The Monkees: Made in Hollywood

Reaktion. Aug. 2023. 248p. ISBN 9781789147070. pap. $16. MUSIC
Kemper (“Toy Story”: A Critical Reading) astutely explains how the highly integrated music industry created, developed, and eventually abandoned the Monkees, the manufactured pop group who sold millions of records and had a smash TV sitcom that aired from 1966 to 1968. The book begins with the interrelated parts of the Los Angeles music business—the songwriters, producers, studios, radio stations, recording engineers, television executives, and marketers—who conceived the made-for-TV band. The book successfully shows how the group was cast by television executives who wanted to replicate the success of the zany Beatles films. Kemper isn’t as successful at linking the concept of the Monkees to the pop art movement and the new wave of French cinema, and he too often hammers on his main theme. Still, the book does a good job of depicting the top-flight songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, and Neil Diamond; many studio musicians, including Glen Campbell; and numerous producers, who helped shape the Monkees’ radio-friendly hits. The book ends with the implosion of the group by 1970.
VERDICT This work ably demonstrates how the well-oiled music machine in Los Angeles scored a short-lived megahit with their American answer to Beatlemania.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing