Posted On 2/29/2012
Written By James Downing
I just learned that a member of one of my all time favorite bands, The Monkees, passed away today. Davy Jones died of a heart attack today Feb 29, 2012 in Florida. He was 66 years old. I never had the chance to see The Monkees together as a band but I did get to see Davy several times as a solo act. His shows were always fun and his voice always sounded in top shape.
Being a kid growing up in the 60s, there was no way that you could escape the sounds and music that was coming out of your parent’s car radio and that is how I got hooked on music. There was one sound that really caught my ear and that was the “bubble gum” music that all the pre-teenagers were listening to. Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, The Osmond’s and so many others blended together a sugar sweet blend that yielded gold record after gold record. Leading the pack of these teen idols were 4 guys, who were called The Monkees. Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and of course Davy Jones.
Davy really stood out in the band as the “cute one” and the fact that he had a British accent didn’t hurt him any. He was to The Monkees what Paul McCartney was to The Beatles. Girls all over the world over had his posters in their rooms and stacks of magazines with his pictures plastered all over the cover.
Davy started acting in England at the age of 11 in the BBC comedy Coronation Street and then on the cop show Z-Cars. After his mother’s death when he was 14 he decided that he wanted to leave acting and become a jockey. Basil Foster, who was training Davy as a jockey suggested him for the role of the Artful Dodger in the London production of Oliver! He got the part in London and went on to the Broadway production as well getting a Tony nomination. The cast of Oliver! appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show the same night as The Beatles. Davy said he remembered watching the crowd’s response from the side of the stage, especially the girls, and thought to himself he wanted to do that too. Davy appeared on several American TV shows and recorded and album which did not do well on the charts.
In 1965 Davy was chosen as a member of the band The Monkees, one of the first bands that was put together for a TV show. Even before the show aired the bands first single “Last Train To Clarksville” was headed to the top of the charts. In the next few years Monkee-Mania broke out as the band released hit after hit and several chart topping albums.
I can remember getting the first Monkees album and playing it over and over. When the television was on I was glued to the set watching the hilarious antics of these 4 guys. I really liked the “guy that wore the stocking cap” (Mike Nesmith) but I have to admit that I thought that Davy’s British accent was really cool and wished that I could talk like him.
In the years to follow, even after the show ended, I still bought the albums. One album just featured Davy, Micky and Mike and the next one just featured Davy and Micky but to me they were still The Monkees and I loved the music. After they finally decided to go their separate ways, I still played those albums. Davy and Micky teamed up with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart in the early 70′s then toured and recorded an album as Jones/Dolenz/Boyce & Hart. The music wasn’t as good in my opinion but it was still some Monkees making music.
I was amazed one day to walk in a record store and see an album in the racks that had a picture of Davy on the cover. A new Davy Jones album and I was very excited. I handed the clerk my $3.99 (yes you read that right $3.99) and took that record home and it spent plenty of time on my turntable. The album was simply titled Davy Jones and yielded a top forty hit “Rainy Jane” which became my favorite track off the album.
As a kid gets older his tastes change. I started listening to harder music like Alice Cooper, David Bowie and The Allman Brothers, but as I have said before on this website my love for the bubble gum music never died. And my love for The Monkees never died either. I was over joyed in the 80′s when MTV started showing The Monkees on TV again. Now I could sit down with an adult mind and watch these shows with a different outlook. No matter what the outlook was, I still loved them.
In 1989, the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. In the late 1990s, the group filmed a special called Hey, Hey, It’s The Monkees.
Over the years The Monkees reformed for several tours, usually minus Mike Nesmith. The last Monkees tour was last year. As before it was Davy, Peter and Micky. It would have been great if fans could have got to see all four of them together one last time as now it will never happen.
I did get to see Davy Jones live three times. And yes, there was always a crowd of females at the foot of the stage. The ladies were older, just like their idol, but still loving the man who sang ”Daydream Believer” and so many other hit songs.
To me Davy Jones was a super cool guy. His eyes would sparkle when he looked at a girl. Marcia Brady had a huge crush on him. And he helped introduce me to something called music. A love that I would have for the rest of my life!
Davy Jones, you will be missed. Thank you for many years of great music and laughter.
Davy Jones is survived by his widow Jessica and four daughters.
By James Downing
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