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Today saw the first broadcast of The Monkees, NBC’s TV series about the comic adventures and misadventures of a Beatles-like rock band. It was a massive hit.

The “Prefab Four,” as they would become known, had been assembled in Los Angeles by director Bob Rafelson and producer Bert Schneider (Stephen Stills, apparently, auditioned and was rejected). Only one of the four, Davy Jones, was British. Legend has it that Monkee Jones prompted musician David Robert Jones to abandon his birth name, but he had been going by Bowie for almost a year by now, so that may not be the case.

The Monkees’ music, at least initially, was actually played by anonymous studio musicians under the supervision of Don Kirshner, later of Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and Paul-Shaffer-SNL-imitation fame. Contributing songwriters included Neil Diamond, Carole King, and Neil Sedaka.

It speaks volumes about the weird world we live in that Wikipedia’s short bio of the Monkees concludes thusly:

The Monkees have sold more than 75 million records worldwide and had international hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Daydream Believer” and “I’m a Believer.” At their peak in 1967, the band outsold The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.