The news is just an hour old as I write this: Davy Jones of The Monkees dead at 66 of a massive heart attack. Those of us at work who remember him well are stunned. How did that cute boy get to be 66, and how could he be gone? With no real outlet for our grief, a co-worker and I sang a few verses of “Daydream Believer.”
In 1966, The Monkees were a heavily hyped manufactured group and I was prepared to “hate” them as only a 13-year-old can. Then I saw Davy ... and Peter Tork. Peter was cute, and I eventually settled on him, but Davy had a British accent. In those days, that’s all it took.
Of course, I loved The Beatles, but I was 14 and by October 1966, The Beatles were getting a little threatening to a teenie bopper. With the wilder hair, crazy shades and drug rumors, John, Paul, George and Ringo were moving beyond my comfort zone. I caught back up in a couple of years when the entire culture changed, but in ’66, at least in Atlanta, the revolution hadn’t gotten off the ground. So, The Monkees, particularly Davy, seemed relatively clean cut, altogether safe and funny.
Strangely, I will always associate Davy Jones with Euripides’ play “Alcestis,” (I’m pretty sure that was the one) staged by the Sandy Springs High School Thespian Society shortly after “The Monkees” premiered on NBC.
I had a nonspeaking role, playing a mourner at Alcestis’ funeral, I believe. The wearing of a sheet would be involved, and my stick-thin (think Angelina-Jolie) arms would be exposed to ridicule. I wasn’t altogether thrilled.
To make matters worse, rehearsals were held the same night “The Monkees” came on. I couldn’t tear myself away from the TV long enough to show up, and, after three weeks, the director replaced me. Not having the heart to ban me altogether, he let me do make up, which involved applying pancake and eye shadow to pimply 15-year-olds.
Unless I threw them out in the last great moving purge, I still have my Monkees albums boxed up along with Paul Revere & the Raiders and The Association. Bless my mother, she never complained when I played “Daydream Believer” or “I Wanna Be Free” ( a song I had forgotten until today) over and over and over again.
At school, I fastened my attention on a boy who vaguely resembled Davy Jones. (I checked my yearbook, and he did, a bit.)
Les didn’t dance and he didn’t have a British accent, so my infatuation quickly waned.
By the time “The Monkees” went off the air in 1968, I was a very different girl. Davy Jones and Peter Tork were for kids, though I have to admit to a certain excitement and jealousy when Davy appeared on “The Brady Bunch” in 1971.
In that episode, he took Marcia Brady to her prom, fulfilling the ultimate teen fantasy.
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. Where has our darling boy gone?
Jan Hearne is Tempo editor for the Johnson City Press. Reach her a firstname.lastname@example.org.