The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith Said 1 Movie Was the Group’s ‘Swan Song’

TL;DR:

  • The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith said the group’s only movie was “inevitable.”
  • He said it was the only sort of movie about the Prefab Four that could have been made at the time.
  • One of the songs from the movie’s soundtrack became a hit.
Mike Nesmith of The Monkees wearing a hat
The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith | Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer

On television, The Monkees were a major force but they only released one theatrical movie. The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith said the movie came out at a time in the 1960s when the group was a “pariah.” He also revealed his thoughts about the film.

The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith said the band was ‘basically over’ when they made their only theatrical movie

In 1968, The Monkees released Head, a surrealist film that mocked their bubblegum image. It was a far cry from the band’s family-friendly sitcom. During a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, Nesmith was asked if Head was a mistake. “Looking back it was inevitable.” he opined. “Don’t forget that by the time Head came out The Monkees were a pariah. There was no confusion about this.

“We were on the cosine of the line of approbation, from acceptance to rejection — the cause for this is another discussion not for here — and it was basically over,” Nesmith added. “Head was a swan song.”

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Mike Nesmith said the movie might have looked like ‘suicide’ for the Prefab Four

Nesmith discussed how Jack Nicholson and Monkees creator Bob Rafelson helped make the film. “We wrote it with Jack and Bob — another story not for here — and we liked it,” he said. “It was an authentic representation of a phenomenon we were a part of that was winding down. It was very far from suicide — even though it may have looked like that.” 

Nesmith recalled the critical reaction to Head. “There were some people in power, and not a few critics, who thought there was another decision that could have been made,” he remembered. “But I believe the movie was an inevitability — there was no other movie to be made that would not have been ghastly under the circumstances.”

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How The Monkees’ ‘Head’ soundtrack and its single ‘Porpoise Song’ performed in the United States and the United Kingdom

The soundtrack from Head became a modest hit in the United States. It peaked at No. 45 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 15 weeks. The album was far less popular than the band’s previous releases. “Porpoise Song” from Head reached No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 and lasted six weeks on the chart.

The music of Head was far less popular in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the Head soundtrack did not chart there and neither did “Porpoise Song.”

Head wasn’t a juggernaut — but Nesmith appreciated it.

RELATED: The Beatles ‘A Day in the Life’: The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith on Watching the Fab Four Record the Song

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