Monday, January 21, 2008

“Oh, What Can It Mean”

Loath as I am to admit this sometimes, I am old enough to have been a fan of The Monkees as a kid. I watched that quartet’s campy but often amusing TV series during its entire 1966-1968 run, and--in a not-infrequent moment of nostalgia--quietly bought a CD collection of the group’s greatest hits a few years back, despite my wife’s noticeable eye-rolling. What can I say? The Monkees’ music brings back fond memories.

So I was sad to read that John Stewart, a singer-songwriter and onetime member of the Kingston Trio, died over this last weekend at age 68. What does that have to do with The Monkees? Well, Stewart wrote the group’s last big hit, an endearing number called “Daydream Believer.” As Wikipedia recalls:
All four Monkees appear on this track, with Michael Nesmith on lead guitar, Peter Tork on piano (he also came up with the arrangement), and Micky Dolenz on backing vocals. [Lead vocalist] Davy Jones wasn’t sure of the song’s potential at first, and admitted later that he’d recorded the vocal with a hint of annoyance, at the ongoing takes. His feelings changed when the song became a hit.
I was too young to really appreciate the fact, when this song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late 1967. However, the piece’s chorus line, “Cheer up, sleepy Jean,” stuck firmly in my head, and I often quoted it during my college years, when I knew a very lovely but rather troubled young woman from California named Jean, of whom I was quite fond--but who has since disappeared from my life. So with all of these memories crowding my brain today, allow me to conclude this post with The Monkees’ own rendition of “Daydream Believer,” which was put together as a concluding piece for one of their show’s episodes:

(Hat tip to Johnny LaRue’s Crane Shot.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad. My taste runs to the Kinks, Beatles, Doors and Ramones but, hey hey, the Monkees had some great pop songs. Day Dream Believer for one. I'm a Believer and Valerie for others. I suspect there are a lot of us closet Monkees fans.