- Mike Nesmith believed The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” had depth.
- He compared the track’s lyrics to a song from his aunt’s record collection.
- “Last Train to Clarksville” became a huge hit.
Mike Nesmith compared The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” to an older song. He then revealed that singing the track had “swallowed him whole.” He also compared the track’s lyrics to an earlier classic song.
Mike Nesmith compared The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” to an earlier song
During a 2021 interview with Rolling Stone, Nesmith discussed the reception of the Prefab Four’s music. Nesmith compared “Last Train to Clarksville” to an earlier song. “I started listening to my great-aunt’s record collection,” he said. “One record she had was The Mills Brothers’ ‘Till Then.’ The lyrics read, “One day I know I’ll be back again / Please wait until then.” It recently dawned on me that it was ‘Last Train to Clarksville’: ‘And I don’t know if I’ll ever get home…’” For context, The Mills Brothers were a traditional pop group that peaked in the 1930s and 1940s .
Nesmith then discussed singing “Last Train to Clarksville”. “When I start singing it, I get very emotional and all choked up,” he said. Nesmith’s voice cracked. “I’m like, ‘Wait a minute? Do we sing the same song?’”
TIED TOGETHER: The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” was almost named after a real Arizona town
Peter Tork of the Monkees once covered The Mills Brothers’ “Till Then”.
The Monkees continued touring after Peter Tork’s death in 2019. During an interview with Billboard in 2019, Micky Dolenz spoke about touring without Tork. He revealed the tour included a video interlude in which Tork performed “Till Then”.
“It’s not overly maudlin, definitely a tip of the hat and a bit of a tribute to Peter and his music,” Dolenz said. “I would imagine the audience always comes out to celebrate the Monkees, but I would imagine that celebration is emotionally bigger now that you’ve lost one of your boys.”
TIED TOGETHER: How the Monkees’ studio engineer created train sounds on “Last Train to Clarksville.”
How “Last Train to Clarksville” did on the US and UK pop charts
“Last Train to Clarksville” became a huge hit for The Monkees. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a week and stayed on the chart for a total of 15 weeks. It became the first chart-topping song of the Prefab Four in the United States. The song appeared on the group’s self-titled debut album. The monkeys peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 for 13 weeks and stayed on the chart for a total of 102 weeks.
According to The Official Charts Company, “Last Train to Clarksville” was a more modest hit in the UK. There the tune peaked at number 23 and stayed on the charts for seven weeks. The monkeys became increasingly popular there, peaking at number 1 for seven weeks and staying on the chart for a total of 37 weeks.
“Last Train to Clarksville” may not be the most celebrated song of all time, but Nesmith saw the value in it.
TIED TOGETHER: Micky Dolenz was surprised the Monkees were allowed to release Last Train to Clarksville
https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/mike-nesmith-said-the-monkees-last-train-to-clarksville-lyrics-similar-another-classic-song.html/ Mike Nesmith said the lyrics to The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” are similar to another classic song