This was the first song written and recorded for The Monkees TV series, which ran on NBC 1966-1968. Written to introduce the irreverent act, a portion of it was used as the theme song for the show.
It was written by the songwriter/producers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who were hired to write three songs for the show's pilot, including the theme. When they wrote it, the cast had not been chosen and they had very little direction - the show was pitched as "An American version of The Beatles" and loosely based on the Beatles movie A Hard Day's Night. Boyce and Hart wrote the song in the style of The Beatles, composing good-natured lyrics positioning the band as a fun group of guys who are "too busy singing to put anybody down."
The finger snaps and "here we come" line were influenced by the Dave Clark Five song "Catch Us If You Can
," where they sing, "Here we come again, catch us if you can."
The Monkees didn't play on their early albums, so very often the only band member to appear on a song would be its lead vocalist, which in this case was Micky Dolenz. This song was produced by the song's writers, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who had members of their band, the Candy Store Prophets, play the instruments. The backing credits are as follows:
Micky Dolenz: vocal
Tommy Boyce: backing vocals
Wayne Erwin, Gerry Mcgee & Louie Shelton: guitar
Larry Taylor: bass
Billy Lewis: drums
Gene Estes: percussion
Turns out this song works very well in a documentary about actual monkeys: It was used to open the 2015 Disney film Monkey Kingdom.
"I always thought the song worked fine as the theme song for the TV show. But I never allowed us to sing it in public," Peter Tork, the group's keyboardist/bass guitarist, told Entertainment Weekly. "The whole idea of standing up there and singing, 'We're wonderful/We're the wonderful ones/And our names are The Wonderful Ones,' was too self-congratulatory. What we do now is, the backing band plays [the music] and Micky and I come out onstage to it. I can't ever see us singing 'Hey, hey, we're the Monkees!' I couldn't bear it."