When Johnny Cash Sang With the Monkees

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Johnny Cash with the Monkees, during their performance which aired on The Johnny Cash Show on July 19, 1969

Johnny Cash was 37 years old when he first starred on his own music variety TV series, The Johnny Cash Show. The program, which aired for two seasons on ABC from 1969 to 1971, featured some of music’s most popular artists of the era as guests. To launch the series, which was filmed each week at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, its host was joined by none other than Bob Dylan. That first episode was filmed on May 1, 1969 (and first aired on June 7). Several months earlier, on Feb. 17 and 18, 1969, the pair recorded more than a dozen songs in Nashville.

In the weeks following that initial episode, Cash, born Feb. 26, 1932, was joined by such up-and-coming performers as Gordon Lightfoot, Linda Ronstadt, the Cowsills, and Glen Campbell.

For episode six, 25-year-old singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell became the first guest to appear a second time. Also appearing on that show, which aired on July 19, were the Monkees. And as was customary, Cash joined them to sing during their segment.

At the time of that episode the Monkees had become a trio. Citing exhaustion, Peter Tork had left the group the previous December. Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Michael Nesmith had released the Instant Replay album earlier that year and were preparing for their first tour without the affable Tork.

On May 6 at the Ryman, Cash introduced the segment with the Monkees by singing the first few lines from their 1966 hit, “Last Train to Clarksville.” Soon, the trio take over, but suddenly stop playing it after less than a minute, deciding that they want to play something new.

Nesmith then sings his “Nine Times Blue” with Dolenz and Jones joining in. Once completed, Cash rejoins them on the stage and they all share some good-humored banter and laughs, before they sing Cash’s 1966 novelty song, “Everybody Loves a Nut.”

Watch Johnny Cash and the Monkees

Related: Here we come… The Monkees’ incredible first year

One week after the episode ran, Cash released what would become the biggest pop hit of his career at #2, his live performance of “A Boy Named Sue,” recorded earlier that year at San Quentin State Prison.

Related: The story behind the song

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7 Comments so far

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  1. Skinnymulligan
    #1 Skinnymulligan 19 July, 2020, 13:06

    When will the “Monkeys” be banned?

    Reply this comment
  2. RecordSteve
    #2 RecordSteve 27 February, 2021, 11:10

    Here’s the “SKINNY” they’ve been a “band” for many years;) Long Live The Monkees

    Reply this comment
  3. Mak
    #3 Mak 21 July, 2021, 17:28

    They were so zany!

    Reply this comment
  4. Mickey
    #4 Mickey 21 July, 2021, 17:39

    They were America’s Beatles. Except they had no talent. They were the no talent boob Beatles.

    Reply this comment
    • kevmac
      kevmac 20 July, 2022, 08:34

      “They had no talent”??? Really????
      They were immensely talented.

      Reply this comment
    • Publius
      Publius 17 September, 2022, 05:59

      They sold 65 million albums. Not bad for having no talent. As distinct from uninformed imbeciles who, truly, have no talent.

      Reply this comment
    • v2787
      v2787 20 July, 2024, 09:00

      No talent??? Mickey Dolenz had (and still has) one of the best pop voices ever. Mike Nesmith was an excellent songwriter. (Does Linda Ronstadt’s “Different Drum” ring a bell?) The Monkees’ songs were written, for the most part, by great songwriters like Carol King, Gerry Goffin, and Neil Diamond, and the group sang the hell out of those tunes. Yes, they were a tv show pretend band, but they were immensely talented as individuals and great entertainers.

      Reply this comment

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