It’s hard to believe that this atrocious cash-in didn’t tarnish the name of the original Monkees. Chalk it up to dumb luck I guess. In the 80’s, some ad wizard had the bright idea of putting a band with the “Monkees” moniker behind it, only the new band would be all 80’s and terrible and have nothing to do with the original band. Pretty solid plan, no?
Well, like New Coke and so many other 80’s debacles, The New Monkees didn’t take, which mercifully allowed fans to focus on the charming original, and not some bastard group that looks comprised of four versions of the other guy from Wham!, Andrew Ridgeley.
In 1991, a group of actors were chosen to play characters based not on their acting ability, but on their musical ability. The film was titled The Commitments, and it focused on a band manager who, sick of the crappy Irish music scene, says “screw it” and puts together an Irish soul band in the style of Motown. The movie was a modest success, but the fictional band got even more acclaim, performing most of the songs on the soundtrack and eventually releasing a second volume of songs (mostly covers). The original soundtrack reached #8 in the US, but by the time the second volume was released, interest had waned and it peaked at#118.
In the style of Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210, FOX put together one more young adult soap, this one called The Heights, which focused on a sorta-fictional music group of the same name. They had a moderately popular single called “How Do You Talk To An Angel?” I decided that single was “moderately popular” because I was able to remember its title with no research or sources, and I would like to think that that’s not that weird.
The show was decidedly not moderately popular and was axed after twelve episodes, leaving no one wondering what might have been.