|... A pop audience that once cheered the extraordinary Beatles is now
rooting for the ordinary Monkees....
....And then there are the Monkees. Picked
out of a group of 437 youths who answered a newspaper ad, publicized with
a $250,000 fund, backed by expert musicians and blessed with some of America's
most experienced songwriters, all of whom were instructed to "make it sound
fresh, like early Beatles," the four Monkees in six months became the most
popular group in the world.
For the Monkees that wasn't good enough.
Esthetically they were prisoners in the palace the Beatles had built, and
commercially they received a minuscule share of the profits. "The
amusing thing about all this," taunted the magazine Crawdaddy!,
"is its supreme unimportance--after it's all over, and they've outsold
everyone else in history, the Monkees will still leave absolutely no mark
on American music." (Ellen feels compelled
to say "HA!")
Recently, Don Kirshner,
the man who helped lay the cornerstone of the Monkees empire, was fired
by his partners from his jobs as Monkee music supervisor and president
of Colgems, the firm that produces Monkee records. Kirshner, once
known as the Man With the Golden Ear, immediately sued for $35.5 million.
To increasing numbers
of musicians, the pop-music business may be a serious art form. To
millions of fans, it may be a fairy tale. But to the men who run
it, the pop-music business is still a business....