Hey, hey, the Monkees are in Pop Music Hall of Fame

March 15, 2014
The Monkees pose with an Emmy award June 4, 1967. The group members are, from left to right, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Micky Dolenz. - Associated Press

Hey, hey, they’re the Monkees.

And they’re in the Hall of Fame.

No, not the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame.

The continued exclusion of Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and the late Davy Jones from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame remains a sore point for Monkeemaniacs and even more casual admirers who think the “prefab four” are getting the bum’s rush from the Rock Hall’s powers that be. But the Monkees were officially ushered into the Washington County-based America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame Saturday afternoon when the three surviving members were presented with plaques at a Monkees fan convention outside New York.

“It was great,” said Terry Hazlett, the executive director of America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame and Canonsburg’s former borough manager. The plaques, each emblazoned with an old-style microphone, were handed over in a ceremony before a standing-room-only crowd, where Hazlett recounted the group’s hit-making prowess in the 1960s and praised them as “four versatile singers and performers who, for more than four decades, have given worldwide audiences a wealth of music, entertainment and memories.”

The Monkees join the likes of the Bee Gees, Buddy Holly, Elton John and Roy Orbison in this year’s class of America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame, which is in the process of looking for a permanent home. In the public voting for America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame, the Monkees received more votes than obvious shoo-ins like the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

Nesmith, Dolenz and Tork did not address the fact that they are still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hazlett said, but did remark on “how happy they were” to be receiving the recognition from the pop music hall of fame.

“They were extremely appreciative,” he said by phone shortly after the presentation. “Anything I asked them to do, they did.”

The three remaining Monkees – Jones died of a heart attack at his Florida horse ranch in 2012 – were also named honorary members of the board of America’s Pop Music Hall of Fame, joining Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson and Johnny Tillotson.

Called the Monkees Convention, it got under way Friday and continues through Sunday at the Hilton Meadowlands Hotel in East Rutherford, N.J. It’s been estimated that 10,000 people will attend before it wraps up. Other guests, like 1960s British singer Billy J. Kramer and Larry Storch, who starred in the 1960s sitcom “F Troop,” have also dropped by. Along with the commerce, autograph-gathering and nostalgia that comes with fan conventions, it is also serving as the launching pad for the latest Monkees tour, which will bring Nesmith, Dolenz and Tork to the Palace Theatre in Greensburg May 28.

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from George State University in Atlanta, Ga., and a master’s in popular culture studies from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has covered the arts and entertainment for the O-R, and also worked as a municipal beat reporter. He now serves as editorial page editor.

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