Think Frank, Dean and Sammy. Then add in Micky and Mark.
Micky and Mark?
Yeah, as in Micky Dolenz of the Monkees and Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, two groups that were prominent in the second half of the 1960s, a decade that began with Sinatra, Martin and Davis — and all their Rat Pack cool — dominating the music scene until the Beatles came along and complicated everything for a lot of American artists.
Dolenz and Lindsay have come up with an idea they hope will recapture a little bit of that Rat Pack cool, a series of shows called “50 Summers of Love: A Celebration of the Sixties,” that opened last week in San Diego, California.
“I’ve always wanted to do a show more like the Rat Pack, if you will, where we all come out together and stay onstage, rather that one person doing a set and then another person doing a set,” says Dolenz, hearkening back to the early 1960s when Sinatra, Martin and Davis not only performed Las Vegas shows together, but parlayed that success onto the big screen in films like “Ocean’s 11” in 1960 and “Robin and the 7 Hoods” in 1964.
The “50 Summers of Love” show will make its way to the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown for one show, July 27.
In addition to Dolenz and Lindsay singing the hits of the Monkees, Paul Revere and the Raiders and other artists, the show also features The Fab Four Beatles tribute band, playing a performance that includes three costume changes representing every era of the Beatles.
Dolenz and Lindsay have know each other for more than 50 years, their paths having crossed several times starting in the mid- to late-1960s when their bands were emerging and climbing the charts. Through the decades they each appeared on“Teen Idol” tours — although not at the same time — along with other teen idols like Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman.
“When Micky conceived this thing, he thought it would be a good idea if we did a Rat Pack kind of thing, where we’re both together onstage most of the time together,” Lindsay says. “We help each other sing the songs, we put each other down and just generally goof off. It gives the audience a chance to see more of our personalities. It’s a more casual kind of thing and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Dolenz says one things that makes his pairing with Lindsay an interesting dynamic is their shared sense of comedy. On the hit TV series “The Monkees,” which ran from September 1966 through March 1968, Dolenz oftentimes displayed a madcap attitude, something that mirrored his real personality.
“Mark and I really hit it off on the comedy. He’s very, very funny and has a very clever sense of humor. It’s very similar to mine,” Dolenz says. “So when we started working together and doing things, we immediately fell into a really interesting, fun kind of chemistry. Besides the fact that he’s a great singer, we just really hit it off on the comedy end of it, which I love.”
The set list for the “50 Summers of Love” show will be based around the material, not around who is singing the material, with an additional nod to the 50th anniversary of the Summer Of Love in 1967.
“The fans are going to want to hear all the hit songs anyway, and they probably don’t care in what order we do them,” Dolenz says. “But I said to the producer, 'Let’s create a show that’s a little more like a show-show and build the set list around the material.'"
Lindsay and Dolenz will sing each other’s songs as well. As an example, Dolenz cited “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The song was first recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders and appeared on the band's May 1966 album "Midnight Ride." Later that same year, the Monkees, recorded their version of the song and released it on their second album, "More of the Monkees." That version of the song made it to No. 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
“Where else are you going to hear Micky Dolenz and Mark Lindsay sing Steppin’ Stone together?” Dolenz says.
After more than five decades of singing and performing, both artists are still having fun.
“I think this show could have legs. Looking at it on paper, it looks very entertaining and a lot of fun,” Lindsay says. “It’s a real show, not a concert. There’s a little more in there. So who knows, maybe it has really long legs. Let’s hope so.”
“Knowing Mark and I, and knowing that everybody involved as bought into this format, I’m sure there are going to be some great music and some great stories being told,” says Dolenz, stressing that an artist really never knows what’s going to resonate with audiences. “One of the producers of the Monkees (TV show) once was asked why he thought the show was such a success and he said, ‘We just caught lightening in a bottle.’ So that’s what happens.”
“As long as I can sing and kick ass, do a good show and the audience doesn’t walk out and I’m having fun — as long as all those things are happening — I’ll be out there,” Lindsay says
Micky Dolenz and Mark Lindsay will perform their "50 Summers of Love" show at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, July 27, 8 p.m. For tickets and information, go to www.mayoarts.org or call 973-539-8008.