The Monkees were best known for some of the greatest pop music songs in recorded history. Many of these tunes made it onto their two-season television series, The Monkees. These tunes have become music classics. However, there is a little-known history behind some of these iconic tunes. Did you know one of Mike Nesmith‘s most beloved songs was misspelled in the show’s credits?
‘The Monkees’ television show featured the band’s music
The music of The Monkees was carefully interwoven into the television show.
This concept was not new in the industry.
Elvis Presley and The Beatles successfully married the two to promote new songs in the movies.
However, The Monkees television show seamlessly blended the elements of television and music. It created a unique promotional dynamic new to the small-screen.
Their music achieved a lasting cultural impact. The television show was more than just a vehicle geared at teenagers.
According to Biography, television producer Bob Rafelson wanted to create a show based on his experiences as a musician. He sold the concept for The Monkees in 1965 and needed a rock band to make the show work.
Producers hired two experienced musicians, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith, as cast members. Professional actors Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz joined Nesmith.
The result was a group of performers who worked well together. They created a real band from the fabricated images on network television.
One of Mike Nesmith’s most beloved Monkees songs was misspelled in the song’s credits
Mike Nesmith penned “Papa Gene’s Blues” for the band’s first album, which made its debut in 1966.
Subsequently, in his book “Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff” Nesmith said he was allowed to write two songs for the band’s self-titled first album.
“I recorded some music for the show, ‘Papa Gene’s Blues’ and ‘The Kind of Girl I Could Love,'” Nesmith said.
“I was told they’d up them in the show and on the record,” Nesmith wrote.
“Grateful and happy I was. But, I was also wary and disconcerted. I heard the songs in my head differently from the way the session guys played them. I had no idea how to convey my musical ideas to them. The arrangements drifted into what the session guys intuitively knew,” he concluded.
However, the finished song would have a significant gaffe upon the release of the episode “Monkees in a Ghost Town.”
Additionally, this was the seventh installment in the series’ first season.
It read “Papa Jean’s Blues” in the credits.
The song was also misspelled on early pressings of the album, reported The Monkees Wiki.
“Papa Gene” was Gene Ashman, the costume designer/wardrobe person for The Monkees TV show, among others. Ashman designed the six-button shirts The Monkees wore in the show’s first season.
Consequently, the song became a fan favorite. Nesmith performed it on tour with Micky Dolenz during “The Mike & Micky Show” in the months before his December 2021 death.
Nesmith took some sage advice regarding his pop music stardom from Davy Jones
Mike Nesmith found himself in a standoff for creative control of music featured on The Monkees. He wanted to do more than act and sing the songs written for the series.
During this tense period in The Monkees’ history, Nesmith said Davy Jones tried to keep the peace by reminding his co-star NBC hired them to do a job. Despite Jones’ words, Nesmith didn’t see it that way.
Furthermore, “David continually admonished me to calm down and do what I was told,” Nesmith told Rolling Stone.
“His advice was to approach the show like a job, do my best, shut up, take the money and go home.”