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Music

How partying with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones inspired this Monkees song

The Monkees were plucked together by television executives who envisioned them as the American equivalent of the Fab Four. Although the initial idea for the programme came in 1962, the developers revived their pitch for the show after they saw Hard Day’s Night and The Monkees were green-lighted.

Unlike The Beatles, who all met naturally and grew up within a stone’s throw, The Monkees were put together by casting directors. Throughout their career, they were chastised for this reason and for not paying their dues. Additionally, their early work relied heavily on session musicians, which riled up the purists further. However, the Fab Four were nothing but welcoming to the newcomers.

Despite what the executives envisioned for The Monkees, the band members were always reluctant to be the next Beatles. In an early interview, Michael Nesmith said: “They’re in the middle of something good, and they’re trying to sell something. They want us to be the Beatles, but we’re not. We’re us. We’re funny.”

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It would have been understandable if The Beatles were hostile towards their American counterparts. Instead, they decided to throw The Monkees a huge party when they first arrived in England, which inspired a huge chart hit for the Americans.

The Beatles were in the midst of recording Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at the time of their meeting. However, their studio commitments didn’t stop them from letting their hair down and showing The Monkees how to party, which was also attended by The Rolling Stones. Elsewhere during their stay, Nesmith also attended the recording of ‘A Day In The Life’ at Abbey Road Studios.

George Harrison also praised the group’s musicality, even though he was less sold on the television show aspect of their identity. “It’s obvious what’s happening, there’s talent there. They’re doing a TV show, it’s a difficult chore, and I wouldn’t be in their shoes for the world. When they get it all sorted out, they might turn out to be the best,” Harrison once said.

The stay in England was an eye-opening experience for Micky Dolenz, and the morning after partying with The Beatles and The Stones, he picked up his guitar and effortlessly penned ‘Randy Scouse Git’. He later told Rolling Stone: “I wrote ‘Randy Scouse Git’ when we went to England on tour. The Beatles threw us a party at a very famous nightclub, and the Stones were there and all sorts of other people. The morning after, I was sitting in my room with a guitar, and I wrote the song stream-of-conscious.”

The song title understandably caused confusion when they took it to their bosses, and Dolenz tried to explain it meant “horny, Liverpudlian jerk,” which he heard used on the sitcom, Till Death Us Do Part, but that didn’t appease them. RCA initially didn’t want to release the song in the UK until the band agreed to rename it under an alternative title. According to Dolenz, he snarkily replied, “OK, ‘Alternate Title’ it is,” before eventually getting his own way. Despite the less than complimentary song title, The Monkees had nothing but love for The Beatles, and the feeling was reciprocal.