MTV started airing 20-year-old reruns of The Monkees in 1986, a perfect fit for the fledgling network—quick cuts, youth culture, wild and crazy attitude—such were the things MTV aimed to stand for. It was still something of a surprise though that a show very, very much a product of its time would become a massive hit in the 1980s. With all sins of prefabrication forgotten in favor of appreciation of classic, well-made pop, this led to a full-on Monkees reunion. None had had a particularly successful solo career and none had been in the public eye a whole lot since the Monkees fizzled out in the early ’70s, excerpt for Mike Nesmith, of course, heir to the Liquid Paper fortune and producer of the TV music video show Pop Clips, a direct inspiration for MTV. But he wasn’t involved in the reunion anyway. And with that reunion came a nationwide tour, and with that came a greatest hits album with a handful of newly recorded songs featuring 3/4ths of the original Monkees (Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork). All of the music in the ’80s sounded and/or was prefab anyway, so really, the Monkees revival was well-timed.
The single off the hits compilation, Then & Now…The Best of the Monkees was the self-referential, Dolenz-sung “That Was Then, This Is Now,” a top 20 hit. Such was the success of that song that led to a full-length new Monkees album in 1987 called Pool It. Despite the Monkees being the coolest thing going in 1986, the Monkees began to look like the aging, trying too hard Boomers that they were in 1987 and the two singles off of Pool It failed. “Heart and Soul” hit #87, while “Every Step of the Way” missed the pop chart completely. It probably didn’t help that due to the band missing an MTV-sponsored gig due to a communications snafu, the network abruptly stopped airing reruns of The Monkees earlier that year, denying the band the exposure it so desperately had lacked.
This is to say nothing of the cash-in attempt of The New Monkees, a syndicated revival/remake of the old show with a new band that sounded like a poor man’s Level 42. As such, that project produced one album and no memorable music or chart hits whatsoever.