Michael Nesmith and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees will embark on their farewell tour in September 2021. Commemorating 55 years of Monkeemania, the tour will embrace major markets in North America through the fall, launching on September 11 in Seattle and ending back where it all began in Los Angeles at The Greek Theater on November 14. Their critically acclaimed concerts feature the voice of 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, 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).
“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 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, in the midst of a new burst of Monkeemania, 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’m 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 ’60s gave way to the ’70s, 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’s 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 passings 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.