This double-disc contains the best of the variable recording career of the Monkees, four actors conceived as an American equivalent of The Beatles for the purposes of a TV series, but turned out to have genuine musical talent. With songwriters of the pedigree of Neil Diamond (I’m A Believer) and John Stewart (Daydream Believer) supplying their early singles, they scored eight Top 40 hits (all contained here) in less than 18 months, though some of their best material, such as Circle Sky and Tapioca Tundra, was written by the band’s own Mike Nesmith.
Q, March 2008
µµµµ Q Recommends
“Pop of the finest bubblegum variety, ’66-‘68”
Manufactured as a waggish Beatles cash-in, The Monkees initially didn’t play their own records. But, without doubt, they made some fantastic music. CD1 collects their initial rush of pop hits – I’m A Believer and (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone are as fresh and melodious as it’s possible to be – while the second chronicles their psychedelia-lite phase, culminating in the bongo groover Can You Dig It? Quality wasn’t maintained, but this is more to do with the remarkable heights of the earlier material than the calibre of the latter.