As a child of the 70s, a great deal of my time was spent watching television shows of dubious quality in their second lives in syndication. Gilligans Island, The Munsters, F Troop, The Brady Bunch and The Monkees these were the programs available to a young boy after school or on a sick day in glorious black and white. Today, a tiny piece of that childhood has passed away Davy Jones of The Monkees has died of a heart attack at the age of 66.
Although we knew him best as the small English fellow with the tambourine, his acting career began much earlier when he was cast as the Artful Dodger in a production of Oliver. It was as a member of this cast that he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on the same night that The Beatles made their first appearance. Jones saw the screaming girls and all the hoopla surrounding the band and thought, I have to get into something like that!
When The Monkees formed in 1965, and began their television show in 1966, they were ridiculed as being a cheap rip-off of The Beatles formed for no other reason than a cash grab. Time has been very beneficial for the group their songs are now considered some of the best that pop music had to offer in the late 60s. With great songwriters at their disposal (such as Neil Diamond), many of their songs have stood the test of time.
Davy Jones did sing lead on a few songs, but was not the primary singer for The Monkees, that would have been Micky Dolenz, the drummer. But it was his time as a front man that captured the hearts of many young women at the time and he had a particular little dance that seems to be his alone. After the bands breakup, Jones had a nice career with a few notable singles (Rainy Jane, Girl) and most famously, appeared as himself on The Brady Bunch. Marcia promised Davy Jones would sing at the school dance and Davy Jones would never let down his number one fan. Later, in the spoof film The Brady Bunch, he appeared again singing Girl and causing all the moms to swoon.
In a fun personal note Mrs. Blahg and I happened to live below the son of Peter Tork when we were in San Francisco. A great guy with some fun stories. I also recently introduced my daughters to the joy of The Monkees. I dont recall exactly why I kept bringing them up (probably as a reaction to a boy band on Nickelodeon that seems to be gaining steam as a real band), but I shared a number of songs on YouTube with them as well as the aforementioned story about living below Torks son and the little trivia tidbit that David Bowies real name is David Jones, but had to change it to Bowie in order to not be confused with the late Davy Jones (I cant imagine a world where we would get those two confused).
So, today we say farewell to a beloved singer/actor/horse jockey (yes, he did that for a while in his teens like I said, he was little) since news of his death came out today I havent been able to get Daydream Believer out of my head and isnt that a testament to any performer? Thanks for the memories Mr. Jones may you rest in peace.
May your locker bring you comfort,
Cornelius J. Blahg