Assembled via casting call as American television's answer to the Beatles, the Monkees incurred the wrath of "serious" critics from L.A. to London. But, though initially a manufactured pop commodity, they displayed a willful, sometimes perverse, drive to wrest control of their musical destiny from the all-star stable of songwriters and producers (including Boyce and Hart, King and Goffin, Mann and Weil, Neil Diamond, and Chip Douglas) who made them pop stars. Maybe the notoriously frenzied '60s had something to do with it: their artistic legacy in that decade bridged both Don Kirshner and Jack Nicholson; and Jimi Hendrix opened for them, if only a few times, on a 1967 tour. Even more unlikely, that legacy had a three-decade-plus staying power well beyond its obvious nostalgic charms. Though Rhino has previously reissued and anthologized the Monkees' catalog to seemingly exhaustive extremes, this four-disc collection of 99 tracks (each individually annotated by band members and songwriters in the set's colorful booklet) is the only one that spans their full recorded output. Structured around the A- and B-sides of the band's singles, strong album cuts, and outtakes (including three previously unreleased), it's a journey that's both comfortably familiar and occasionally surprising. The Monkees' individual parts--Mike Nesmith's tuneful, pioneering country-rock; Davy Jones's Broadway-honed panache; Peter Tork's spirituality and innate musical chemistry; and Micky Dolenz's loopiness and occasionally avant-garde instincts--are showcased well. But by the sometimes-spotty fourth disc (largely spanning the mid-'70s to mid-'90s), the band's output was hampered by partial lineups, part-time commitments, and, perhaps ironically, the lack of the very pop song-crafter thoroughbreds who'd helped to establish their legend in the first place.