Davy Jones -- Baby Boomer icon
There are baby boomers, and there are baby boomer icons. Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees, was born the year before the start of our generation but to some boomers he represents fond memories of bygone boomer years.This is a leap year. There were twenty-nine days in February. It happens every four years. If I’d been born on this date during a leap year I’d technically still be a teenager. Interesting concept.
But I’m not still a teenager and, as if I needed to be reminded of that fact, former teenage heart-throb Davy Jones of the band the Monkees has died. At the age of 66, he was several years older than me and died of a heart attack at his home in Florida. A very real reminder of my own mortality and that of my entire generation. As the Monkees once sang, “We’re the young generation and we’ve got something to say.” Well, we Baby Boomers may not be finished as a generation with impact on the world but truth be known, we now have had our say and are no longer the young generation. We are of an age when things like heart attacks may become more commonplace than love-ins.
Though I was never a true Monkees fan, I remember watching them on TV every week as a kid. They meant something to my generation. The older of my two sisters thought Davy Jones was the “absolute cutest boy on earth!” I first heard the news of his passing on the car radio while picking my kids up from school. My kids in the backseat were soon singing merrily and loudly about soaking up the sun as a Sheryl Crow song came on. They have no idea who the Monkees were and Davy Jones means absolutely nothing to them.
Now my kids are “the young generation with something to say” and have their own rock heroes. Life goes on. But I confess feeling more than a tinge of sadness at the news about Jones. Rest in peace Davy.
Nice remembrance of Davy and bygone times. RIP DJ!
Thanks for sharing this. Davy’s passing made me very sad. He was my first crush! I had his picture pasted all over my junior high locker. I loved their show–funny and charming with great music. I had just seen an ad for his concert in La Mirada next week and had actually thought about buying tickets! I just couldn’t believe it when I heard the very next day that he had died. We are moving into that age category where things like this will happen more and more, so I guess we need to get used to it.
Maybe we need some Monkees re-runs to get our nostalgia on!
I loved to listen to the Monkees music. I had a very small record player, and treasured each album from them. I studied the album pictures and read everything that was written on them. I would listen to their music for hours on end. At the same time, there was so much great music on the scene too. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones. Joni Mitchell.
When I met my husband, who is 7 years older than me, he said that he was not really ever into the Monkees, and I was surprised. Well Davy Jones was cool. The show was cool. And the ones who remain still are too!
Not a huge Monkees fan either (though they did have some memorable, quite excellent tunes), I watched their TV show and enjoyed it. But when the radio was on, I wanted to hear the REAL Fab Four. Cute true story: when Smashmouth recorded the Monkees song, “I’m a Believer” when my boys were younger, they heard The Monkees original version and liked it better.
PS- My favorite “Monkee?” Their way cool car designed by Hollywood wheels guru George Barris (Batmobile, Munstermobile, etc.).
The Monkees were pioneers in the sense that they were the first made for TV Rockers. But others followed, like The Partidge Family, Bobby Sherman, Shaun Cassidy, & Leif Garrett. None got much respect from critics, but all sold tons of records and had screaming (mostly female) fans.
There was an abundance of truly exceptional music in the 1960s and Davy Jones was a talented part of it. Here’s his career in a nutshell:
In 1963 Davy Jones snagged a Tony Award nomination for his role in the Broadway musical Oliver!
In November 1965, Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz were cast as The Monkees. It debuted on September 12, 1966 and ran for two seasons. Fifty-eight half-hour programs were produced over an 18-month period, and the show won two Emmy awards in 1967.
Their recording success outstripped even their television exposure with five platinum albums and a half dozen gold singles.
Davy sang lead on their iconic #1 “Daydream Believer,” and the follow up #3 “Valleri.”
Davy also took the lead on the hit “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” which reached #2 on the Billboard charts.
The group’s second album, MORE OF THE MONKEES, spent 70 weeks on the Billboard charts,and they had four number one albums in the span of just one year. They also held the number one spot on the Billboard album chart for 31 consecutive weeks.
In 1968, Davy starred with The Monkees in the legendary cult-film, Head, written by Jack Nicholson.
The Monkees officially broke up as a band in 1970.
But in 1986, MTV ran a marathon of Monkees TV episodes, igniting a fevered revival resulting in a sold-out arena tour and renewed record sales. At one point during this period, seven of the group’s legendary albums sat on the Billboard charts at once.
Davy Jones has left behind an immeasurable mark on music and pop culture history. As a member of The Monkees, Davy has brightened people’s lives for nearly 50 years. From their debut and the ensuing Monkee-mania of the ’60s, to their extraordinary revival in the ’80s, it’s clear that Davy and his music has made an impact on more than just one generation.
RIP Davy Jones … and thank you.