Thursday, March 1, 2012

davy jones, rip

Before I say anything, let me turn it over to Micky Dolenz:

I find myself at a loss as to how to discuss Davy Jones' death. What to say about it.

It's no secret that I'm a big Monkees fan. And Davy Jones was, in many ways, the iconic Monkee -- the first one who comes to most people's mind, and the face that seems to represent the group. And because of that, there are a bunch of articles and Youtube videos that identify him as the Monkees' frontman or as their lead singer.

To be sure, Jones did sing lead on some songs -- most notably on "Daydream Believer." But to the extent that there was one person who could be called the lead singer, it would be Micky Dolenz, who sang lead on "Last Train to Clarksville" and "I'm a Believer." Frontman? I think it's hard to say there was a definitive frontman, though I guess if I had to name one it would be Davy.

That's not because of his singing or his musical ability, but because he was cute. And he had the British accent. He, more than the others, made the girls go ape. And so he, more than the others, became the defining face of the Monkees. But of the four, I think he ranks third (behind Dolenz and Mike Nesmith) in terms of importance to the Monkees sound and style. But maybe without him the TV show wouldn't have taken off, and the music (directed by Don Kirshner, who was the real creative mind behind the music early on) wouldn't have sold, and the Monkees wouldn't have ever become a real band. So maybe he was the crucial element, just for that.

Davy had charisma, and a good sense of timing as a singer. But he was not a rocker. He was a song and dance man with a background in (and, I can only assume, a love for) musical theatre. To me he never seemed right singing rock and roll.

This isn't coming out as a eulogy. And maybe that's proper. I'm just trying to get across my conflicting thoughts and feelings. But I never knew Davy Jones. I never had a relationship with him. So I can't talk about what a nice guy he was. I want to, because his death does sadden me (more on that in a bit), but to do so would be dishonest. That's why I included the video above. Micky Dolenz knew him and has the standing to talk about him. I suppose I can go into the customary discussion of what a great talent he was. But others are doing that. So instead I'll post some videos below, with some comments.

So I'm back to the fact that I am saddened by his death. I watch the videos of him and think "this guy is dead." And since he was a childhood idol, this is a reminder that I am no longer a child. I'm no longer a young adult. Yesterday, after hearing the news I said to my boss "I'm officially old." Maybe that's too strong, but Davy Jones' death makes me feel that way.

So now, a few videos to reminisce:
Davy was the Artful Dodger in the cast of Oliver! on Broadway. Here, the cast appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Coincidentally, this was the same episode that introduced the Beatles to America.

Davy does a screen test for the Monkees.

The video for "Daydream Believer" from the TV show.

The video for "Valleri" from the TV show.
Davy doing what he did best -- a song and dance routine for "Daddy's Song" from the Monkees' movie, Head

After the TV show was cancelled and the group broke up, Davy's star was sinking. He appeared as a guest on The Brady Bunch
An attempt at reuniting the Monkees for their tenth anniversary resulted in Dolenz, Jones, Biyce and Hart. This is the video for "I remember the Feeling"
Consumate performer that he was, Davy never let high winds stop a show.
 Davy evades the question of whether The Monkees should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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