resident pinup in just the same way that we did (x5 of course). I still went for the quiet, more serious one… hmm.
Any more to add??
Last night on Piers Morgan, he interviewed a very melancholy Micky Dolenz. I really felt for Micky because it was very clear he was completely shellshocked. He did his best to share some of his thoughts and memories, and I did my best not to burst into tears as I listened. One of the things Micky shared was that the initial vision for The Monkees was to do the American version of A Hard Days Night. This morning as I was watching Nickelodeon (remember, I’ve got a 3 year old in the house…the TV is not ever MINE…), I saw an ad for Big Time Rush’s new movie. The music in the background? A Hard Days Night.
It’ll be interesting to see how they’re viewed in 30 years. American icons? Forgotten disaster? I know plenty who jeered The Monkees over the years for being corporate pop and being the absolute worst that the Hollywood “suits” had to offer at the time. Keep in mind they were among the first, if not THE first “band” put together for the sake of a television show…and yet they found plenty of love in later years. Will history repeat?