Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones (1945-2012)

The news came down in the last hour that Davy Jones, the "cute one" of The Monkees, has died at the age of 66 of a heart attack.

Jones is the first member of the foursome thought to be the "Prefab Four" to pass away. Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Michael Nesmith all solider on, but this takes care of there ever being another Monkees reunion. Tork, Jones, and Dolenz had toured at one time or another as The Monkees, with the rarest appearances by Nesmith.

Jones stayed active in show biz, including a famous appearance on The Brady Bunch in 1971. Always likeable, Jones continued to parlay his "cute" persona for years after the decline of The Monkees.

Musically, it is easy to forget just what a pop powerhouse The Monkees were for a brief time. Granted a lot of the music was created by others and often didn't feature the main four performing (a huge bone of contention to Tork and Nesmith, who both had the most musical chops). Quite often they would lay down the vocals, with Dolenz getting the largest share. Eventually Nesmith and Tork would win out to certain degree.

The basic premise of The Monkees was to recreate the nirvana and silliness of The Beatles - most notably in their movies. The Monkees as a band were created via auditions and casting. Yet for a stretch, the show and the band were wildly popular, with their debut single, "Last Train to Clarksville" being a huge hit even before the show debuted.

Incidentally, the Prefab Four and the Fab Four were quite friendly, with John Lennon telling Mike Nesmith that he never missed an episode of the show.

Oh, and one more thing about Jones, though perhaps you know this. He was so big for a time that another promising young singer from Britain named David Jones had to change his name. He became David Bowie.

Let's have some music - perhaps Jones' most famous Monkees tune, "Daydream Believer."

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