What a day. What a depressing day.
Davy Jones died today.
I know what you’re all thinking: “Get a grip, Rick…it’s Davy Jones…it’s not like it was anyone big.”
And you’re all wrong. Davy Jones was very big. He had a big life. As a child, he trained to be a jockey. As a young man, he performed on Broadway. In his 20’s, he became a fixture on television and in the music industry as a member of the Monkees. You can make fun of the Monkees all you want, but they did some damn good songs. They got a lot of heat at the time because of the unconventional way they became a band. Critics slammed them because they didn’t play their own instruments on the first two albums. Guess what…most of the biggest groups of the time didn’t play their own instruments on their albums. They were passed off as bubblegum music for teenagers. Personally, I would put “Headquarters” or “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD” or “The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees” right up there with some of the best albums of the 60s. In fact, I often list “Pisces” in my top ten albums of all time.
Davy Jones was an important part of pop culture. But I’m not depressed because I feel that the world lost a great performer. I’m bummed because I lost a voice that could instantly take me back to an important part of my life.
It was small town living at its best. My entire world was anyplace I could get to on my blue stingray. I wasn’t scared of anything, because I felt like every single person in that town was looking out for me. My biggest decisions were what I would do with my dollar allowance that I received every Saturday morning…and that my brother and I had spent by Saturday afternoon. The dilemma usually boiled down to one thing…would we each spend our dollar to buy a record (we had a huge 45 collection) or would we put our money together to buy a model car? Big decision, right? Many times, that allowance money went toward buying Monkees records, because we watched the show all the time, and each week the show would feature a new song.
Tonight, when I got home from work, the kids and I watched a few Monkees episodes after I told them the news (yeah, they’re fans, as you’ll see in a moment). It immediately took my mind to an image of our living room on Mary Street, and our black & white Admiral TV in the corner. I could see my brother and I sitting on the gold sculptured carpeting, laughing out loud, and wondering aloud which one of the Monkees we would want to be. There was no job stress…no worries about paying bills…no concerns about kids and whether I’ll be able to put three of them through college…no outrageous gas prices…no health concerns…none of the things that currently plague my mind on a daily basis.
At that point in time, it was just Davy, Mickey, Peter and Mike playing music, acting crazy, and making me laugh.
I saw Davy perform a couple of times, in the early 90’s with Mickey and Peter, and at a solo gig just a few years ago. That night, we met Davy after the show. He was very friendly, very outgoing, and was gracious enough to chat with fans and sign autographs. The next day, my wife was at the mall with our kids, just doing some random shopping…and there was Davy Jones! She introduced herself, said she had been at the show, and introduced our kids. Again, he was very friendly, shook hands with each of the kids and even gave my wife a hug. He knew that he wasn’t a McCartney, or even a Ringo for that matter. He was just Davy Jones.
Even though he was 66 when he passed today, I think most of us will always picture him as a young Monkee with the long hair and British accent. I’ll always picture him on my black & white TV in my house on Mary Street, with my brother and me singing and laughing along with him.
For those memories, Davy Jones, I am eternally grateful.