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How the Dave Clark Five almost became the Monkees

The Dave Clark Five
Dave Clark/PBS - Used by permission

Almost hidden in iTunes (it's been there since 2011) is a cover of the Monkees' tune “Last Train to Clarksville” by the Dave Clark Five. In a phone interview with the Monkees Examiner, Dave Clark revealed that the idea of having the group record the song was more than a coincidence.

“Well, originally 'The Monkees' (show) was offered to us,” Clark said. “They approached our booking agent. It wasn't called 'The Monkees.' 'It was a show about a group and they offered it to us.

"But the problem," he said, "was it was signing up for three years, more or less 24/7 with three-year options. By then we'd hit it off huge in America and, of course, I turned it down. But for any unknown group, it would have been perfect.”

But there's more to the story, according to Clark. The show's iconic theme song, “(Theme From) The Monkees,” also had a connection to the Dave Clark Five.

“The amazing thing was the guys that wrote the actual song, 'Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees' ('The Monkees theme song), Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote me a note and said, 'We've taken your song, 'Catch Us If You Can' and if you listen to the finger snaps and everything going in the beginning of 'Hey, Hey, We're the Monkees,' it is 'Catch Us If You Can,'" Clark said. "He said he modeled it on 'Catch Us If You Can.' He wrote me a note saying this is the way they did it.”

A special on the Dave Clark Five, “The Dave Clark Five and Beyond – Glad All Over,” premiered earlier this week on U.S. PBS stations and is now available to be viewed online.

The Dave Clark Five version of “Last Train to Clarksville” is contained in the first of three albums of unreleased songs by the group available on iTunes. The group's entire recorded output is also there in remastered form, though it has not yet been released on CD.

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