Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Rant #376: Hey, Hey, They May Be Back
In 1966, a TV-concocted rock group revolutionized both prime time television and the record charts with their mix of rock chops and humor. They became the biggest rock act in the world, and although their show lasted just two full seasons--along with delivering a misunderstood movie and TV special--their legacy has been tremendous.
Flash forward to 1986. The young MTV network, hungry for programming that went beyond the typical three-minute video, programmed the original half hour show, and it became a hit with a new generation of young fans. Three of the original four band members reformed, had a hit single and album, and led the most prosperous concert tour of the year.
Well, it's almost 2011, and hey, hey, it's the Monkees all over again.
Reports are that Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz will once again rejoin as the three-quarter Monkees for a tour in the new year, without, of course, Mike Nesmith, who if he decided to come on board, would probably make this the biggest and most anticipated tour in 2011.
Without him, it's just the three cogs in a four-cog wheel, but it's still impressive.
Why get back together now? The threesome had been successful in a number of tours since 1986, and even recorded two albums--one with Nesmith--of new material since that fabled re-launch.
They have had their differences in the past, and each has forged a solo career singing old hits and incorporating new music into their shows.
But the number 45 has become a very important number in pop culture recently.
No, its not just the speed we played those wonderful singles at on our phonographs. It goes way beyond that.
It seems that the number 45 is important because it sets the stage for the number 50.
Let me explain.
With CD and DVD sales slowing, entertainment companies have tried to come up with a new angle for their classic releases, and the number 45 is that angle.
When a classic movie or album or act hits the number 45, companies release product to celebrate that anniversary. Just this year, "The Sound of Music" was re-released for the umpteenth time, but as a 45th anniversary release. This time, the pull beyond seeing the great movie again is that all the living members of the cast are involved in the promotion of this gem ... and it will certainly lead to another re-release on the 50th anniversary of this movie's debut in 2016.
What I am trying to say is that the 45th lays the groundwork for the 50th, and helps to build a groundswell of anticipation for the 50th.
And that is why the Monkees, or at least three of them, hope to reform in 2011.
The new year is the 45th anniversary of the show's debut, their first album's debut, and their first single's debut.
To provide steam for the 50th, in today's market, you have to promote the 45th.
So that is what they hope to do, if all the pieces fall together the right way.
The Monkees, however, have something else in their favor as they go into this.
Rhino Records has taken great care with their wide and expansive catalog, and has been releasing deluxe editions of each of their LPs with bonus tracks and premium packaging for the past few years. They have been good sellers, but the penultimate Monkees re-release came out just a few weeks ago...
The deluxe re-release of the "Head" soundtrack, followed by the re-release, on both DVD and Blu-ray, of the film of the same title.
This has sparked so much interest, and been so well received, that the soundtrack found its way into the Top 20 of Billboard's top soundtrack chart--and at $60 a pop, and with "Glee" fever all around, this is no small feat.
So this is clearly the time for the threesome to get together, to mine as much public adoration--and money--as they can. There is clearly no better time to do this, and it creates traction for the 50th anniversary in 2016.
Maybe even ol' Wool Hat will come on board by that time, who knows.
So full speed ahead, boys, the Monkees are reportedly back ...
And you thought the reunion of New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys was something!
Posted by Larry at 3:20 AM