In the mid-1960s, listeners couldn’t get enough of The Monkees songs. Their catchy melodies and equally charming personalities helped them rocket to stardom.
During the insanity, the group had multiple songs and albums at the top of the charts. So, what were their best tunes?
Today, we’re sharing seven songs by The Monkees that you should add to your 60s Vibe playlist.
Who Were The Monkees
The Monkees were a group many music enthusiasts considered America’s answer to The Beatles. However, members Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones came together as a fictional band for a television sitcom in 1965. Their program showcased the adventures that cultural and musical phenomenons had to deal with at the time.
Producers released music from the show as an LP and generated controversy. While the songs were hits, the music supervisor for the show wasn’t satisfied with the cast’s musical talents. As a result, they had very little involvement in recording the tracks. Instead, producers relied on professional writers and studio musicians.
It’s no surprise that this didn’t sit well with fans or the actors. While they were a fictional band for television, they had actual musical talents and abilities. They fought for control and then recorded two albums on their own.
Unfortunately, the executives may have been onto something because they canceled the show in 1968, and the group disbanded in 1970.
The band had a resurgence in the mid-1980s after MTV ran a day-long marathon of The Monkees episodes. Over the next several decades, they toured and recorded albums with various members coming and going.
Davy Jones passed away in February 2012, Peter Tork in 2019, and Michael Nesmith in 2021. Micky Dolenz is currently the only living member.
Throughout their careers, they performed songs that captured the imagination of a generation. We’ve got seven of our favorites here for you.
Deep Dive: The Story of The Monkees.
#1 Daydream Believer
Daydream Believer was one of the most iconic songs by The Monkees. It came out in 1967 and has upbeat lyrics that appeal to all ages. Writers imagined a story of someone daydreaming about a person they love deeply.
The message is timeless because love is an emotion that many felt in the mid-1960s and today. Music lovers today can enjoy and relate to the lyrics equally as much as original listeners decades ago.
Cheer up, sleepy Jean Oh, what can it mean To a daydream believer And a homecoming queen?
#2 Cuddly Toy
Cuddly Toy, written by Harry Nilsson, came out in 1967. It was a part of their Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. album. The arrangement of the track is different from their typical sound. Producers featured a more psychedelic vibe that many enjoyed when it was released.
Like many of their tunes, the lyrics of Cuddly Toy tell a story. A girl mentioned in this song was promiscuous in her relationships with boys. However, her innocent appearance helps her to disguise her behaviors.
You're not the only cuddly toy That was ever enjoyed by any boy You're not the only choo-choo train That was left out in the rain the day after Santa came
#3 Pleasant Valley Sunday
Pleasant Valley Sunday was another of the songs from the 1967 album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. by The Monkees. An epic songwriting duo of Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote the ditty.
It has an upbeat sound with infectious melodies and catchy guitar riffs. The lyrics tell the story of the simplicity of life in suburban America. Pleasant Valley Sunday was one of the few songs played by the cast of The Monkees on the album.
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday (Sunday) Charcoal burning everywhere Rows of houses that are all the same And no one seems to care
#4 I’m a Believer
I’m a Believer came out in 1966 as a single. It quickly climbed to the top of the charts due to its exposure on The Monkees television program. In addition, many found the lyrics resonated with them. With over a million advanced orders, the single went gold in the first days of its release.
Neil Diamond penned the lyrics, which convey the joy of finding true love. Today, many recognize I’m a Believer as one of the most popular songs from The Monkees. Smash Mouth covered the song in 2001 for the animated film Shrek, which exposed a whole new audience to the tune. In fact, friends of ours played that version while walking down the aisle after exchanging their marriage vows.
Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer Not a trace of doubt in my mind I'm in love I'm a believer, I couldn't leave her if I tried
#5 (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone
I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone was a song by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. It became one of the most requested tracks during live performances. With edgy guitar riffs and rebellious lyrics, it revealed a grittier side to The Monkees.
Many listeners in the late 1960s enjoyed the song’s attitude. The story behind the lyrics is a guy standing up to a girl who treats him poorly. Over the years, numerous artists like Tom Petty, The Sex Pistols, and The Grateful Dead covered the tune.
You're tryin' to make your mark in society You're usin' all the tricks that you used on me You're readin' all them high fashion magazines The clothes you're wearin', girl, they're causin' public scenes
#6 Last Train to Clarksville
Last Train to Clarksville was another of The Monkees songs written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The lyrics tell the story of a man drafted into the Vietnam War and his emotions on his way to the army base. It was written and released in 1966 as a protest against the Vietnam War, which was a popular theme for songs during the time.
'Cause I'm leaving in the morning And I must see you again We'll have one more night together (Train) 'Til the morning brings my train, and I must go
Valleri is one of the most lively songs by The Monkees. It was another single released in 1968. Listeners loved this catchy, energetic tune, and it quickly climbed to the top of the charts. The harmony of the vocals throughout the songs is much of what fans loved to hear at the time of its release.
Executives liked that the song included a girl’s name as the title. They found these songs performed well. It’s still popular today and continues to bring a smile to the faces of listeners with the joyful sounds of the guitars.
There's a girl I know who makes me feel so good And I wouldn't live without her, even if I could She's the same little girl who used to hang around my door But she sure looks different than the way she looked before
Watch the documentary! Daydream Believers: The Monkees Story.
The Monkees’ Hits Are Even Better Than You Remember!
The Monkees were a group with a catalog of songs that shaped a generation. While the group was controversial, they created tunes that topped the charts. Many hear their melodies and are instantly transported to their youth.
They may have started as a fictional band on a television show, but they became so much more than that.