Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Monkees on The Beatles

Ringo, Nilsson, Mickey Dolenz and Keith Moon
1967 was seemingly everyone's year, from the Association to the Zombies, but it was the Beatles and the Monkees that shared the top spots, with Sgt. Pepper easing out Headquarters. So what was the relationship between the two bands?

 Peter: Micky and I are meeting the Beatles at a London club called the Speakeasy. And in come George and John singing to the tune of "Hare Krishna," "Micky Dolenz, Micky Dolenz, Dolenz, Dolenz, Micky, Micky." And Paul is with Jane Asher, and the other guys didn't bring anybody, and I had just done some STP which was an LSD-type psychedelic drug. I mentioned it to John and he said, "We heard that's no good. Mama Cass told us not to take it." But he said, "Okay." So I went back to the hotel and I got some. Popped one down his throat. I guess he was all right because he seemed to survive. I don't think I'm responsible for "Strawberry Fields" though.

Davy: I was performing a song from Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show when the Beatles made their American debut. I saw this amazing reaction and I thought, "I want a bit of this - this is good." I remember getting into the lift with Ringo Starr. I was always a cheeky little guy. He had a cold at the time and I remember saying, "Let me blow your nose for you, I'm closer than you are." Ringo said, "I know."

Mike: I was a Beatles fan. When I had my newfound fame as a television star, I thought I'd figure out if I could broker this into a meeting with some people I wanted to meet. One of them was John Lennon. I flew to London and sent him a telegram that said, "I'm at the such and such hotel and I would very much like to meet you." I signed it, "God is Love, Mike Nesmith." Now, "God is Love" was an utterly radical thing to say in the 60s, especially on a telegram. He called me at the hotel. He said, "I'll send a car for you. Come stay with me instead." That was the beginning of the friendship. We maintained it from a distance. Every time I went to London I would look him up, and he would call me when he came here.

Mike on "A Day in the Life" recording session: I was staying with John Lennon during the recording of the Sgt. Pepper album. He would come home and play the acetates from the day's sessions. "What do you think of that sound? Do you think there's too much bass on there?" And of course, I just didn't have any way to talk to him because he was just rearranging my musical realities at the time. I said, "This is just miraculous. This is some of the most innovative and creative and interesting stuff I've ever heard." And he showed me a picture of the album cover. So when he said, "Do you want to come down and hang?" I was there. The only thing I can really remember about the sessions, however, was Marianne Faithfull--whoa. I thought, "This is the rock and roll mama of all time." And I was unabashedly just stricken. She was with Jagger. When she wandered into the room I thought, "Oh, this is what the fuss is all about." She was some stone fox, I'll tell you."

Micky: "I was invited to a recording session. So I dressed up in all my caftans and beads and glasses with sparkly stuff, and I was sure I was gonna go to this unbelievable-pop-historical-Andy Warholesque-Fellini event with the Beatles and groupies and God knows what. I walk into EMI Recording Studios on Abbey Road and it's like a doctor’s office-- bright fluorescent lights. The guys are sitting there in shirts and t-shirts and slacks with their instruments, and George Martin is in the booth. "Right, once again, and three, four...." I was so stoned and stunned. I was just walking around, "Ohhhh." "Right, okay, once again...Right, cut it, time for tea lads." And the guy comes in with a big tray of tea and sits it on the card table and they all sit around and we had tea for 20 minutes. And I'm blown away. I couldn't believe it. And then they went right back to work; they were working lads from the north. They just did this 16 hours a day for years. That's where all that stuff came from. So I floated out about an hour later."