yes, mostly studio musicians were used and, yes, other people(such as neil diamond, carole king/gerry goffin, john stewert) wrote most of the songs and yes, yes, yes, they were lip syncing puppets but if you were growing up the the late 60s/ early 70s, these guys were what it was about: having a band, being a zany gang of vaguely counter culture/outsider/rebels but kind and good natured. super cool and da bomb.
at the time, there were many main stream tv shows involving groovy rock and roll/pop collectives: 'the partridge family', 'the banana splits', 'josie and the pussycats','the jackson 5ive','butch cassidy and the sundance kids','the archies show',the chattanooga cats', 'the amazing chan and the chan clan','the groovie ghoolies','jabberjaw',' the hardy boys', 'the monkees'. even 'scooby-do, where are you?' and 'fat albert'( with its junkyard band) relied a great deal on contemporary music. the brady kids preformed outside the brady bunch as a music group. all were heavily merchandized and focused on children so we all grew up wanting to be in a band.
whoever was involved in actually writing and performing the monkees material , they remain a conduit for many exceptional pop songs. although a manufactured product, the monkees influenced scores of punkety rockers and new wave peeps- in other words, my generation- from the sex pistols to the go-gos, the wedding present and the replacements.every hardcore band( particularly in DC) in the 80s covered "i'm not your steppin' stone". run dmc sampled them (mary mary has been heavily sampled.). an exceptional pop song is a blessing to us all and from the current crop of forgettable auto-tuned smeg, increasingly harder to come by.
yes there are even gay disco covers of the monkees.
i remained enamored of those shirts-with the two rows of buttons- into my teen punk rock/new wave years. but in black, of course.johnny cash wore a similar shirt.
my mother related that at about 4 years old i wanted to be one of the monkees or the beatles with a guitar- on a foot stool i told her was a chopper style motorcycle. that or i wanted to be speed racer without the stupid screechy boy child accessory,without the stupid chimp with the beanie (or did the bratty brother wear the beanie? either way they both sucked in my view.) and without that annoying cling-on, trixie.
loop da loop ( mary mary sample through out-you have to be nimble to find it.)
del tha funkee homosapien(sample:zilch)
king of luxembourg
that is quite a range of artists to have made such a lasting,decades spanning impression upon.