The Monkees are an American pop/rock band that released music in their original incarnation between 1966 and 1970, with subsequent reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. Formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by Robert "Bob" Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the American television series The Monkees, which aired from 1966 to 1968, the musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, and Englishman Davy Jones. The band's music was initially supervised by producer Don Kirshner.
Described by Dolenz as initially being "a TV show about an imaginary band [...] that wanted to be the Beatles, [but] that was never successful," the actor-musicians soon became a real band. As Dolenz would later describe it, "The Monkees really becoming a band was like the equivalent of Leonard Nimoy [who played the alien officer Spock in Star Trek] really becoming a Vulcan."
For the first few months of their initial five-year career as The Monkees, the four actor-musicians were allowed only limited roles in the recording studio. This was due in part to the amount of time required to film the television series. Nonetheless, Nesmith did compose and produce some songs from the beginning, and Peter Tork contributed limited guitar work on the sessions produced by Nesmith. They soon fought for and earned the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band's name. Although the sitcom was canceled in 1968, the band continued to record music through 1971.
1986 saw a revival of interest in the television show, which led to a series of reunion tours and new records. Up until 2011, the group had reunited and toured several times, to varying degrees of success. Despite the sudden death of Davy Jones on 29 February 2012, the surviving members reunited for a tour in November–December 2012 and again in 2013 for a 24-date tour.
The Monkees have sold more than 75 million records worldwide and had international hits, including "Last Train to Clarksville", "Pleasant Valley Sunday", and "Daydream Believer". At their peak in 1967, the band outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined.