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Hey, hey, The Monkees are re-forming. Comebacks of 1960s pop legends are sometimes depressing affairs, done more for money than music. But this is one reunion that deserves to be welcomed because The Monkees have an important place in pop history.

The band was manufactured in 1966 specifically for a television show. And some initially dismissed them as the "Pre-Fab Four", since they were so obviously modelled on The Beatles. Yet The Monkees fought for creative control of their work, growing into a respected band and producing some classic songs. They were even respected by punk groups of the 1970s, who appreciated The Monkees' determination to do their own thing. The Sex Pistols sometimes played the band's "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" at gigs.

And The Monkees are no fans of the Simon Cowell domination of contemporary pop music through programmes such as The X Factor and American Idol. The Monkees' bassist, Peter Tork, has said: "I don't believe The Monkees were the precursor to his shows".

He is right. The Monkees were much too talented and independent-minded. Research was unveiled at the European Science Foundation yesterday showing that monkeys are more thoughtful than previously believed. That's monkeys and Monkees both, then.

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