From the instantly recognizable brief introductory tom-tom drum roll, the “(Theme From) The Monkees” commences both the band’s debut long player, as well as all 58 episodes of their groundbreaking and landmark television series. The song is a high-spirited romp that captures the freewheelin’ nature of the programme. The track vacillates from the tentative finger snapping and ultimately catchy opening lines, which demonstratively proclaim, “Here we come/Walking down the street/Get the funniest looks from/Everyone we meet” to the loud and boisterous chorus that drives home the central theme “Hey, hey we’re the Monkees/People say we Monkee around”. The line that rounds out the chorus -- “We’re too busy singin’ to put anybody down” -- is particularly interesting as it directly contrasts the mid ‘60s rock and roll image of rebellion and general non-conformity. No doubt this was a reflection of concerns by the Standards and Practices office that felt the need to tame the band’s image for primetime TV. Interestingly, this cut was among a handful of tracks penned and recorded prior to the assembly of the show’s primary cast. Under the auspices of “musical director” Don Kirshner, the team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were commissioned to write the initial batch of material to be used on the Monkees project, including the early hits “Last Train To Clarkesville” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”. The music’s timeless quality perfectly promoted the high-energy hijinks of the pre-fab four, which has worn considerably well over the years. There are several alternate versions of the “(Theme From) The Monkees”. In addition to the full-length album track, a considerably shorter rendition was used during the opening credit sequence, which concluded with the line “You never know where we’ll be found/So, you’d better get ready, we may be coming to your town”. This was an obvious reference to the full tilt multi-media Monkees machine that would include the weekly network show, recordings, as well as live personal appearances by the quartet. A further rendering was the result of a unique broadcast regulation, that required lead singer Micky Dolenz to croon the lyrics in broken phonetic Italian and was recorded specifically for broadcast in Italy. The track, titled “Tema Dei Monkees” can be found on the odds and sods compilation Missing Links, Vol. 3 (1996). When Rhino Records overhauled the entire Monkees’ catalogue in the mid 1990’s, they included a primordial take as bonus material on their reissue of the group’s self-titled debut. A few other artists have also covered the song, such as country music satirist Ray Stevens and the equally absurd Benzedrine Monks of Santa Demo.