Tag Archives: Mark Vidler

The Monkees, the Beatles and Jesus

The shock wave that followed the news of Davy Jones’ passing last week shook loose this realization: There have always been four Monkees. You thought there always would be four. Now there are three. There will never again be four.

It was the same shock wave that followed the news of John Lennon’s death in 1980. There had always been four Beatles. You thought there always would be four. Then there were three. And then, 21 years later, there were just two.

Davy Jones was the man the Monkees could not lose, just as John Lennon was the man the Beatles could not lose. Davy Jones and John Lennon in the same breath? Absolutely. Going on without them? Unfathomable.

Time proved Davy Jones irreplaceable. Girls who loved the young Davy Jones kept that torch burning for years. Fans — including some remarkable names — kept finding the Monkees’ music fresh and vital decades later.

In his solo shows and on Monkees reunion tours, the 60-something Jones gracefully navigated fans’ expectations as he — and they — grew older. He’d walk out on stage, hear the cheers, smile and announce:

“Hi, I’m Davy’s dad. Davy will be out in a minute.”

Only the most fearless, confident entertainers can pull off a self-deprecating line like that with such ease and charm, immediately winning over an audience not sure what to expect from a man who long ago was a teen heartthrob.

Micky Dolenz is a better singer. Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith are better musicians. But Davy Jones was a great entertainer, the straw that stirred the drink, and that’s why it’s impossible to imagine the Monkees without him.

Davy Jones and John Lennon were friends. Lennon enjoyed “The Monkees” TV show and thought the lads to be a bit like the Marx Brothers. High praise.

In a fascinating 2006 interview with a suburban Chicago newspaper, Jones said:

“He was a very big influence on my life, John Lennon, you know?
So were all the Beatles, and Ringo’s a good friend still.”

So when you think of the Monkees and the Beatles, remember their mutual admiration. “There’s talent there,” George Harrison was to have said.

But please, may we set the record straight on one thing? “The Monkees” TV show was not inspired by the Beatles’ film “A Hard Day’s Night.”

So says Bob Rafelson, who with Bert Schneider created the show. Rafelson told the Los Angeles Times’ Randy Lewis:

“This was a show I had written six years before the Beatles existed, and the pilot was based on my own life as an itinerant musician when I was 17 years old. What the Beatles did was to create a kind of permission for any rock ‘n’ roll to be a popular subject for television.”

And if the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, as Lennon suggested in 1966, then the Monkees must have been, too. Rafelson explains:

“This was a massive thing, They sold something like 23 million records in 1966 — and that was more than the Beatles, more than the (Rolling) Stones that year. They had more No. 1 hits. I tell this to people now, and they say ‘What are you talking about?'”

Ah, what a time it was. Imagine.

“Paperback Believer,” Mark Vidler (Go Home Productions), 2004, from “This Was Pop (2002-2007),” a free collection of the British producer’s mashups.


Filed under March 2012, Sounds

You can Go Home again

Longtime readers of AM, Then FM know that even though we are mostly about older tunes, we enjoy a good mashup now and then.

What a pleasant surprise, then, to see in the e-mail last week that UK mashup legend Mark Vidler has whipped up some new selections. One of the most prolific and influential mashup artists, Vidler last year posted of several years’ worth of his work, then took a well-deserved break.

Here’s what he says about his return:

“After several months of predominently ‘laying off’ the bootlegs/mash-ups, I just felt the urge to dabble again and see what turned up. Must admit it’s the most fun I’ve had for ages putting this lot together and I hope you share the enthusiasm, too. … I’d like to think of ‘Spliced Krispies’ as flight ‘back to the old school’ days and a future soundtrack for summer 2008.”

“Spliced Krispies” was put together last month. I grabbed five of its 11 tracks. Here are my favorites:

“Rolling Confusion” mashes the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” and “Gimme Shelter” and the Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion.” Vidler says:

“This was quite literally the first track I created for this project. I think the Stones were getting a fair bit of airplay last month with their film coming out and I heard ‘Street Fighting Man’ somewhere and it sounded sooo good. Absolutely love ‘Beggars Banquet’ and that whole era of the Stones. Had to slow the tempo of the Temps vocal to fit but I think I got away with it. Quite like the way that the track slips between half and double time … you can’t dance to it. The drum break is pilfered from ‘Slave’ off the ‘Tattoo You’ album. … Amazing how relevant the lyrics of ‘Ball of Confusion’ are today. Frighteningly relevant.”

“Finally, Did You No Wrong” mashes the Sex Pistols’ “Did You No Wrong” and Ce Ce Peniston’s “Finally.” Vidler says:

“Well, if this doesn’t raise your roof when played at full volume, then nothing will. … Coming on like Status Quo fronted by a diva (said my mrs) and she’s not far wrong. As much as I tried to pump the eq on the bass frequencies of the Pistols track, I still couldn’t get my speakers to shake like they normally do, so I whipped out my trusty electric bass guitar and ‘played along.’ I doubt you’ll notice my playing but the bottom end is pretty phat now. I also added a ‘Stooges’ feel to the choruses via one-finger piano.”

Follow the “Spliced Krispies” link to Vidler’s Go Home Productions web site and get what you want right from the man himself. He’s created videos for each of the 11 cuts, and you can download those as well.

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Filed under May 2008, Sounds

Sunny pop goodness

It comes with the territory — I’ve lived in Wisconsin since 1965 — but I really am tired of being cold this winter.

Maybe that just comes with being older than dirt.

I could use some nice sunny pop goodness. Maybe you could, too.

You’ve heard ’em all, but dig ’em anyway.


“Green Peppers” and “A Taste of Honey,” Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, from “Whipped Cream and Other Delights,” 1965.


“I’d Wait a Million Years,” 1969, and “Temptation Eyes,” 1970, both by the Grass Roots, from “Their 16 Greatest Hits,” 1971. It’s out of print, but both cuts are available on this best-of CD.


“Valleri,” the Monkees, from “The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees,” 1968.


“Paperback Believer,” Mark Vidler/Go Home Productions, 2004, from “This Was Pop, 2002-2007.” This Beatles/Monkees mashup is among the many swell Vidler creations available at his web site. Go get ’em.

Oh, yeah, I feel much better now.


Filed under March 2008, Sounds