Davy Jones was the cute one.
Peter Tork was the goofy one.
Michael Nesmith was the smart one.
And Micky Dolenz was the wild one.
Put them all together and you have the pre-fab four known as the Monkees. Back in 1967, they outsold the Beatles, Rolling Stones and even booked Jimi Hendrix as an opening act.
That was then — but for Micky Dolenz in The Sharon on Saturday — this is now. The Monkee man, 73, is still wailing, rocking and going strong. He even sang the song – “That Was Then This Is Now” – from the Monkees’ comeback in 1985.
The Monkees were a glorified garage band and Dolenz still plays the part. The sound can be ragged, rough and loud but Dolenz remains a rocking screamer.
He belted out such numbers as “Going Down,” “(I’m not) Your Stepping Stone,” “Let’s Dance On” and “Words” with off-key abandon.
The late Davy Jones used to make the teenyboppers squeal with his English accent and good looks, but it was Dolenz who put rock and roll soul into the Monkees.
The group was concocted in 1966, to act and sing in their own TV sitcom, sort of a cross between the Marx Brothers and the Beatles.
Soon after the first show, the Monkees turned into rock stars. A big reason was the songwriters who worked with the band.
“I’ve been blessed to work with great songwriters,” Dolenz said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here doing this show.”
The list of writers includes Neil Diamond (“I’m A Believer”), Carole King (“Pleasant Valley Sunday”), Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart (“Last Train to Clarksville”) John Stewart (“Daydream Believer”); Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (“D.W. Washburn”).
Dolenz sang those songs with glee on stage. He came on wearing a black coat and slacks, with a white dress shirt open at the collar, topped by a black fedora hat.
The guy still can’t sit still, just like on the TV series. Dolenz was percolating with nervous energy all night long, moving from one side of the stage to another.
He did slow down for “Daydream Believer,” a song he sang with his sister, CoCo. Dolenz dedicated the song to his late fellow Monkee, Davy Jones.
“This song means a lot to me and you know why,” Dolenz said, noting that Jones sang lead on the original records.
Dolenz also covered “For Pete’s Sake” (“In This Generation”), the closing TV theme that was written by “my good friend Peter Tork.”
Dolenz then did a bit of 1960s’ reminiscing about the Beatles.
“We went over to England and the Beatles threw a party for us,” he said. “I don’t remember much about it, but they tell me I had a good time. This is a song I wrote about the experience.”
Dolenz than sang “Randy Scouse Git,” a kind of warped psychedelic rocker with a hint of Dixieland. The song was banned in England due to the title, which Dolenz said, is off-color slang in Liverpool, home of the Beatles. It was finally released in England as “Alternate Title.”
Next came the tale of Jimi Hendrix.
Dolenz saw Hendrix at the “Monterrey Pop Festival,” and invited the guitarist to open for the Monkees’ tour.
“We had a great time, we all got along great with Jimi,” Dolenz said.
Everything was fine until Hendrix and his band stepped on stage in front of thousands of young girls, about 10 to 13.
“The little girls started screaming: ‘We want Davy; we want the Monkees,” Dolenz said. “You could almost see the little girls asking their mothers: ‘Mom why is that man (Hendrix) setting his guitar on fire.’”
Hendrix soon quit the tour, but this story gave Dolenz and his band to rip into Hendrix’ classic, “Purple Haze,” with some blistering guitar licks by Wayne Avers. He was also smoking on Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”
Coco Dolenz, Mickey’s sister, took the lead on a ‘60s standard, “White Rabbit,” by Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane. She also did justice to a cover of Mike Nesmith’s “Different Drum,” which was Linda Ronstadt’s first big hit with a band called the Stone Poneys.
But this was a night for Monkee memories with Micky Dolenz.
“The Monkees were my first record album; I got it when I was 10 years old,” said Villager Kristin Dailey. “I always liked their music and the TV show. I grew up with the Monkees.”
“It was feel-good music,” added her husband, Michael Dailey. “Songs like ‘I’m A Believer,” still hold up.”
Davy Jones was the teen idol, “but I liked Micky because he played the drums and could really sing,” said Villager Jackie Cook, who attended the show with her husband, Fred. “I used to play drums and I wanted to be like Micky.”
Lisa and Kim Robitaille grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s but are passionate Monkees’ fans.
“We saw the repeats of their TV shows,” Kim said. “They were so much fun and the music is so good. For me this is a chance to see one of the Monkees live. I had to be here for Micky.”