Monkees’ Davy Jones 1945-2012 R.I.P.

Charismatic, engaging
actor/singer was always “the cutest Monkee” – and he had one helluva singing
voice, too.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Davy Jones of the Monkees passed away yesterday (Feb. 29) in
Indiantown, Florida, of a “massive heart attack,”
according to his publicist and media reports. After complaining that “he wasn’t
feeling well earlier in the morning” he was taken to the hospital near his
home, Martin Memorial “where he was pronounced dead.” Jones was 66.

 

There’s really no point recounting the tale of the Monkees –
the so-called “Faux Four” who were assembled for a 1965 TV show in order to
capitalize on Beatlemania, and wound up creating their own, just as valid,
Monkeemania – as it has long ago passed into the history books. It is worth
noting, however, that while at various points the group suffered the slings and
arrows of authenticity-mongering critics, time has proven the Monkees’ mettle;
there are so many songs the band cut back in the day that currently reside (sometimes
as guilty pleasures, sometimes not…) on fan playlists, from “Daydream Believer”
and “Last Train to Clarksville” to “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “I’m A
Believer,” that the question is moot. (A great song is a great song, period.)

 

More to the point, however: the Monkees were a real band
(they had hits with their own compositions, and not just the songs written by
Boyce & Hart, Carole King and Neil Diamond), and as they evolved, became
more fluent in their instruments, and moved through the counterculture of the
time, they managed to accumulate some genuine cred. (A righteous cat is a
righteous cat, no matter his or her origins.) As anyone reading this probably
knows, they managed to carry on over the years in various reunions and
comebacks even as the members – Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork, and even
occasionally the recalcitrant Michael Nesmith – engaged in solo pursuits. Hey,
go watch the 1968 film Head if you
can’t dig that; keep your eyes peeled for Frank Zappa. Or search on YouTube for
Tim Buckley’s legendary performance on their TV show of “Song to the Siren.”

 

Davy Jones had been a child actor (with an affinity for
singing) in England
before being nabbed for the Monkees. After the band’s initial split in 1970 he
recorded and performed solo as well as taking various acting gigs. But as most
of the obituaries will no doubt point out, whenever the Monkees got back
together, he seemed to come fully alive and give the effort 120 percent.

 

 

 

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