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The Kirshner Years
Oh, that crazy Donnie Kirshner! Don Kirshner, aka "The Man with the Golden Ear," was hired in 1966 to surpervise The Monkees' musical career. But he gotta have total control. That means if you wanted to so much as breathe on a piece of "Donnie's music," you had to ask him first. This may have been great for Rafelson and Schneider, considering they wouldn't have to watch the music area of the show anymore since Donnie had it covered, but it wasn't for some of the group members. Ah, irony! Namely one gorgeous Texas named Michael Nesmith. Both he and Peter were serious musicians, but Peter wasn't really a very angry man in 1967 so.. well, let's start at the very beginning.
The guys' first LP. Supervised by Kirshner. Now infamous story associated with this LP: Donnie comes into the studio   for the first time, screws with the bass sound which, in effect, screws with Micky. In a very loopy mood, Micky pours Coke over Donnie's head.
SINGLES: "Last Train to Clarksville" b/w "Take a Giant Step," which reached #1 in the summer of 1966. "Take A Giant Step" was the #1 in Hawaii.

With the release of their first album, and their single going to #1 all over the world, The Monkees were feeling great about themselves musically near the end of 1966. They convinced Donnie to let them play live in December of that year, to stretch their musical skills. They were nothing spectacular, but they could play nonetheless, and it was at this time that the "creative control" debate began to rage. And boy, did it rage.

Second LP, the last straw for Nez and Peter. Released in January 1967 without the band's knowledge. Cover features them in JCPenney clothing for an ad campaign. Tracks comprised mainly of songs originally recorded to be for the TV series, not album release.
SINGLES: "I'm A Believer" b/w "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone," which reached #1 around Christmas 1966. Released in advance of the LP.
More of the Monkees was the final straw for the entire band, but particularly Mike. Besides the fact that he only had one song (two if you count his songwriting credit on "Mary, Mary") on the album, the cover and the fact that it had been released without their permission, while they were on tour no less, was the beginning of the end. In January 1967, the guys went to the Beverly Hills Hotel at Kirshner's request to collect a $250,000 check for each of them, along with gold records for "I'm A Believer." Nez snapped at the meeting, telling a bewildered Kirshner that he would no longer record songs with him. Herb Moelis, Kirshner's lawyer, who was also in attendance at the hotel, wagged Mike's contract in front of him and told him that he signed a deal to do this. In a fit of rage, Mike punched his fist through the wall right about Donnie's head, exclaiming "that could've been your face!" A now infamous incident in Monkees history.

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