The Monkees were often compared to the Beatles. Their hits certainly bore similarities to the Beatles’ early music. In addition, the Monkees’ sitcom was very reminiscent of the film A Hard Day’s Night.
What some Beatles fans might not know is that the Monkees recorded a song about the Fab Four. The song was written as a simple stream-of-consciousness. However, it caused some controversy at the Monkees’ record label.
How partying with the Beatles inspired ‘Randy Scouse Git’
There’s a popular misconception that the Monkees had no creative input in their own work. Micky Dolenz did plenty of songwriting for his band. According to the book The Beatles, partying with the Beatles inspired him to write a song called “Randy Scouse Git.” Mental Floss reports “Randy Scouse Git” was the first song Dolenz wrote for his band.
Dolenz told Rolling Stone “I wrote ‘Randy Scouse Git’ when we went to England on tour. The Beatles threw us a party at a very famous nightclub, and the Stones were there and all sorts of other people. The morning after I was sitting in my room with a guitar and I wrote the song stream-of-conscious.”
The song features references to both the Beatles and a sitcom called Till Death Us Do Part. “The ‘four kings of EMI’ [mentioned in the lyrics] are the Beatles, of course. I was watching an English television show called Till Death Us Do Part, which became All In The Family over here years later. The father figure calls the young [son] a ‘randy scouse git.’ I didn’t know what it meant, but in my frame of mind I just thought, ‘Whoa, that’s really cool, man. I’m gonna call my song that.’”
Why the song upset one of the Monkees’ producers
The Beatles were known for being provocative on occasion. The Monkees weren’t as edgy — although their film Head has a satiric bite. However, Dolenz unknowingly wrote something provocative when he wrote “Randy Scouse Git.”
Dolenz didn’t know what the phrase “randy scouse git” meant but others certainly did. Dolenz would later say the phrase means “horny, Liverpudlian jerk.” His boss, Ward Sylvester, said it means “oversexed, illegitimate son of a prostitute from Liverpool.” The Liverpool connection is fitting, as the Beatles — one of the inspirations behind the song — were all from Liverpool.
According to the book Long Title: Looking for the Good Times; Examining the Monkees’ Songs, One by One, saying “randy scouse git” is considered impolite. Its use as a title contrasted with the Monkees’ wholesome image that was designed to please younger fans. Sylvester did not like that contrast.
He sent Dolenz a letter decrying the title. He wanted the song’s title changed for both its American and British releases but he was particularly concerned with changing the song’s title in Britain. After learning the song needed an alternate title, Dolenz decided the song should be called “Alternate Title” in England. It retained its original title in the United States.