If you grew up a fan of The Monkees, then you might think you know everything there is to know about the band.
You may know that 45 years ago, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith were brought together for a TV show inspired by The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night." Sure, you may know that Nesmith, who isn't part of this cross-country, 45th anniversary tour, had the idea that spawned MTV or that his mom, Bette Nesmith Graham, invented Liquid Paper. And you may even know that Neil Diamond wrote the band's greatest hit "I'm a Believer," which stayed at No. 1 for seven weeks.
But there are still a few things you may not know about The Monkees -- who play the Beacon Theatre on Thursday and the NYCB Theatre at Westbury on Friday.
The band has an FBI file. The agency, which recently made files available online at vault.fbi.gov, is known for keeping an eye on politically active performers, from folk singer Phil Ochs to John Lennon. But The Monkees? Really? Yup. The heavily redacted file details the band's activities for three months in 1967 and describes them as "four young men [who] dress as 'beatnik types' " that perform as a "combo" in front of a screen during concerts. The file notes that during shows "subliminal messages were depicted on the screen, which in the opinion of [redacted] constituted 'left-wing innovations of a political nature.' " What where those "innovations"? Images of anti-war protests and riots at Berkeley and Selma, Ala.
Hip-hop artists love to sample their songs. Probably the most well-known sample is Run D.M.C.'s "Mary, Mary," which was inspired by The Monkees' own "Mary, Mary." Perhaps not as widely known is that local hip-hop legends De La Soul also sampled The Monkee's version on "Change in Speak," from the classic 1989 album "Three Feet High and Rising." Del Tha Funkee Homosapien created his hit "Mistadobalina" based on a sample from The Monkee's trippy spoken-word track "Zilch."
Their theme song never made the charts. The Monkees had six Top 5 singles (three of them reached No. 1), but what may arguably be the band's most hummable tune, "(Theme from) The Monkees," never cracked the charts in the United States.
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WHO The Monkees
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Thursday, Beacon Theatre, 2124 Broadway
INFO $49.50-$149.50; 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com
WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday, NYCB Theatre at Westbury
BONUS A second Westbury show has been added for Aug. 26. Tickets, $40-$50, now on sale at livenation.com