For a group that was famously manufactured, the Monkees have outlived vast swaths of their supposedly more "serious" musical counterparts of the late '60s. Perhaps that's because the foursome was always more musically gifted than its initial TV-show origins might have let on.
After all, though the group's effervescent, lightly British-inflected pop rock was originally created for them, eventually the members wrested back creative control and played much of the material on their later albums. In fact, it was during this period that they released arguably their biggest hit, "Daydream Believer."
In latter days, though, intragroup relations have been more fraught. Original members Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones reunited in 1997 and 2001, outings that largely ended in acrimony. Over the past decade, though, the tensions have softened, and the three -- notably without original guitarist Michael Nesmith -- have hit the road this year to mark the band's 45th anniversary.
In advance of the group's stop at Pompano Beach Amphitheatre next Sunday, here are five underrated songs written by the Monkees themselves.
Aesthetically, the group was deep into a colorful, paisley vibe at this point. Still, "No Time" is a straight-up R&B, rock 'n' roll rave-up that's more raw and soulful than much of the boys' previous material.
"Daily Nightly," from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., 1967
This track was penned by Nesmith and sung by Dolenz on the album version. Though the structure is simple, the production wizardry is a piece of blissful psych-pop, including some sweet early Moog synthesizer effects.
"Dream World," from The Birds, the Bees, & the Monkees, 1968
This is the album that also gave the world the megahit "Daydream Believer," but the deeper cuts are a trove of sunny, baroque pop, like this Davy Jones-penned album opener, "Dream World." Is that a harpsichord? A trumpet?
Head was the soundtrack album to the Monkees' movie of the same title, the group's only cinematic project and, frankly, not a huge box-office smash. Still, it later became a cult favorite and yielded a few musical gems like the Nesmith-written "Circle Sky," a relatively loose, blues-tinged, rollicking number.