Why The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Didn’t Understand the Band’s Impact Until 1986


  • The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz felt disconnected from his fame in the 1960s.
  • He didn’t grasp the cultural impact of the Prefab Four until 1986.
  • That year, the group impacted the pop charts in the United States for the first time since 1970.
The Monkees' Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, and Peter Tork at a piano
The Monkees’ Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, and Peter Tork | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The Monkees‘ Micky Dolenz starred in a television show before The Monkees. He said the Prefab Four were a far bigger phenomenon than his earlier show. Despite this, Dolenz said he didn’t understand his group’s impact until 1986.

The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz discussed his group’s ‘enormous workload’

During a 2012 interview with Music Radar, Dolenz was asked what it was like to be a big star in the 1960s. “From my point of view, and I can only speak for myself — you might get a different answer from Mike and Peter, and you might have from David also — I was rather isolated and secluded from it,” he said. 

Dolenz elaborated on why he felt distant from his own stardom. “First of all, the workload was enormous,” he recalled. “We were rehearsing the television show 10 hours a day and then rehearsing for the tour and recording at night — that went on for a couple of years.”

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Micky Dolenz said starring on the show ‘Circus Boy’ didn’t prepare him for the Prefab Four

Dolenz said he had some television experience prior to the Prefab Four, as he starred in the 1950s show Circus Boy. “By the time The Monkees came along, I knew the score,” he revealed. “But nothing could have prepared me for what happened with The Monkees. That whole phenomenon really only lasted a couple of years.” 

Dolenz discussed his subsequent career. “Then I went to England and was producing and directing television shows,” he said. “It wasn’t until 1986, when I came back for the reunion tour, that I realized the impact The Monkees had on the cultural landscape.”

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How The Monkees’ ‘That Was Then, This Is Now’ performed on the charts in 1986

In 1986, the band released the single “That Was Then, This Is Now.” It reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 14 weeks. It was their first song to chart in the United States since “Oh My My” in 1970. The song appeared on the compilation album Then & Now… The Best of The Monkees. The compilation hit No. 21 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 34 weeks.

The Official Charts Company reports “That Was Then, This Is Now” was a more modest hit in the United Kingdom. There, the song reached No. 68 and lasted four weeks on the chart. Meanwhile, Then & Now… The Best of The Monkees did not chart in the U.K.

1986 was a big year for The Monkees and — it helped Dolenz realize how much the Prefab Four mattered.

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