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The Monkees‘ songs were very different from Ray Charles’ songs. Despite this, The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz would perform one of Charles’ songs while dressed like James Brown. A songwriter said Dolenz’s cover proved the singer was a credible musician.

The Monkees' Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork on a boat
The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork | NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Mickey Dolenz covered Ray Charles while on tour

Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart co-wrote many of The Monkees’ songs, including “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I Wanna Be Free.” They also formed a band called the Candy Store Prophets. In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart discussed a time when the Candy Store Prophets went on tour with The Monkees.

“The January to April hiatus from television filming was peppered with bookings for personal appearances by The Monkees,” Hart wrote. “[Producer] Ward Sylvester from Raybert Productions called me at home one morning to ask if the Candy Store Prophets and I would go along.”

Hart discussed what the members of The Monkees played on tour. “Playing to their strengths, Davy [Jones] had worked up a show tune, ‘Gonna Build Me A Mountain;’ Michael [Nesmith] would shake his maracas and belt the Bo Diddley standard, ‘You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover;’ Peter [Tork] would play the classic bluegrass banjo solo ‘Cripple Creek;’ and Micky would perform the Ray Charles classic, ‘I Got a Woman,’ complete with credible James Brown dance steps and cape.” 

The Monkees’ Peter Tork introduced Micky Dolenz to drugs while he was listening to a Ray Charles song

Hart emphasized the group’s musical prowess. “For the rest of the show The Monkees would play their own instruments, a counter move to the growing hullabaloo in the press where the ‘Prefab Four’ were beginning to be accused of being actors who were just posing as musicians,” he said. “I could only marvel at the irony!”

During a 2000 interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Tork said Charles’ music was part of an important moment of Dolenz’s life. Tork said he “turned Micky on” to drugs one night while he was playing one of Charles’ records. Tork said the experience changed Dolenz forever.


The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Wanted to Cry While Singing This Beatles Song from ‘The White Album’

How Ray Charles’ ‘I Got a Woman’ performed on the pop charts in the United States

Charles released “I Got a Woman” in 1954, years before the Billboard Hot 100 existed. Therefore, it did not hit the chart.

The tune appeared on a number of Charles’ compilation albums, including Genius: The Ultimate Ray Charles Collection. The album reached No. 35 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for six weeks.

“I Got a Woman” is a classic song and it has an interesting connection to the Prefab Four.