As Mickey Dolenz celebrates his 77th birthday, today’s Song of the Day is “That Was Then, This Is Now” by The Monkees. Throughout the ’80s, there was a lot of nostalgia for the ’50s and ’60s (Back to the Future, Stand By Me, Peggy Sue Got Married), and The Monkees were a big part of that. A Monkees TV show marathon was broadcast on MTV on February 23, 1986. Then in May, Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork announced a “20th Anniversary Tour”. While Michael Nesmith did have a falling out years earlier, he was all for the reunion. However, he was forced to sit out most projects because of prior commitments to his Pacific Arts video production company. In addition to the MTV special, and the tour, the original ’60s episodes of the Monkees television show daily on Nickelodeon. This sudden revival of the Monkees helped move the first official Monkees single since 1971, “That Was Then, This Is Now”, to the No. 20 position on the Billboard charts.
There was controversy. Davy Jones had declined to sing on the track, recorded along with two other new songs included in a compilation album, Then & Now… The Best of The Monkees (“Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere” and “Kicks“). Some copies of the single and album credit the new songs to “the Monkees”, others as “Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork (of the Monkees)”. Reportedly, these recordings were the source of some personal friction between Jones and the others during the 1986 tour; Jones typically left the stage when the new songs were performed.
Davy Jones passed away on February 29, 2012 at the age of 66, Peter Tork passed away on February 21, 2019 at the age of 77, and Michael Nesmith passed away on December 10, 2021 at the age of 78. Mickey Dolenz is still around and touring.