Specifically, a gang of the finest songwriters, producers, arrangers, session musicians, with four very talented vocalists in the spotlight – some of whom were more adept at playing instruments and songwriting than the other spotlight vocalist(s) colleagues. That’s my polite way of saying Mike Nesmith is absolutely wonderful, without diminishing the others’ contributions.
The Monkees and Sex Pistols both illustrate a cosmic artistic law that dictates “fake” art can sometimes spawn great art.
In The Monkees’ case, Ed Driscoll notes that this ersatz corporate bubblegum band indirectly financed the filming of Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces. One member (crusty Liquid Paper heir Mike Nesmith) became the Ernie Kovacs of what we now call music videos.
(This law is illustrated equally well by The Godfather, a quickie airport novel written to pay off the author’s gambling debts that inspired a couple of cinematic masterworks. The book is still considered a Mafia Bible by real-life mobsters who apparently don’t know or care that Mario Puzo, who knew nothing of authentic Cosa Nostra rituals, pretty much made them up.)