The Monkees – Headquarters (1967)
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When you hear “The Monkees,” what jumps to mind?
The TV show, Hey Hey we’re the intentionally misspelled animal group?
Jimi Hendrix incongruously opening for that same band in 1967?
For me, it’s inevitably Ozzy Osbourne, in this scene from the 1995 film, The Jerky Boys: The Movie (at 1:24):
Upon learning The Monkees had an album among the “1001 albums you must hear before you die,” I wouldn’t be surprised if many readers had the same reaction as Ozzy.
The (curse word) Monkees?????
The “pre-fab 4,” the group that was the very embodiment of a carefully constructed pop act, shamelessly/without-any-evidence-of-subtlety riding the Beatlemania wave??
Yes, those (curse word) Monkees.
Even more astonishing?
Their album, Headquarters, is pretty (curse word) good!
When The Jerky Boys: The Movie was released in 1995, authenticity meant the world to me.
We were still a year or two away from the onslaught of ‘manufactured’ produced boy/girl bands; the notion of intentionally creating a reasonable facsimile of an existing group wasn’t yet on my radar. Thus, I deemed an artist as authentic if they:
a) wrote their own songs
b) played their own instruments
c) didn’t sound like a ‘rip-off’
So based on 13-year-old-me’s rigorous standards, The Monkees passed the first two authenticity checks with Headquarters, as the songs & performances are certainly competent, if unremarkable.
As for part c), You Told Me feels very Harrison-esque and they clearly channeled Sir Paul McCartney on No Time. But that’s about as overt as it got, meaning one could argue they actually aced the authenticity test.
Now, let’s not get carried away.
Even five decades later, few would argue The Monkees are the very embodiment of Authentic Artistry and fewer still would declare them to be on par with that other quartet of Liverpudlians.
That being said, although The Jerky Boys rose to fame through prank phone calls, The Monkees appearing on the 1001 list is no practical joke: the very listenable Headquarters is likely right where it should be.
Verbalize the Positive
More importantly, I appreciate his passion for music & his prolific blogging skills, I think he posted every day for the first couple years with zero trace of diminishing returns!