Did the Beatles Have Any Issue With the Monkees?

The Monkees were inspired by the Beatles and they barely tried to hide it. How else do you explain that the Monkees had a song where they used the phrase “I want to hold your hand?” Given the Monkees took so much inspiration from the Fab Four, the latter had reason to feel ripped-off. This raises a fascinating question: What did the Beatles think of the Monkees?

The Beatles sitting at a table
The Beatles | Roger Viollet Collection/Getty Images

John Lennon on whether the Monkees were just an imitation of the Beatles

“[The Monkees have] their own scene, and I won’t send them down for it, John Lennon said, according to Mental Floss. “You try a weekly television show and see if you can manage one half as good!” John was an extremely cultured and talented man, so his endorsement of the Monkees’ sitcom meant a lot. In addition, Mickey Dolenz told Westword that John correctly said the Monkees were more like the Marx Brothers than the Fab Four. Certainly, the humor in the Monkees’ sitcom was more similar to the Marx Brothers’ humor than it was to the Beatles’ dry wit.

How George Harrison and Ringo star got along with the Monkees

Meanwhile, George Harrison liked some of the songs the Monkees produced themselves. According to NME, he said “It’s obvious what’s happening, there’s talent there… when they get it all sorted out, they might turn out to be the best.” That’s quite the statement, coming from a member of rock ‘n’ roll’s most acclaimed band. In addition, Ringo Starr got along well with Dolenz.

“Daydream Believer” by the Monkees

Dolenz told Cleveland Scene he spent more time with Ringo than any other member of the Beatles, though he did spend time with John and Paul. He recalls hanging out with Ringo after Ringo moved to Los Angles in the 1970s. During that time, Dolenz and Ringo were mutual friends with Harry Nilsson.

Tork shared a similar sentiment, saying “[Ringo] is my favorite Beatle. It truly was Ringo that I found to be the most open and human.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ringo sent his condolences when Davy Jones died, saying “God bless Davy. Peace & love to his family, Ringo.”

“I’m a Believer” by the Monkees

The Beatles Song That’s Supposed to Sound Like Smokey Robinson

In fact, Rolling Stone reports that Ringo and George once jammed together with Tork back in the 1960s. Tork felt blessed to be able to hear Ringo on the drums. Sadly, the jam session was not recorded. If it was, it would be a quintessential encapsulation of an era.

Paul McCartney’s friendship with Micky Dolenz

That just leaves Paul. Dolenz befriended Paul during the recording of Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band. According to the Fab Four FAQ, the two musicians would get high together. Dolenz was there for the recording of “Good Morning Good Morning.” The Beatles didn’t seem to have a problem with the Monkees at all. Not only that, they gave the Monkees some once in a lifetime opportunities to watch them flex their creative muscles. The Monkees did pretty well for a group of Beatles imitators!