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Micky Dolenz was a member of the 1960s created-for-television rock group, The Monkees.
The Monkees - Full Episode (45:10)
Micky Dolenz of The Monkees talks about how the band went from television to music fame.
Hey, hey, it's the Monkees! Here's everything you ever wanted to know about the first of the manufactured bands that shocked the music industry in the 60s by generating a slew of hits.
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Singer, musician, actor, writer, producer, director. Born George Michael Dolenz on March 8, 1945, in Los Angeles, California. Dolenz grew up in Los Angeles as the son of actor George Dolenz, who is best known for playing the Count of Monte Cristo on television.
Mickey Dolenz launched his own acting career early on, taking the stage name Micky Braddock. From 1956 to 1958, he starred in the adventure series Circus Boy, playing an orphan adopted by a traveling circus. After the show was canceled, Dolenz landed a few guest appearances on such programs as Peyton Place. After high school, he studied architecture at Valley College and the Los Angeles Technical Institute. He also had a passion for music, playing the guitar and singing with two different groups—Micky and the One Nighters, and the Missing Links.
In 1965, Dolenz responded to an ad seeking young men for a new television show. He auditioned for the series, along with 430 other hopefuls. Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Dolenz were selected for the new television series about a rock group called the Monkees. Dolenz' character played the drums, an instrument that he was unfamiliar with. "We were a television show first, and then became a rock group. I was an actor playing a musician," Dolenz later explained.
Just days before the debut of the series, the Monkees released their first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," which featured Dolenz on lead vocals. The song soon became a No. 1 hit. Meant as an anti-war song, it was penned by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, songwriters and musicians who worked on the series.
The Monkees premiered on September 12, 1966, and it received a warm reception from television audiences who adored the humorous antics of the band. The show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1967. Dolenz also got a chance to work behind the scenes on the series as the director of one episode.
The Monkees continued to score hits on the music charts as well. Their cover of the Neil Diamond song "I'm a Believer," with Dolenz on lead vocals, became another No. 1 single for their group. More successful singles followed, including Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "Daydream Believer" by John Stewart of the Kingston Trio. Their albums sold millions of copies.
While their fans adored them, music critics were less than kind, criticizing them for being more of a commercial product than a real rock act. Dolenz and the rest of the group fought to gain more creative control, taking charge of their Headquarters album.
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In 1965, over 400 people responded to an ad seeking young men for a new television show about a rock group called The Monkees. The Monkees, starring Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork premiered on September 12, 1966, and audiences adored the humorous antics of the band. Though made for TV, The Monkees had real-life hits and struggled against their "Pre-Fab Four" image. Some of their best-loved and number one hits included Neil Diamond's "I'm a Believer" and "Last Train to Clarksville." More successful singles followed, including another Neil Diamond song, "Little Bit Me, Little Bit You," Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Pleasant Valley Sunday", and "Daydream Believer" by John Stewart of the Kingston Trio.
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