"How does it feel to be
One of the beautiful people?
Now that you know who you are
What do you want to be?"-The Beatles, "Baby You're a Rich Man".
Living in Laurel Canyon in the late 60s was an experience that can never be repeated. Imagine dozens and dozens of young, rich, powerful, creative, turned on musicians and actors all living within blocks of eachother on the lovely hills of Los Angeles. They were at the top of their game and enjoyving every minute of it. These were the beautiful people; the In-Crowd in which the Beatles sing about in "Baby You're a Rich Man". Tales of the Laurel Canyon crowd in the late 60s still live on, people still are curious as to what happened in this magical place in the late 60s, who was involved, and are those sordid tales really true?
Most 60s pop culture buffs seem to forget that during this time in 1966-68, the Monkees were a part of this crowd. Most people seem unable to believe that the Monkees did drugs, threw parties and hung out with the rock elite. Well let me say this: THEY DID. In the late 1960s, if you were a musician living in or visiting L.A, there were three party stops: David Crosby's house, Mama Cass', and Peter Tork's. And they all partied with eachother, all of the bands, whether they liked eachother's music or not. They were all friends. People seem to find it IMPOSSIBLE to imagine Peter Tork partying with Jim Morrison or Davy Jones hanging out at Donovan's place, but let me tell you, it DID happen. This tight knit clique of musicians, actors, hangers-on, and scenesters became known as the 'beautiful people', and the 'million dollar hippies', and included all of the Laurel Canyon, Beverly Hills and Topanga Canyon folks. They hung out. They partied. They took an amazing amount of drugs. It was all good.
Who Are These 'Beautiful People'?:- Here's who was considered part of the hollywood/music in-crowd at the time; David Crosby, Mama Cass, Denny Doherty, John and Michelle Phillips, The Monkees (Peter, Micky and Davy, mainly), Samantha Juste, Reine Stewart, Eric Burdon, The Association, The Hollies (when they were in town), Stephen Stills, Dewey Martin, Neil Young, Rodney Binginheimer, Kim Fowley, Vito, Pamela Des Barres and the GTOs, Jim Morrison, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Mia Farrow, The Byrds, Lou Adler, Bob Rafelson, Sally Field, Sajid Khan, Eric Clapton (when in town), The Beatles (when in town), Brian Jones, Derek Taylor, Brian and Dennis Wilson, Deana Martin, Dino, Desi, Billy, Roman Polanski, David Cassidy, The Seeds, Iron Butterfly, Arthur Lee, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Webb, Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Warren Beatty, Peter Fonda, The Turtles, The Who (when in town), Donovan, Nurit Wilde, Steve McQueen, Terry Melcher, Sharon Tate, Jackson Browne, Judy Collins, Buddy Miles among others. Basically all of the turned on, young singers and actors.
But why this page, then? I have received emails asking questions about how the Monkees were accepted by the upper rock echelon and if they hung out with these 'huge' stars and rock gods. The truth is: THEY DID. This page is here to somewhat document their crazy, drug and party filled lifestyle that we all here about but never got to witness. It's here to prove that not only were the Monkees hip, they were friends with all of the in crowd as well. Hell, they WERE the in-crowd. They were the number one band in America, for goodnez sakes. So take this page all in fun, it's not a serious attempt to document everything, just a way to show that the Monkees partied with the best of them.
Want to read more about this fabled community? Jac Holzman, President of Elektra Records, shares some insight
Have photos or stories of other Monkee parties? Send 'em over.
To begin, here's a fun quote about the Beautiful People/Laurel Canyon brought to you by one of the beautiful people, JACKSON BROWNE:
"So there were interesting houses we could walk to. Or we would catch a ride to Peter Tork's house on Willow Glen. Peter had been a dishwasher at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach and now he was a TV star, a Monkee. My friend Ned Doheny and I would say, "Let's go up to Peter's house, see what's going on." Sometimes you would walk in and there would be twelve girls in the pool, naked. And they were beautiful women, people of substance, not bimbos-not that we would have minded if they were bimbo s. One time Jimi Hendrix was up there jamming with Buddy Miles in the pool house, and Peter's girlfriend was playing the drums, naked. She was gorgeous, like a Varga girl is gorgeous, this physically flawless creature. She looked like the drawings of Indian maidens that they airbrush on motorcycle tanks. I don't think she was as good a drummer as she was an object of desire, but she was something. Barry Friedman was on Ridpath too, about a block from Billy James, two blocks from Paul Rothchild."
Lee Hazelwood's Party: Lee Hazelwood, famous Hollywood manager threw the Bee Gees a party for their fantastic Hollywood shows. All of the beautiful people in Hollywood showed up, including The Bee Gees (of course), Ann Moses from Tiger Beat Magazine, Tommy Smothers, Buddy Rich, Keely Smith, Angela Cartwright (Lost in Space, Sound of Music), Honey Ltd., Rodney Bingenheimer, Colin Peterson, Samantha Juste, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and others.
1. Davy Jones talks with Maurice Gibb from the Bee Gees. They apparently had dinner together when Davy was in London. Interestingly enough, both were in a 'love triangle' with pop singer Lulu around this time.
2. Tiger Beat's Ann Moses chats up Maurice for some gossip.
3. (Colin, Sammy, Micky, Angela, Rodney); Colin Peterson (who is this guy?) tries to hit on Sammy Juste, while Micky appears to have a pipe in his hands. What a druggie. How did this get in Tiger Beat? Geez. Angela Cartwright and Rodney Binginheimer appear to be together. Hmm. To make a Monkees connection, Angela used to be a Monkees groupie and was seen on the set of their TV show a lot, and Rodney (aka the 'Mayor of Sunset Strip') was Davy Jones' stand-in/body double on "Prince and the Paupers". It's a small world after all.
4. Angela Cartwright, who was then only a tender 17 years old, flirts with Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees. Who wouldn't? He looks good.
5. Lee Hazelwood wheels and deals with Tommy Smothers.
6. Barry Gibb plays guitar and the ladies of the pop group Honey Ltd. sing along. Honey Ltd. was another group managed by Lee Hazelwood.
Tiny Tim's After Show Party: Tiny Tim performed his first concert in Hollywood in the Summer of 1968 and KHJ radio invited tons of insiders to the after-party. Anyone who was anyone in the late 60s Hollywood scene was there, including The Flying Cavarettas (????), Sajid Khan, George Takei and Walter Koenig from "Star Trek", Don Steele, Andy Prine, Brenda Scott, Sally Field, Jimmy Webb, Phyllis Nesmith, Joan Barbour, Peter Tork, Reine Stewart, Desi Arnez Jr, Billy Hinsche, Dennis and Carl Wilson and Annie Hinsche.
1. The guest of honor, Tiny Tim himself. As we all know, Mike and Peter are big Tiny Tim fans.....
2. Peter showing some love to his girlfriend, Reine Stewart.
3. Some DJ, Tiny Tim, Billy and Desi from Dino, Desi and Billy. Where the fuck was Dino, he was a babe.
4. Don Steele, Phyllis Nesmith, Walter Koenig from Star Trek and Saijd Khan. Ah, wher e are they all now.....?
5. Dennis and Carl Wilson from the Beach Boys, and Carl's wife Annie, who's brother Billy was in D,D,B.
6. Joan Barbour and Sajid Khan. Awww. Joan Barbour, FYI, is Phyllis Nesmith's younger sister. I think she was 15 at the time. Sajid asked Joan on a date for the next evening.. Heheh.
7. Sally Field making a weird face. She had long broken up with Davy at this point and attended the party with pop songwriter/performer Jimmy Webb. She got around, eh?
Peter Tork Party, early 1968: One of the many infamous Peter Tork parties, this one was reported in Tiger Beat magazine. The guest list included the other Monkee party animal, Micky Dolenz, Samantha Juste, David Crosby, Jim Frawley (Monkee director), Grahamn Nash, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, among others.
Mike And Phyllis' Nesmith's Far East Party: Mike rarely threw parties, but this one was a celebration of the release of his first solo LP, "Wichita Train Whistle Songs". The guest list included Phyllis (of course), the other Monkees, Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Stan Kenton, Brendan Cahill, Bert Schneider, Bob Rafelson, Bobby Darin (!!!), and some others.
Genie the Tailor Opens Shop: Tiger Beat always featured articles about the tailor to the beautiful people, Genie. Genie was a young gal who got her start designing clothes for Paul Revere and the Raiders. Soon after, all of the hip hollywood flower children wanted her personally made Indian clothes for themselves. Some of her clients included the Monkees, Mama Cass, The Raiders, David Crosby, Coco Dolenz, Donovan, Eric Burdon, and more. Her shop opened in early 1968 and some hip scenesters came to support her. They included Ann Moses, Chuck Laufer and Laudy Powell from Tiger Beat, Micky Dolenz, Samantha Juste (who seem to go to EVERY PARTY), Sajid Khan, and Mark Lindsay.
Dino's 16th Birthday Party: Dino Martin, the first son of legendary crooner DEAN MARTIN, turned 16 in February 1968. So of course his papa had to throw him a spectacular party. All of the beautiful people came, the young music/hollywood crowd, the rat pack crowd. It was a PARTAY, my friends. Here's who showed up; Desi Arnez Jr. and Billy Hinsche, Dean Martin (and the entire Martin family). Davy Jones was Deana Martin's date, Stuart Whiting, and Tony Curtis were there. Frank Sinatra was there with his wife Mia Farrow, Tina Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and others showed up.
After Dino's party, John and Michelle Phillips threw an after party which was decidedly more hip than Dino's little birthday party. Judy Collins, Donovan, Tommy Boyce, all four Monkees, The Hollies, Eric Burdon, all of the Animals, The Who, and the Association all showed up and probably got really really stoned.
Brian Epstein/Beatle Party: Brian Epstein and NEMS Enterprises sponsored the Monkees' Wembley Arena concerts in June of 1967, so naturally, Eppie and the Beatles threw the Monkees a smashing party. This is the infamous party where Micky got really high and tripped out until 6am and started wandering around Hyde Park, talking to trees and eventually singing and hanging out with 700 Monkees fans. Cool. Here's who attended: The Monkees (minus Davy, who was out of town) and the Beatles (but not Ringo cos Maureen was having a baby), Pattie Harrison, Jane Asher, Samantha Juste, Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Eric Clapton, The Who, Procul Harum, Mickie Most, Frank Allen of The Searchers, Manfred Mann, Barry Miles, Jeff Beck and others.
Around 3:30am, George Harrison started a jam session with his ukulele, with Peter Tork playig banjo and Keith Moon playing drums on a table. Not too shabby! The party ended around 6am.
New Years Eve 1968: Peter and Davy were in London at the time at attended the New Years Eve festivities at the Speakeasy Club. Also in attendence were Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon, Tommy Steele, Lionel Bart, and Adrienne Posta.
Peter Tork party for Harvey Brooks (Fourth of July 1968): Peter threw a party for Harvey, who was a member of the band The Electric Flag. Guests included The Who, Mama Cass, and John Sebastian of the Lovin Spoonful.
( tuned to a natural e... )