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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Everything is The Monkees

I first learned of the death of Davy Jones of The Monkees via a tweet from Philadelphia Daily News Eagles beat writer – and music fan - Les Bowen:
“Dang, Davy Jones. When I was 11 I didn't know Monkees were cheesy/fake; thought they were coolest thing. Saved my allowance, bought records”
Of f the top of my head I replied:
“Saw them at Mid-South Coliseum Memphis when I was 12. Next show: Hendrix, Spectrum when I was 13. Things changed fast then. RIP...”

Tour program from my encounter with The Monkees.

But it got me to thinking about the nature of change, and what The Monkees were in the context of their time.

In 1967, to be blunt, The Monkees were considered pop crap. If anyone even bothered to analyze what they were, he or she would come to the conclusion that they were a manufactured trifle, marketed mainly to young girls, though roping in enough young boys (like Les and yours truly) to make that audience a sizeable demographic as well.
In 1967, if The Monkees got any coverage in mainstream publications – daily newspapers, the weekly news magazines – it was in the context of, “this is stupid calculated music for dumb tweens and teens.”

The late Davy Jones in his natural element.

If you wanted to read anything that even remotely presented The Monkees as something cool or something to be taken seriously? Well, 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat were the place to go, magazines created specifically to cater to those dumb tweens and teens.

The appropriately-named 16 Magazine.

So here we are in 20012 and what do we have? Stupid calculated music is embraced – celebrated! – by “serious” media outlets seeking only to market anything to anyone.
Lady Gaga! Enrique Iglesias! MIA! Pitbull! Chiddy Bang! Tyga! Anything that ever emerged from American Idol!
The “artists” who once would have been considered nothing more than fodder for 12-year-olds are now pablum for the whole family, worthy of NFL halftime shows and reviews and analysis in your daily newspaper or weekly news magazines or blogs or social media outlets ad nauseum who all seem blind to a fundamental fact: these acts are still “stupid calculated music for dumb tweens and teens.” It’s just that adults are now so stupid they’re on board too.
Now, everything is The Monkees.
So long, Davy…


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