People say we monkee around …

15 Oct

Rock music is cool. So loving rock music – the authentic stuff – makes you cool by association, right? (please be right … please be right … please be right.)

But loving a pop song just as much: does that make you eclectic or just lame?

Rock and pop are quarreling siblings: they’re closely related and draw from the same gene pool, but they don’t want to admit it.  That’s the basis of so much rock criticism: the definition of what’s cool and what isn’t, what’s worth listening to and what isn’t worth the space in your brain pan. Yet Stephen King, of all people, wrote in Entertainment Weekly about how he could care less: a good pop song “turns my ordinary life inside out like a pocket and coats my feet with happy dust.” (Read it here:,,20428523,00.html)

So, with Uncle Stevie’s tacit approval, I want to talk about my favorite pop song ever:

You can love it ... it's okay ...

The Monkees were concocted for television to cash in on Beatlemania. They sang but weren’t allowed to play their own instruments on their first set of records, even though they had musical backgrounds (and Michael Nesmith became a music video pioneer and respected movie producer down the road). While they sometimes wrote their own material, the network brought out the big songwriting guns for them, too.  

(Guess who wrote this Screen Gem gem? Gerry Goffin and Carole King.)

There are two things that make me shiver every time I listen. One is the shimmery chords in the second A section:

See Mrs. Gray, she’s proud today because the roses are in bloom
Mr. Green, he’s so serene, he’s got a TV in every room

And, the other is when Micky Dolenz’s voice arcs in the air over Davy Jones’ endless “ta-ta-ta-ta, ta-ta-ta-ta’s”: it sounds like the scream of a kid in a button down shirt and penny loafers, equal parts polite and rebellious.

What song sends shivers up your spine, even if it’s not gold-plated, Hall of Fame worthy rock-and-roll? Let me know … and watch and listen (and forgive them for the atrocious lip-synching):

 See you on the flip side …


3 Responses to “People say we monkee around …”

  1. james October 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Nesmith did play guitar on this track, as well as Micky on drums. All four are talking about touring next year!

    • lpon45 October 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

      Hey, thanks for reading – and for filling in some blanks! Clearly, there was research to be done that I didn’t have the brain space to do when I posted this late one night.

      According to Google Answers, the following people were responsible for playing “Pleasant Valley Sunday:”

      MICKY DOLENZ: lead vocals
      PETER TORK: piano
      MICHAEL NESMITH: electric guitar, backing vocals
      BILL CHADWICK: acoustic guitar
      CHIP DOUGLAS: bass
      EDDIE HOH: drums
      DAVY JONES: backing vocals

      Their source was The Monkees Music Box: … which is now a broken link. So, there may be even more research to be done!

      Enjoy their tour and thanks again for reading LP on 45.

  2. Gail October 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    This is eerie and interesting…it starts off “pleasantly” enough and by the end it’s chaos, complete with crazy lemon-sucking expressions on faces and psychedelic fadeout. It makes me think a little bit of “Mrs. Robinson” (by one of my secret favorites to this day, S&G), with that sulfur whiff of suburban angst and boredom.

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