Thursday, March 1, 2012

Remembering Davy Jones

I am in a state of shock; Davy and I grew up together and shared in the unique success of what became The Monkees phenomena.  The time we worked together and had together is something I'll never forget. He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart. The memories have and will last a lifetime. My condolences go out to his family.  I can’t believe it … still in shock … had bad dreams all night long. My love and prayers go out to Davy’s girls and family right now.” 
-- Micky Dolenz
It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones.  His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family. Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy.
-- Peter Tork

All the lovely people.  Where do they all come from?  
So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, 
I don’t know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or … strange, this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about. I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don’t exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity. That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane. David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.
-- Michael Nesmith

God bless Davy.  Peace & love to his family.
-- Ringo Starr

Lost a good mate today, but refuse to be morbid, because I know Davy Jones would want us to celebrate his great energy and talent.
-- Peter Noone  

The big news yesterday, of course, was the passing of Davy Jones ... and I can honestly say that there's still a little bit of numbness and state of shock lingering this morning.  

I first heard the news around Noon ... an hour later I got a DeathBeeper notice ... their link offers some nice photos of Davy and video of his last concert, where he looked and sounded fine.
Many, many years ago, I remember telling Micky and Davy after a show in Indiana one time (during a post-concert "meet and greet"), "You're the reason I play music."  They looked at me kind of strangely ... I mean, at first they were simply hired to PLAY a band on TV ... not actually BE one ... but it was true.
Sure, I flipped for The Beatles and The British Invasion first ... but I was only ten years old when The Beatles hit and made their mark ... and playing music never really crossed my mind at that early age.
But a couple of years later when I saw The Monkees on TV ... and how much FUN they were having ...or at least SEEMED to be having ... (I know now that it was all scripted and "that's why they call it acting" ... but SOME of it had to be fun, didn't it?!?!?) ... I knew then that I wanted to share in that enjoyment of the camaraderie of playing music with my like-thinking mates and making people happy.  (The cold hard facts indicate that most of these musicians really couldn't STAND each other after a while ... some liken it to being harder than a marriage ... and, in fact, far fewer survive!)  But it sure LOOKED and SOUNDED like fun!!!
By 1966 - 1967, The Beatles were getting into their experimental phase ... I was too young to get it.  (Besides I subscribe to the whole drug culture that seemed to go along with it ... clearly they weren't inspired in quite the same way anymore!)
And, naive as I was, it never dawned on me that The Monkees ... playing simple, catchy "pop" music ... were partying just as hearty and partaking in every bit as much of this "outside inspiration"!!!  Think about it ... as a band on TV, they were a failure ... they couldn't get the gigs ... they couldn't pay the rent ... they couldn't fall (and stay in love) ... yet somehow through it all we still rooted for our celluloid heroes week after week.
And we LOVED the music ... couldn't get enough of it.  It was like Beatlemania all over again ... everywhere you looked, everywhere you turned, the music of The Monkees was there ... kind of like TODAY when the news spread of Davy's death.  
The notices came in fast and furious after that ... seemed like every email was Davy-related ... every web page, radio station and television station carried the sad news.
It was just SO unexpected.
Peter's cancer scare a couple of years ago brought home the reality that these guys weren't going to be with us forever ... but then the 45th Anniversary Reunion Tour kicked off and everything looked good again.  (Sure, there were mysterious reports surrounding the abrupt, end of the tour ... but we'd grown to expect that, hadn't we?!?!?)
We got close to 200 emails and notices about Davy's passing today ... and we certainly can't run them all ... but here are some of the first comments and notices that we received ... indulge us for a few moments longer as we remember all the happiness that Davy Jones and The Monkees gave us today.
One of the biggest reasons for the long-lasting popularity of The Monkees is the fact that you didn't necessarily have to experience The Monkees first hand to enjoy the show and the music ... it's virtually NEVER been off the air.  (When M-TV started airing episodes in the '80's, The Pre-Fab Four's first four albums went back on the charts again ... and a comeback single "That Was Then, This Is Now" climbed the charts.)  Literally every generation to come along since the show first aired on NBC back in 1966 have come to discover the good-time feel of The Monkees ...  thanks to television, it's like they've never aged ... but of course they HAVE ... we ALL have ... but watching the old episodes and listening to the old tunes take us back to a happier, far more innocent time ... and, simply put ... it makes us FEEL good!  We'll miss you, Davy!  (kk)

What a shock to hear of the untimely death of Davy Jones. I remember when I was in my 20's being in love with him. I have all their albums and watched their tv show. May Davy Rest in Peace.

CBS news just reported the death of Davy Jones.  I can't believe it.  We were going to go see him in Wisconsin Dells on March 11th.
Phil Nee - WRCO

Another tragic news release ... Davy Jones, dead at 66.
I just wish whoever wrote this piece knew something about the history or rock and roll. They referred to The Monkees as a British rock band. Davy was the only Brit.
Only a few bands seemed to have members so uniquely different that each member had his own individual fan base as well as folks who were fans of the entire group. The Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and The Monkees seemed to epitomize that. And its pretty fair to say, Davy -- like Paul, Dennis and Mick--had the majority of screaming fans.
It is also a shame that Davy was robbed of living to see The Monkees' eventual induction into the Rock & Roll hall of Fame.
RIP, Davy ... your music lives on.
Fred / Treasure Isle
It is kind of surreal to see Rolling Stone cover Davy's death as today's "Breaking Story" ... front page coverage ... the whole nine yards ... when for so many years Publisher Jann Wenner has been singled out as being the main stumbling block to The Monkees taking their rightful place in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.  Pretty sad, too, to see a reputable news source refer to The Monkees as "a British band" ... I cannot help but wonder if it was Mike Nesmith's accent that threw them!!!  (kk)

My heart is broken right now.  Davy Jones was a wonderfully talented performer, no matter what critics of the Monkees and their musical ability say.  The Monkees mean so much to me.  When I felt low and felt like a loser after being treated badly by my classmates for being 'different' (gay), when my parents treated me as less than human (at times),when life overall just got to be too much, or when I was just in the mood for happiness, the Monkees and Davy Jones always made me feel happy, which to me is a sign of great music and great talent.  I have watched their shows hundreds of times and I never tire of them.  To hear Davy sing "Daydream Believer" always makes me smile.  Along with The Beatles and David Bowie, the Monkees will always be one of my fave bands (and, yes, Virginia, they did become a real band).  Who didn't have a crush on him in the 60's?  I regret that I never got to see him live on stage.  In this day of histrionic over-singers and too cheesy for words poptwat creations that spell nothing but making $$$, the Monkees rose above their critics and synthetic origins to become true classics of music.  Thank you so much, Mr. Jones, for everything you brought into my life, and you will be missed so much.  Later.
Ed Pond
I know what a HUGE Davy fan you were ... I think we ALL appreciate him a little bit more today.  I was fortunate enough to have seen various group and solo shows over the years ... probably at least 20-25 times in all ... always a guaranteed fun night out.
Frannie commented that Davy always seemed so much younger than he was ... so full of life.  Every kid (and I mean EVERY kid ... male OR female!) who grew up with pictures of Davy Jones on their walls had a little piece of their lives taken away today.  Sad news.  (kk)

Wow ... wasn't the Davy Jones death a shock!!!

I think the Forgotten Hits gang will like this.
Here is Dan Taylor's last interview with Davy Jones.
Frank B.  

Click here: Davy Jones & the Monkees Through the Years [Photos]#photo-1      

Sucks about Davy Jones ... he wasn't that old ... I hate how we are losing so many of our beloved artists ... getting older is no fun.

Davy Jones -- Manchester, England-born lead singer with the Monkees -- died Wednesday (February 29) after suffering a heart attack at his home in Stuart, Florida. He was 66. Davy's career began as an actor at age 11, appearing in the British soap, "Coronation Street." Though he trained as a jockey, it was his performance in London's production of "Oliver!" that brought him to America to reprise his role on Broadway as the Artful Dodger and begin a life of music. Davy appeared with the rest of the "Oliver!" cast on the "Ed Sullivan Show" on CBS-TV the same night the Beatles premiered and reportedly said to himself in the wings, "I want a piece of that." Garnering a recording contract with Colpix Records (as David Jones and to little success at the time), he answered an ad along with 400 other hopefuls for a role in NBC-TV's answer to the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night." Davy was chosen as one of "The Monkees" - along with Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. The show aired for three seasons and gave us nine top 40 hits, including the Davy-led "Daydream Believer" (#1- 1967), "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" (#2 - 1967) and "Valleri" (#3 - 1968). Other hits included "Last Train To Clarksville" (#1 - 1966), "I'm A Believer" (#1 - 1966) and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" (#3 - 1967). Unjustly referred to as the "Prefab Four" (mainly because studio musicians were used on many of their recordings despite the boys' backgrounds in music), the group moved on to make the psychedelic movie "Head" before drifting apart in the late '60s and early '70s. Davy revived his solo career with "Rainy Jane" (#52 - 1971) but non-Monkees hits eluded him. He appeared with Micky in Harry Nilson's "The Point" onstage in London in 1978 and the two reunited with Peter for a 20th anniversary tour that led to an unexpected top twenty hit again in 1986 with "That Was Then, This Is Now." Since then, he appeared in acting and singing solo roles while occasionally joining in reunions, including one in 1996 and one just last year (despite what appeared to be a bitter feud with Micky).
-- Ron Smith 

What a shock!
Boy this is sad news, especially for all of us that grew up with him and the Monkees. I got a chance to meet Davy and spend some time with him for a few minutes with a radio interview, he was a Gentle-Man, a great actor ... and one of my favorite Monkees!
RIP Davy Jones
"Wild" Bill Cody   

And I thought love was only true in fairy tales.
The legend of the Monkees is that they didn't write their own songs, they didn't play their own instruments, the whole think was fake.
The Monkees were the first indication that we'd won. That the old guard, the establishment, our parents, were no longer in control. We had our own sitcom on TV. Featuring our music. That was a gigantic breakthrough.
But what was even better was the music was great! In the case of "I'm A Believer", spectacular! Credit the songwriters, credit the delivery, but never forget it was a band, which came together through obtuse circumstances, like so many, but went on to not only create music, but stay together, even after their eponymous television show had been canceled.
And Micky Dolenz might have sung most of the songs.
But Davy was the front man, he was the cute one, he was the one the girls swooned for, the one we wanted to be.
Even better, he had a sense of humor about himself. He was funny back then, and knew he'd lived a charmed life until it all ended today.
"Here we come
Walk down the street
We get the funniest looks
From everyone we meet"
There's not a baby boomer alive who does not know "(Theme From) The Monkees". This was not a Justin Bieber sideshow, the Monkees had more impact than Mr. Bieber or Lady Gaga. They were ubiquitous in a three network world where we were addicted to the radio when we weren't in front of the tube.
There are classic album openers, like "Gimmie Shelter" and "Back In The U.S.S.R.", and "(Theme From) The Monkees" is a member of this club. You're hooked from the initial drumbeat. And unlike modern hip-hop culture, the listener didn't feel excluded, put down by the group, but invited in.
But the hit was "Last Train To Clarksville". It played all fall until... "I'm A Believer" took over and owned the airwaves, through Christmas and beyond.
A magical track, "I'm A Believer" pivoted on Micky Dolenz's breathy vocals, but we didn't see it as a solo cut, but a masterpiece by the Monkees. It still puts a smile on my face today. I played it incessantly back then. I have never ever burned out on it. In a pre-Internet era where we didn't have our music on demand, you listened to the radio until they played your favorite song and then you went out and bought it.
Which I did.
I even bought the songbook, so I could play the songs at home, on my guitar. Not because I thought I was gonna be rich and famous, but because I wanted to share in the joy.
And I'm stunned how joyful I feel when I hear "Pleasant Valley Sunday" today. I'd given up at this point, as you often do. I bought the first three albums and then dropped out, but years later I realized I was wrong, this was a killer track.
But, once again, Davy did not sing the lead vocal.
But not only did Davy carry the hit "Daydream Believer", he sang "I Wanna Be Free", "This Just Doesn't Seem To Be My Day" and "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)", which were as big as the hits to we who wore out these vinyl records.
I saw Davy twice in recent years. Once at the Pollstar Awards, where he demonstrated the aforementioned sense of humor about himself and last summer at the Greek, as part of the Monkees reunion.
At Pollstar, Davy talked about being a fading, aged rock star. The bills for college. He mocked his height, or lack thereof. And was essentially shilling for work, that's why you present at the Pollstar Awards.
At the Greek, the band played all the hits, we reveled in the memories. They showed video, we marveled over who we once were. It was thrilling, but shortly thereafter they broke up once again and the rest of the tour was canceled.
And that's the story of rock and roll, of being a fan. We want our bands to last forever. But they almost never do. The alchemy is so fragile. But the music remains. We put our faith in it. It keeps us going.
Such that when one of its purveyors passes to the other side, we're shocked. We thought they'd be here forever, with us, like the music. We looked up to them. If they're old and gray and pass away, what is to happen to us?
I don't know if Davy Jones went to the doctor. If he adhered to his prescription. In any event, he's now gone. He was a thread, however thin, to what once was, my formative years, I didn't have a bad memory about him. But if he goes, that means I'm next.
Yes, we baby boomers are heading into our sunset years. And as we're shuffled off the horizon, they want to rewrite our history.
Let it be said that we were mad about the Monkees. Their music stands the test of time. They were trailblazers. They were not hula-hoops, used briefly and then discarded with disdain, but a group of four men we embraced warmly. They let Jimi Hendrix open for them. They created one of the first psychedelic films. Hell, to get "Head" you've got to be high on drugs. It was co-written by Jack Nicholson before anyone knew who he was. Don't pigeonhole the Monkees as a trifle, as a mere footnote, as puppets. With their television show on the air it showed us not only that we had won, but the music was the decisive weapon in our battle. Soon bands like the Jefferson Airplane would be testing limits, we'd all gather at Woodstock and blow the mainstream's mind.
We owned the country. It was now ours.
And it would have happened slower, and it would have been different without the Monkees.
Great songs, great performances ... If that ain't the essence of music, I don't know what is.
Davy, we'll never forget you.
-- Bob Lefsetz   

Locally, Antenna TV has pulled out all the stops and will be running a non-stop Monkees Marathon this weekend ... EVERY episode of the television series back-to-back, along with the band's 1968 film "Head" will air this weekend beginning at Noon.
Full details can be found here:

Finally, some tunes you may not hear on the radio today ... but great Davy tracks nevertheless. 
Davy's biggest Monkees hits were his three #1 Records, "Daydream Believer", "Valleri" and "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You".  (Micky Dolenz sang their other #1 Hits, "Last Train To Clarksville" and "I'm A Believer".)  But thanks to their television series, many of their album tracks also received regular radio airplay, too ... in fact, some of these played as often as many of the hit singles currently in rotation at the time!  Here are a few of my favorites:

From Davy's Official Website:
It is with the deepest sadness that Davy's family has announced that he passed away on February 29th.  Jessica has lost a devoted husband, and Talia, Sarah, Jessica and Annabel a loving father, while Harrison, Lauren and Phoenix have lost a proud grandfather.  His sisters in England -- Hazel, Beryl, and Lynda -- have lost their brother.
While we are deeply saddened by our loss, we give thanks and find comfort in our memories.
Davy loved to laugh each day, and we know he would want his fans to remember him with laughter and not tears.  You all meant such a lot to him.
If we listen a little harder we will hear him singing with the angels tonight.  Our wish for him is that he sleep tight -- we will always be with him.