Last Train To Clarksville / Take A Giant Step - The Monkees
Produced by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
Released 16th August 1966
US Chart #1
UK Chart #23
In the age in which we are now living there has been a constant snubbing of the nose toward Manufactured Pop Music that has come out of shows like X Factor, The Voice and American Idol and some of the displeasure is valid. But what people forget is that in one sense there has always been "Manufactured Pop Music" going right back to the 1950s and especially in the Sixties.
Davy Jones had already been recruited and so on September 8–10, 1965, Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter ran an ad to cast the remainder of the band/cast members for the TV show:
Madness!! Auditions. Folk & Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles in new TV series. Running Parts for 4 insane boys, age 17-21. Want spirited Ben Frank's types. Have courage to work. Must come down for interview.
Out of 437 applicants, the other three chosen for the cast of the TV show were Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz. Nesmith had been working as a musician since early 1963 and had been recording and releasing music under various names, including Michael Blessing and "Mike & John & Bill" and had studied drama in college; contrary to popular belief, of the final four, Nesmith was the one member who actually saw the ad in the Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Tork, the last to be chosen, had been working the Greenwich Village scene as a musician, and had shared the stage with Pete Seeger; he learned of The Monkees from Stephen Stills, whom Rafelson and Schneider had rejected. Dolenz was an actor (his father was veteran character actor George Dolenz) who had starred in the TV series Circus Boy as a child, using the stage name Mickey Braddock, and he had also played guitar and sung in a band called the Missing Links before The Monkees, which had recorded and released a very minor single, "Don't Do It". By that time he was using his real name; he found out about The Monkees through his agent.
On this day in 1966 the Debut Single by The Monkees was released and the rest as they say is history. They had four #1 albums between 1966-67, 6 Top Ten Singles between 1966-67 (which included 3 #1's - Last Train To Clarksville, I'm A Believer and Daydream Believer).
The Monkees are still on the go 50 years later having released what I think is one of the albums of the year in Good Times.
So much for Manufactured Pop Music not staying the course!
Dedicated to my mate Ralph!
He's still waiting for The Monkees to come down his street!