To their credit, the band later played with the prefab nature of their image; the song "Ditty Diego - War Chant" from their trippy 1968 film Head parodies their famous theme song with lines like:
Hey, hey, we're The Monkees
You know we love to pleaseWith no philosophies.
A manufactured image
While the fictional version of the band was a struggling, small-time Los Angeles band that never had any success, the Monkees became a real band in the real world, with several top 40 hits. They took control of their music by ousting producer Don Kirshner in 1967. They produced three albums as a cohesive unit, Headquarters (1967), Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (1967) and The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees (1968). The other post-Kirshner albums were less "group oriented", but no more so than later Beatles albums. Eventually the show was cancelled, the hits stopped coming, Peter and then Mike left, and the two remaining Monkees gave up the ghost in 1970.
In 1986, MTV celebrated the Monkees' 20th anniversary by rerunning the TV series, causing the "Pre-Fab Four" to become popular all over again; they've toured and recorded sporadically ever since. Various versions of the band have released three reunion albums. Pool It! in 1987 featured three members (Mike sat this one out). On the 1996 album Justus, the four Monkees wrote and performed all the material with no outside help, for the first and only time (Davy died in 2012). Good Times!, which commemorated the band's 50th anniversary in 2016, was mostly Micky and Peter collaborating with big name fans like Weezer's Rivers Cuomo and XTC's Andy Partridge, who wrote songs for the project; Mike appeared on a few tracks, and Davy made a posthumous appearance on "Love to Love", which was recorded in 1967.
- The Monkees (1966)
- More of The Monkees (1967)
- Headquarters (1967)
- Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (1967)
- The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees (1968)
- Head (1968)
- Instant Replay (1969)
- The Monkees Present (1969)
- Changes (1970)
- Pool It! (1987)
- Justus (1996)
- Good Times! (2016)