At 1:30 pm EST today, NBC News reported: “Singer Davy Jones of The Monkees has died of a heart attack at 66, the medical examiner’s office in Martin County, Fla. has confirmed to NBC News.”
This one really hurts.
Aside from The Beatles, no band stirred my youthful soul like The Monkees. And as a short, dark-haired lad myself, Davy was an inspiration. On episode after episode of The Monkees’ revolutionary television series, Davy showed that the little guy could get the girl.
And Davy’s voice? And all those great songs? Simply wonderful.
The glorious three-year period from 1966 to 1968 during which Davy Jones and The Monkees challenged The Beatles for the top of the Billboard charts were the greatest years in the history of AM radio – and the formative years of my life.
It’s hard to say where songs like Daydream Believer, I Wanna Be Free, and “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)” end and I begin.
Three decades after my youthful immersion in late 60’s Monkee Mania, I had the opportunity to write and produce The Monkees: Behind the Music. During the course of my work on that show I met and interviewed Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz, and came away impressed by their warm, easygoing and generous natures. Michael Nesmith was at the time avoiding all things Monkee – but getting Davy on board was still a possibility. So, I called him at his home in Pennsylvania.
Sadly, my call with Davy revealed a conflicted and unhappy man, still struggling with the ups and down of his legendary life as a Monkee. Devoted to his family, his daughters and his horses, Davy was ambivalent about his role as a 60’s pop music icon and his current status as a fading former phenomenon. We talked for nearly an hour. I wish I had written it all down. In the end, Davy passed on being interviewed for my show — but I was honored to have the opportunity to talk to him.
Few performers reach the heights that Davy reached. Alone among The Monkees, he was already a star when he was cast in the band. Heck, he even appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on the same bill with The Beatles. (As the Artful Dodger in a number from the smash Broadway musical, “Oliver”.)
Much will now be written of Davy’s last years. Was he at peace? Was he still troubled? What were the states of his relationships with the other Monkees?
I hope that Peter, Micky and Mike will soon give us their thoughts on the passing of their bantam band mate. Meanwhile, Monkees fans worldwide can only say, “Thanks for the great music, Davy. And all the fun. Rest in peace.”
5 responses to “Goodbye, Davy Jones.”
Reblogged this on Bill: The Mortgage Guy and commented:
I used to watch the Monkees all the time!!
You’re a bigger man than I to admit to an affinity for “Daydream Believer” and “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow),” but I will acknowledge that, if pressed, I could probably sing a verse and a chorus of each. I was a Mike Nesmith man and tried to believe “Mary, Mary” was a better song than it actually was. (And I loved Mickey’s singing on “Goin’ Down.”)
Regarding Jones’ later life I can report that my Mother knows the parents of his son-in-law, and they claim he was a warm, charming, affable guy and family man, just as you would imagine. But he was short. RIP
Paul — Your post was the first time I heard that Davy Jones was gone, and I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. The MONKEES were HUGE for anyone our age (you too, Darroch, though I do remember that you were a Mike Nesmith man through and through). Just to chime in on the personal tales, I wrote a part for Davy Jones into a show in the late nineties, and he played the part with characteristic good spirit, knowing that we were taking a bit of a poke at him, and fully happy to jump on board. He wasn’t particularly anecdotal preferring to talk about his horses, his kids and his place up at the polo field in Santa Barbara. But when his moment came on camera, he absolutely killed it and we all suddenly remembered how unusual a creature the Monkee’s TV show had been — and how, really, there has been nothing at all like it since. The HARD DAY’S NIGHT derived antics mixed up with the Wrecking Crew’s superb musicianship and Davy and Mickey’s really excellent vocals? I am not ashamed to say I think it was all wonderful.
All that said, he was incredibly short.
Thanks for the post, Pablo.
PS: I actually think “Daydream Believer” is a cool song. We had Julia sing a great latin-jazz version arranged by Oscar Castro-Neves on Watching Ellie a few years back. It was awesome.
Hey Paul, I had no idea you were such a Monkees fan. Davy Jones actually lived quite near Bloomsburg, in New Berlin. There was a restaurant about 30 minutes from here called FRONT STREET STATION where he used to perform sometimes. I also recall a news story that made headlines when some of his horses were sodomized or killed. Anyway, I was a big Davy Jones fan as a youngun myself. Thanks for sharing how he influenced your life. We TV kids have all kinds of hidden heroes from those years – don’t get me started on Carol Burnett….
Third grade – birthday party – the gift from my mom that had all the other girls chartreuse with envy was “More of the Monkees” – I think I am still word perfect on every song from that album.
They certainly pioneered the music video – so fab –