This is not going to be an in-depth analysis, just a simple retrospective. Both were creations for television, both were designed after existing groups, both were, for the most part, fake groups designed to take advantage of the popularity of Pop music to sell records and merchandise, and both were very successful in doing that. The Monkeys were designed after The Beatles, and The Partridge Family was designed after The Cowsills.
The Monkeys had 3 number 1 hits and 12 singles hit the top 40, with 4 albums hitting number 1 and 5 going platinum. The Partridge Family had 1 number 1 hit with 7 singles hitting the top 40, with 0 albums hitting number 1 but 6 going gold. But The Monkeys did have an advantage in that they had a higher output of songs and albums and toured which helped to sell records. Which is something The Partridge Family couldn’t do as they were completely dependent upon studio musicians.
All the members of The Monkeys came from musical/acting backgrounds. They could all play an instrument and they all could sing. And they all had acting experience, albeit limited. The only members of The Partridge Family that came from a musical background was Shirley Jones and her stepson David Cassidy. The Monkeys TV Show lasted 2 Seasons and The Partridge Family TV Show lasted 4 Seasons. Both shows ended, not because of poor ratings, but because a member, or members, were dissatisfied with the direction the shows were heading. Primarily Michael Nesmith ( creative freedom ) and David Cassidy ( didn’t like the music, wanted to rock not pop ) respectively.
Considering that these were fake TV creations the amount of success they both enjoyed was nothing short of phenomenal. Especially considering the amount of talent that was out there at the time. Personally, I like some of the songs, but not most, but then that’s true of other groups as well. To me the best song of The Monkeys will always be Shades of Gray which was never released as a single or even as a B side, and Brown Eyes by The Partridge Family, also not released as a single or even as a B side.
( images courtesy of diffuser.fm and mashable.com )