The Monkees Farewell Tour With Michael Nesmith & Micky Dolenz will visit Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on October 13th at 8 p.m. Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees will embark on their farewell tour beginning in September. Commemorating 55-years of Monkeemania, the tour will embrace major markets in North America through the fall. Their critically acclaimed concerts feature the voice of Micky Dolenz (who sang The Monkees’ biggest hits: I’m A Believer, Last Train to Clarksville, Pleasant Valley Sunday and (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone) and the group’s primary songwriter, Michael Nesmith (who wrote such classics as Mary, Mary, Papa Gene’s Blues, You Just May Be the One and Listen to The Band to name but a few).
This evening with The Monkees Farewell Tour, will feature songs that span the band’s entire career – from their 1966 self-titled debut album to 2016’s Good Times. Their most recent release – THE MONKEES –THE MIKE & MICKY SHOW LIVE – was issued in April 2020 and became their 17th Billboard charting album release. In addition to their hits, their farewell shows will spotlight songs featured on their Emmy®-winning TV series (The Girl I Knew Somewhere, You Told Me, Randy Scouse Git, Goin’ Down and For Pete’s Sake) as well as music from their feature film Head (Circle Sky and As We Go Along). Plus, some rarely performed deep cuts (such as Auntie’s Municipal Court) and tracks from their most-recent studio album, 2016’s Good Times (Me & Magdelena and Birth of An Accidental Hipster).
This Monkees Farewell Tour will mark the end of a unique project that began in 1965 when four young men were cast in a television show about a struggling rock band that was inspired by the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. Few could have predicted the impact the Monkees would have on music and pop culture at large, one that still reverberates more than 50 years later.
Formed in Los Angeles for the eponymous television series, the quartet of Dolenz, Nesmith, the late Peter Tork and the late Davy Jones brought a singular mix of pop, rock, psychedelia, Broadway, and country to their music. The Monkees’ first single, Last Train to Clarksville, was released in August 1966 and quickly headed for the top spot of the Billboard charts in tandem with the band’s self-titled debut album, which held the top slot for 13 of the 78 weeks it remained in the Top 200. (Two decades later, during a new burst of Monkee-mania, The Monkees popped back onto the charts, bringing the total number of weeks to 102.)
By the time the series aired its final new episode on March 25, 1968, the Monkees had seen three further albums top the charts — More of the Monkees, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. All were released in 1967, staggeringly enough, racking up several more hit singles, with I am A Believer, (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone, A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You, The Girl I Knew Somewhere, Pleasant Valley Sunday, Words, Daydream Believer, Valleri and Tapioca Tundra all finding their way into the Billboard Top 40. The final tally: 16 million albums and 7.5 million singles sold in a mere 2 1/2 years.
After the series’ two-season run, the group went on to star in the cult feature film, Head (co-written by Jack Nicholson) and a TV special (33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee) while also continuing to record new material. But as the 60’s gave way to the 70’s, the members of the Monkees eventually gave in to their individual musical interests and went their separate ways.
In February 1986, after MTV broadcast a marathon of The Monkees series, Dolenz, Jones, and Tork reunited for a 20th anniversary tour, with Nesmith joining them onstage for the Los Angeles date of the tour. In 1996, all four members of the group reunited for a new album (Justus) and TV special (Hey, Hey, it is the Monkees). In the wake of Jones’s death on February 12, 2012, the surviving members of the Monkees reunited and performed a series of concerts. The shows were received so triumphantly that Dolenz, Nesmith, and Tork returned the following summer for a tour dubbed, A Midsummer’s Night with the Monkees.
To celebrate the Monkees’ 50th anniversary in 2016, the surviving members of the band recorded the critically acclaimed album Good Times (produced by the late Adam Schlesinger). Much like the Monkees’ early albums, it featured tracks written for the band by a group of gifted songwriters, including Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Rivers Cuomo (Weezer), Andy Partridge (XTC) and more. Following the passing of Davy Jones and Peter Tork (who succumbed to cancer in 2019), Michael & Micky have honored the music and the memory of The Monkees onstage.
More Interesting Background on Micky Dolenz:
Dolenz began his show-business career in 1956 when he starred in a children’s TV show called Circus Boy under the name Mickey Braddock. He played Corky, an orphaned water boy for the elephants in a one-ring circus at the start of the 20th century. The program ran for two seasons, after which Dolenz made sporadic appearances on network television shows and pursued his education. Dolenz went to Ulysses S. Grant High School in Valley Glen, Los Angeles, California, and graduated in 1962. In 1964, he was cast as Ed in the episode “Born of Kings and Angels” of the NBC education drama series Mr. Novak, starring James Franciscus as an idealistic Los Angeles teacher. Dolenz was attending college in Los Angeles when he was hired for the “drummer” role in NBC’s The Monkees.
Dolenz originally had his own rock group called “Micky and the One-Nighters” in the early- to mid-1960’s with himself as lead singer. He had already begun writing his own songs. According to Dolenz, his band’s live stage act included rock songs, cover songs, and even some R&B, one of his favorite songs to sing being Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode”. “Johnny B. Goode” was the song Dolenz sang at his Monkees audition, resulting in his being hired. He cut two 45’s in 1965 that went unreleased until the Monkees’ success in 1967. Those two 45’s came out on the Challenge label and the songs were “Don’t Do It”/”Plastic Symphony III” and “Huff Puff”/”Fate (Big Ben)”. Neither B-side on the Challenge 45’s is by Dolenz, but rather a band later credited as The Obvious.
More on Michael Nesmith
Michael Nesmith Unique Background: Nesmith was born in Houston, Texas, in 1942. He is an only child; his parents Warren and Bette Nesmith (née McMurray) divorced when he was four. His mother married Robert Graham in 1962, and they remained married until 1975. Nesmith and his mother moved to Dallas to be closer to her family. She took temporary jobs ranging from clerical work to graphic design, eventually attaining the position of executive secretary at Texas Bank and Trust. When Nesmith was 13, his mother invented the typewriter correction fluid known commercially as Liquid Paper. Over the next 25 years, she built the Liquid Paper Corporation into a multimillion-dollar international company, which she sold to Gillette in 1979 for $48 million. She died a few months later at age 56.
Nesmith participated in choral and drama activities at Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas, but he enlisted in the Air Force in 1960 without graduating. He completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, was trained as an aircraft mechanic at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, and then was permanently stationed at the Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base near Burns Flat, Oklahoma. He obtained a GED certificate and was honorably discharged in 1962. He enrolled in San Antonio College, where he met John Kuehne and began a musical collaboration. They won the first San Antonio College talent award, performing a mixture of standard folk songs and a few of Nesmith’s original songs. Nesmith began to write more songs and poetry, then he moved to Los Angeles and began singing in folk clubs around the city. He served as the “Hootmaster” for the Monday night hootenanny at The Troubadour, a West Hollywood nightclub that featured new artists.
Tickets priced at $102.50, $72.50 and $52.50 are available by visiting www.RuthEckerdHall.com. Tickets may also be purchased by calling The Raymond James Central Ticket Office at Ruth Eckerd Hall at 727.791.7400, Tuesday through Saturday noon to 4 pm ONLY. The Raymond James Central Ticket Office will open one hour prior to show time.
More on Ruth Eckerd Hall:
Ruth Eckerd Hall was named #1 venue in Tampa, #3 in Florida, #4 in the United States and #5 in the world of theatre venues of 2,500 seats or less by industry trade publication Pollstar in 2019. Designed by the prestigious Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Ruth Eckerd Hall is known for its fantastic sightlines and near-perfect acoustics. As part of the Expanding the Experience, Ruth Eckerd Hall recently completed an $11 million renovation, which includes a stunning three-story floor to ceiling windows surrounding the new 6,000 square foot Grand Lobby, home to the Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton Cabaret Theatre and the Holt Family Stage. The members-only Hoffman Family Dress Circle Lounge has doubled in size, giving members a spectacular view and additional comfort, adjacent to the new Grand Lobby. In addition, patrons can enjoy enhanced food and beverage service, stunning décor including additional seating, custom acoustical and lighting features and a 34-foot, 5-inch-wide x 6-foot, 5-inch-tall video wall.
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