Davy Jones passed away yesterday from an apparent heart attack. He was only 66 years old. My money was on Peter Tork to go first, so I was especially taken aback by the news.
How ironic that Jones was felled by a heart attack. For a number of years in the late 1960s, it was his boyish good looks, dulcet tones, and charming British accent that induced heart attacks in teenage girls across the civilized world. Famously, he made Marcia Brady’s heart skip a beat on more than one occasion. Now the President of the Davy Jones’ Fan Club has her broken heart in her throat as she mourns the loss of her first and most enduring crush.
Davy Jones is gone. First, John Lennon’s untimely death in 1980 ended the hopes of audiophiles everywhere pining for a Beatles reunion tour. We can safely assume now that a Monkees’ reunion is off the table. We can no longer blame Michael Nesmith for being the lone obstacle to the history making concert event happening in our lifetimes. Clearly, the fault now rests in peace with Davey Jones.
I had always imagined that Davy Jones would die in a boating accident on the open seas. The idea of Davy Jones’ final resting place being Davy Jones’ Locker was too poetic to ignore. Alas, whether by land or by sea, I on the opposite shore will be, saddened to have lost this ‘60s icon too soon.
These days, I am more Arctic Monkeys than The Monkees, but I do encourage my readers to run, not walk, to iTunes (or their favorite online musical storefront) and support the estate of Davy Jones by picking up some of the band’s greatest hits. Their songs are fresh and clean and wholesome in contrast to most of the popular music in the era in which they thrived. Fresh, clean and wholesome are rarely the adjectives associated with music in the late 1960s, but The Monkees were contrarians even as they followed the proven musical formula of a singable melody, a catchy hook, and a 3 minute 30 second structure.
The Monkees and Davy were “groovy” while their pop chart competition was “heavy”. Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane – these acts produced pharmaceutical soundtracks. The Monkees produced sugary songs, and sugar is legal and popular in this country with people of all ages. We could admit to our parents that we were listening to Daydream Believer, but blaring White Rabbit from our Advent speakers might get our hippie asses thrown out of the house.
I will remember that The Monkees were really cool, especially back in their youthful, TV sit-com days. Eventually, they became yesterday’s news, replaced by disco, punk, New Wave, techno, grunge, and hip-hop, styles imminently more cool and modern to the kids. Time provides perspective, and The Monkees have lately been recognized for their unique contribution to pop music, allowing them to tour and be relevant, at least to a loyal, narrow fan base.
I hope that happens to me. As I approach the tender age of 50, I remember when I was really cool (it only lasted a few days for me in the fall of 1981 I think), and I am aware that to my kids, my coolness has been replaced by styles imminently more cool and modern. If there is any justice, time will provide perspective and I will be recognized for my unique contributions, if not to literature, at least to my family, the ultimate loyal and narrow fan base.
Poor Davy Jones. He’s taken that Last Train to Clarksville, and someday, we’ll all meet him at that station, and enjoy an eternal Pleasant Valley Sunday together.
Maybe now The Monkees TV show will get some play on Nick at Nite. I’d like that.