What Was Davy Jones’ Favorite Song by The Monkees?
The Monkees had several hits — however only one of them was Davy Jones’ favorite Prefab Four track. Interestingly, the legendary Carole King co-wrote the song, which contains some social commentary. This raises an interesting question: Did the public like this song as much as Jones did?
A Monkees song with some interesting social commentary
The Monkees aren’t generally known for socially conscious lyrics, but they did have quite a bit to say on weighty topics. Listen to the Prefab Four, and you’ll hear lyrics about the Vietnam War, intolerance, and materialism. One of their best songs is “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” a song written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin which is about the quiet desperation of suburbia. The song also highlights the materialism of some suburbanites.
When Patrick Prince interviewed The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz for Goldmine, Prince said “Pleasant Valley Sunday” “really speaks to our overview of society.” Dolenz replied “You’re right about the social commentary. Carole and Gerry were going to [Monkees manager] Don Kirshner’s house and they were on a street called ‘Pleasant Valley.’ That’s where they got the idea for the song, because it was an area that has green lawns and barbecues.” Interestingly, not everyone who heard the track saw its depiction of suburban life as negative.
Dolenz recalled speaking with a Monkees fan who found the song confusing. “[He] said he didn’t get ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’…. I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘Well, all my family, friends and everybody I knew would have given anything for that kind of a life!’ Just to have a barbecue and a lawn with a TV in every room.” Dolenz noted how people might interpret the song differently based on their class. Given that the message of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” didn’t always come across, did Dolenz like the song?
What members of The Monkees thought of ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’
“‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’ is one of my favorite songs and is still one of the great rock songs of all time,” Dolenz opined. “The sentiment in the song still plays to some degree, because it’s about not becoming complacent and taking things for granted.” In addition to Dolenz praising the song, The Hollywood Reporter says Jones liked it more than every other Monkees song. This raises the question: Did the public like “Pleasant Valley Sunday” as much as Dolenz and Jones?
How the public reacted to ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’
“Pleasant Valley Sunday” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was one of The Monkees’ biggest hits. However, the Prefab Four produced a few songs which were more popular. They produced three No. 1 singles, namely “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer,” and “Daydream Believer.” In addition, they released one No. 2 single: “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You.” While the public apparently liked “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” it was not their favorite Monkees song — even if it was Jones’ favorite Monkees song.
[Correction: An earlier version did not list Gerry Goffin as a “Pleasant Valley Sunday” songwriter.]