Listen to the Band: the Monkees psychedelic wonderland

I’m feeling psychedelic today, and we’ve already had a jolt of fake sixties stuff, so let’s wash that down with this, the real thing: the Monkees performing Listen to the Band (written by Mike Nesmith, who was always shamefully underrated, right up until the time he made his first hundred million dollars). Nine minutes of lysergic insanity, from the heart of the Sixties. Vicus, I don’t care if you’re on dialup: borrow someone else’s connection and watch this, dammit!

And if you like that, you might also enjoy this version of “She Hangs Out with mutated Monkees visuals and Bleat performing the song. BoingBoing didn’t take it, but by god it beats those lame-o “Recycling from the Haunted Mansion!!!!” posts of theirs into the ground!

The Monkees sing “Listen to the Band“, which eventually turns into a psychedelic freak-out (with Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, and more)! Gets pretty weird near the middle and end, but overall still really cool!

Lyrics over the jump:

Hey, hey, mercy woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

Play the drum a little louder,
Tell me I can live without her
If I only listen to the band.

Listen to the band!

Weren’t they good, they made me happy.
I think I can make it alone.

Oh, mercy woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

Play the drum a little bit louder,
Tell them they can live without her
If they only listen to the band.

Listen to the band!

Now weren’t they good, they made me happy.
I think I can make it alone.

Oh, woman plays a song and no one listens,
I need help I’m falling again.

Cmon, play the drums just a little bit louder,
Tell us we can live without her
Now that we have listened to the band.

Listen to the band!

11 thoughts on “Listen to the Band: the Monkees psychedelic wonderland

  1. I agree, Nesmith was under-appreciated. Hell, he produced my favourite good-bad movie of all time, Tapeheads (plus of course, has a cameo in it).

    Would have liked to go to that party though…

  2. I have heard that he wrote this song in answer to the many people who thought they were
    not playing and singing on their recordings.

  3. That would make sense. Both he and Peter had serious pro-level chops. Davy of course can sing and Mickey picked up the drums just fine and has a nice voice to boot.

    I also heard that the producers didn’t want them to do their own instruments, because that’s not how the machine was supposed to function; the boys were not supposed to be able to play without the studio’s assistance. It made them dangerously independent.

  4. You are right, not allowing them at first to play instruments….but it was due to time constraints that Rafelson and others knew would be put on the 4 of them. Filming for a television show, then going to the studio to dub vocals onto songs, participating in interviews and articles with Tiger Beat and other teen magazines at the time, and then practicing/rehearsing to be able to pull it off on a tour….the tv show’s creators/producers knew it would be near impossible, and it was, though they did it, lol. Mike and Peter especially, in the naievete of youth, wanted so bad to be more involved in the musical end of it. Their reasoning was that if their name is on the record AS a musical entity, then they should have the input! Hence, the firing of Don Kirshner, and the album Headquarters.

    But come time to do the next lp, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd., the guys began to revert to the original way of making their lp’s. They saw that it WAS too much time involved. And without Kirshner, (what was it he was called? A golden ear or something?), they began their musical descent.

    The words Mike wrote in Listen To The Band, ‘weren’t they good they made me happy, I think I can make it alone’ are what he thought of the whole thing, and these words also expressed his desire to be out of the band.

  5. Wow, trippy. I grew up watching their show, and had their first two albums by the time I was 8 (1967) but this video shows how badly they got left behind during the psychedelic latter Sixties. “We’re still relevant, honest we are!” with the acid graphics and Joplin-style wailing in the background.

    Nesmith became the godfather of music videos, producing the first ones years before anyone else had thought of it. IMHO he was the only one with substantial musical talent.

  6. Great analysis and info, Rachael. Creatrix, you’ve gotta remember that Peter actually ended up teaching the music of the Far East at a prep school; he wasn’t bad. Nowadays, he’s a party rat and paparazzo in NYC, of all things. I heard Davy became a breeder of racehorses on Vancouver Island, but I’ve never met anyone who has known him there…maybe I’m just not pumping my friends that hard…there can’t be that many breeding farms in between the mountains and the sea.

    But yeah, I do feel smug that Mike was always my favorite. It’s like I knew somehow…the audition tape is also on the blog, and it is hilarious. He has that interviewer cowering against the walls in no time flat!

  7. the Monkees part is fine but the others, julie and Brian etc scare me that they thought thats what the public wanted? yikes!

  8. Davy lives between houses in FL and PA and England.Peter Has a band called shoe sueded blues and plays in various places in US and England. MIcky was recently in Pippinand was married a few yrs ago for the 3rd time. they all have websites if you are interested!

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