Friday On My Mind 34: Last Train To Clarksville

Not more Monkees, I hear you cry.

Yet in many ways this one track sums up the music of the 1960s. A pitch perfect pop song which is at one and the same time catchy yet profound, capable of being taken on its own surface terms as light and inoffensive but hinting at the darkness underpinning the decade.

A protest song by The Monkees? About the Vietnam War?

It may seem unlikely (it may not even have dawned on the band members themselves and certainly not on their handlers I’d have thought) but the song’s composers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were undoubtedly alive to its subversive nature.

Apparently it wasn’t intended specifically as a protest song as such (but it is amenable to that interpretation.) For there are several Clarksvilles in the US, all near military bases, though the name itself was chosen for its euphony.

Consider verse 2.
“Cause I’m leaving in the morning and I must see you again,
We’ll have one more night together till the morning brings my train
And I must go. Oh no, no, no. Oh no, no, no.
And I don’t know if I’m ever coming home.”

That recurring last line is rendered more poignant by that context.

The Monkees: Last Train To Clarksville

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