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How did The Monkees outsell The Beatles in 1967?
29 March 2016
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Bullion
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Came across this factoid and I'm intrigued to learn more about the specifics 

29 March 2016
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Necko
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Well, for one, the Monkees released more music in 1967 than the Beatles did.

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29 March 2016
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Necko said
Well, for one, the Monkees released more music in 1967 than the Beatles did.

And I’m sure their songs were much better than the dreary Sgt Pepper & MMT crap albums... ahdn_ringo_09

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Bongo said

Necko said
Well, for one, the Monkees released more music in 1967 than the Beatles did.

And I’m sure their songs were much better than the dreary Sgt Pepper & MMT crap albums... ahdn_ringo_09

Oh yes, a right snore, so they were. Not a bit culture-changing or even mildly entertaining. a-hard-days-night-paul-10 

a-hard-days-night-john-6

a-hard-days-night-george-10

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30 March 2016
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I found an article that might be useful for this discussion 

 

http://www.todayifoundout.com/.....s-monkees/

30 March 2016
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Okay, time for a proper response. a-hard-days-night-george-10

Firstly, @Bullion, your basic question is wrong. In fact, The Monkees outsold The Beatles in the US in both 1966 and 1967.

Why was this?

As @Necko suggested, they released more material during the time period. Four US albums in the time period against The Beatles three.

However, more complicated than that.

In 1966, US sales were obviously dented by the "Bigger than Jesus" controversy. As is said in The Rutles film, many fans burnt their albums, and many more burnt their fingers trying to burn their albums.

However, much of it is to do with what just how experimental The Beatles were during that time. It is hard for us that came after (ie. were born during the '60s or after) to realise just how revolutionary and strange their music during this time was for those growing up with it.

I was born in 1967, so those changes they made to what "pop" music could be are sounds that are normal to me. This is a part of the reason many younger fans favour the post-Help albums - in that those albums after created the basis of virtually everything since.

The Beatles got strange. Reasonably easy for those who were in their teens, whose younger siblings had screamed along with them at Ed Sullivan, to grow with as they were maturing and coming to terms with the conflicted country they were growing up in. For their younger siblings The Monkees provided a sound they were used to, but also appealing to them as it reminded them of the sound of the earlier Beatles.

So, while The Beatles lost many younger fans as they progressed, and gained many older fans, it's the youngsters that drive the charts. It's the bit of trying to understand an eight-year-old getting caught up in the exuberance of I Want To Hold Your Hand  and trying to understand Tomorrow Never Knows  when they're ten.

The Monkees were safe, The Beatles had got weird.

It's often difficult to understand how challenging their music became because it's a part of our DNA.

So The Monkees provided the music those younger siblings were used to, while it reminded those who were growing up with an echo of the sound they'd grown to know and love, so they captured two different audiences, while The Beatles lost part of theirs as they got more adventurous.

I'm not sure if I've explained well what I mean, let me know if you want me to explain more.

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30 March 2016
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Plus those are some fun Monkees songs and albums - I know I bought them all 🙂

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30 March 2016
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Ron Nasty said
Okay, time for a proper response. a-hard-days-night-george-10

Firstly, @Bullion, your basic question is wrong. In fact, The Monkees outsold The Beatles in the US in both 1966 and 1967.

Why was this?

As @Necko suggested, they released more material during the time period. Four US albums in the time period against The Beatles three.

However, more complicated than that.

In 1966, US sales were obviously dented by the "Bigger than Jesus" controversy. As is said in The Rutles film, many fans burnt their albums, and many more burnt their fingers trying to burn their albums.

However, much of it is to do with what just how experimental The Beatles were during that time. It is hard for us that came after (ie. were born during the '60s or after) to realise just how revolutionary and strange their music during this time was for those growing up with it.

I was born in 1967, so those changes they made to what "pop" music could be are sounds that are normal to me. This is a part of the reason many younger fans favour the post-Help albums - in that those albums after created the basis of virtually everything since.

The Beatles got strange. Reasonably easy for those who were in their teens, whose younger siblings had screamed along with them at Ed Sullivan, to grow with as they were maturing and coming to terms with the conflicted country they were growing up in. For their younger siblings The Monkees provided a sound they were used to, but also appealing to them as it reminded them of the sound of the earlier Beatles.

So, while The Beatles lost many younger fans as they progressed, and gained many older fans, it's the youngsters that drive the charts. It's the bit of trying to understand an eight-year-old getting caught up in the exuberance of I Want To Hold Your Hand  and trying to understand Tomorrow Never Knows  when they're ten.

The Monkees were safe, The Beatles had got weird.

It's often difficult to understand how challenging their music became because it's a part of our DNA.

So The Monkees provided the music those younger siblings were used to, while it reminded those who were growing up with an echo of the sound they'd grown to know and love, so they captured two different audiences, while The Beatles lost part of theirs as they got more adventurous.

I'm not sure if I've explained well what I mean, let me know if you want me to explain more.

That makes perfect sense. I've still got to watch The Monkees TV series 

I wonder if Apple Records' signing of The Iveys in 1968 was perhaps an attempt to recapture some of that audience that they had lost

30 March 2016
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^ I find the TV show is very variable - usually written for a very young audience and it shows. Most episodes have the odd enjoyable moment at worst, and some can be quite clever. I find the later episodes in Season 2 - when they started to gain a bit more creative input - much more interesting.

I have the lot on DVD and a number of their CDs. I am a fan of Mike Nesmith and saw him in concert in the 1980s and it was a great show - he had some of the best country session musicians at the time in his band and they were brilliant.

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30 March 2016
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don-w 

Great topic.

From Into the Sky with Diamonds (the book):

" ... Ironically, the Beatles didn’t have the best-selling album of 1967*. Nor the second, nor the third. The Monkees took the top two spots with The Monkees and More of the Monkees. Then, in successive order, came the soundtrack to Dr. Zhivago, The Temptations’ Greatest Hits, the soundtrack to A Man and a Woman , S.R.O. by trumpet-playing Herb Alpert, Whipped Cream (Herb Alpert again), and Going Places (Herb Alpert again again). Finally, rounding out the Top Ten was Sgt. Pepper ’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."

*in the U.S.

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30 March 2016
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
don-w 

Great topic.

From Into the Sky with Diamonds (the book):

" ... Ironically, the Beatles didn’t have the best-selling album of 1967*. Nor the second, nor the third. The Monkees took the top two spots with The Monkees and More of the Monkees. Then, in successive order, came the soundtrack to Dr. Zhivago, The Temptations’ Greatest Hits, the soundtrack to A Man and a Woman , S.R.O. by trumpet-playing Herb Alpert, Whipped Cream (Herb Alpert again), and Going Places (Herb Alpert again again). Finally, rounding out the Top Ten was Sgt. Pepper ’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."

*in the U.S.

How many albums did Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band sell in 1967?

31 March 2016
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trcanberra said
^ I find the TV show is very variable - usually written for a very young audience and it shows. Most episodes have the odd enjoyable moment at worst, and some can be quite clever. I find the later episodes in Season 2 - when they started to gain a bit more creative input - much more interesting.

I have the lot on DVD and a number of their CDs. I am a fan of Mike Nesmith and saw him in concert in the 1980s and it was a great show - he had some of the best country session musicians at the time in his band and they were brilliant.

Saw Davy with Pete and Micky the year before Davy passed, then the following year it was Mike with Pete and Micky so I've seen my Monkees. I was very young when the show debuted, like only a year old. Thanks to reruns I was immediately a fan. Davy stole my heart at age five. heart

Some of the eps are yeah,  better than others. My particular favorites are "The Devil and Peter Tork" and "Fairy Tale". 

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31 March 2016
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don-w 

Wikipedia: "With certified sales of 5.1 million copies, Sgt. Pepper  is the third-best-selling album in UK chart history.[284][285][286] Sgt. Pepper  is one of the most commercially successful albums in the US, where the RIAA certifies sales of 11 million copies.[287] It has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, making it one of the highest-selling albums of all time"

That said, I don't know how many were sold in 1967. Most certainly on line somewhere!

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9 May 2016
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Don't forget Sgt Pepper was unavailable for the first five months of 1967, so that would have reduced the sales figures. The Monkees (their debut album) came out in October 1966, and the follow-up was in January 67. Dr Zhivago was released in 1965, as was Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream and Going Places (SRO was 1966).

It's interesting. Sometimes the big blockbuster albums can dwarf the end-of-year bestseller lists even if they're released just before Christmas (ie with limited sales time). That doesn't seem to have happened in the 60s – certainly in the US, where things were more slow-burning. You might even have expected two-year-old releases to have run out of steam, but no. Maybe it just took people a long time to walk to the record stores in those days. Or perhaps Sgt Pepper suffered from not having a 7" taken from it – there's no obvious 'should-have-been-a-single' sure-fire radio hit.

For what it's worth, Sgt Pepper was the best-selling album of that year in the UK. Wikipedia says it sold 750,000 copies, but that seems quite low in the era of million-selling singles.

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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
don-w 

Great topic.

From Into the Sky with Diamonds (the book):

" ... Ironically, the Beatles didn’t have the best-selling album of 1967*. Nor the second, nor the third. The Monkees took the top two spots with The Monkees and More of the Monkees. Then, in successive order, came the soundtrack to Dr. Zhivago, The Temptations’ Greatest Hits, the soundtrack to A Man and a Woman , S.R.O. by trumpet-playing Herb Alpert, Whipped Cream (Herb Alpert again), and Going Places (Herb Alpert again again). Finally, rounding out the Top Ten was Sgt. Pepper ’s Lonely Hearts Club Band."

*in the U.S.  

Notable that Headquarters, Monkees lp #3 and the one where they conributed instrumentation on each track, isn't in that top ten. It was released a few weeks before SP,  and likewise had no singles to boost sales. I think it only spent a single week at the top.

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vonbontee said

Notable that Headquarters, Monkees lp #3 and the one where they conributed instrumentation on each track, isn't in that top ten. It was released a few weeks before SP,  and likewise had no singles to boost sales. I think it only spent a single week at the top.  

I believe it was. The Beatles and The Monkees were my two favourite bands when I was young. I was disappointed to find out that Pepper knocked Headquarters off of the top spot. I kind of wished The Monkees had released Headquarters a few months later. Kind of weird thing for a kid to think thirty years after the albums had been released.

The Beatles and The Monkees actually met. Mike Nesmith can be seen in the promotional video for A Day In The Life and Micky was invited to a recording session Good Morning Good Morning which inspired Micky to cover the song for his Remember album, Peter played Banjo on George Harrison 's Wonderwall album and Micky partied with John during his lost weekend. 

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Not sure if this counts as being directly related to why The Monkees outsold The Beatles, but nevertheless still interesting about their places on the UK Album Charts:

Here in the UK, the soundtrack album to The Sound Of Music nonconsecutively held the number one spot on the Album Charts for three years (from 5 June 1965 until 30 November 1968) and was the biggest selling album in 1965, 1966, and 1968. It's run at the number one spot on the Album Charts was interrupted by four of the five Beatles releases in that period and two of the five Monkees releases in that time period.

Screenshot_2017-08-14-11-17-31_kindlephoto-2601029.jpgImage Enlarger

Quite surprised to discover The White Album only peaked at #2, and that the three albums where The Monkees still had their full lineup and were at their most self-contained as a band (Headquarters, PAC&J, The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees (as well as Justus in 1997)) didn't make #1. (Headquarters did reach #2, and The Monkees Present did reach #1, but that album was after Peter left.) But then again, the TV series and the movie Head weren't released over here until a lot later, so there wasn't as much promotion or frenzy here as there was in America at the time.

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Just to butt in slightly off-topic: The Sound of Music is such a great movie. It's hard to believe that was filmed in the year the Beatles started their evolution from Beatlemania to more sophisticated music.

I do wonder why The Monkees are almost unheard of these days in Australia. For such a successful band how well and truly challenged The Beatles, how come they are virtually non-existent?

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14 August 2017
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@The Hole Got Fixed 

The Doppler effect of history!

Hard to be remembered down the road.

In the music world, it helps to keep putting out music and touring (McCartney, Stones, Dylan, P Simon,...) or an untimely death (Lennon, Doors).

How many people in Australia remember the Lovin' Spoonful?

At the end of the day, the Monkees were just actors pretending to be a band (albeit a band with great writers). At the end of the TV show, the actors went their own way...

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I doubt anyone can remember the Lovin' Spoonful. I've never heard them!

Thanks for that explanation, it makes a fair bit of sense. 

Oh, by the way, this post was made by The Hole Got Fixed!

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