David Thomas “Davy” Jones was the prototypical 60’s teen idol. Dreamy and wholesome looking, Jones rode the pre-Woodstock, post-Beatles wave to superstardom as a member of the seminal TV show “The Monkees”. A blatant rip off of Beatles mojo, “The Monkees” was meant to incorporate a “Hard Day’s Night” look and feel and it was deemed appropriate viewing for children from 1966 through 1968. All I knew then was The Monkees were funny, I liked the music and my sisters and every girl I knew was in love with Davy Jones.
Dismissed initially as the “Pre-Fab Four”, it took years for Jones and the Monkees to escape the teenybopper image they had been saddled with from the beginning. But eventually they came to be viewed as legitimate artists and even innovative ones. I’m not sure of the wisdom of Jimi Hendrix opening for them, but come on; They had Jimi freaking Hendrix open for them! Jones went on to have a long career mostly on the stage in Britain but is forever locked into American pop culture as “the cute one” of the Monkees.
Despite the light tone of the series, it wasn’t all fun and games as the Monkees suffered from the same infighting that plagues most groups of talented people forced to spend time in close proximity to each other. But Jones consistently came around during the second incarnation of the Monkees, sparked by MTV and Nickelodeon re-running the series in the 80’s. With the latest wave of popularity came something Jones and the Monkees had long sought after; respect.
Finally recognized as artists and a legitimate band with unimpeachable 60’s cred, the Monkees toured and even recorded new music although nothing close to their classic standards like “Last Train to Clarksville” or the Jones-led “Daydream Believer”. Frankly, if those two songs alone are the Monkees legacy, that’s more than a lot of groups can say. Jones had his ups and downs with the Monkees, personal conflicts would keep them forever shuffling in and out of each others lives.
But his legacy as a legitimate singer for an iconic 60’s band is now set in stone. The Monkees were talented, they were real and Davy Jones was an integral part of their magic. They played with musical heavyweights like Hendrix, Glenn Campbell, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. Not to mention, the sweet Brady Bunch cameo that had teen girls in the 70’s swooning. Rest in peace, Mr. Jones. Well done, sir.