By Gary P Jackson
Sad news. Actor and rock and roll star Davy Jones has passed away. He died of a massive heart attack in his sleep at his Indiantown, Florida home. Davy is survived by his wife Jessica and four daughters. He was 66.
Most of us know Davy from his time with The Monkees, a fictional musical group created for television that turned into a real band, but before The Monkees he had a solid acting career.
Beginning at the age of 11, Jones found steady work on stage and TV. When Davy was 14 his mother died, and he left acting to train as a jockey with Basil Foster. During casting for the London production of Oliver Foster was approached by a friend who worked on the production. Foster reportedly said “I’ve got just the kid!” Jones was cast as the Artful Dodger and played both London and Broadway. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance.
On February 9, 1964, the same night The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, Davy along with the cast of Oliver were also on the show.
Following his Ed Sullivan appearance, Ward Sylvester of Screen Gems [then the television division of Columbia Pictures] signed Jones to a contract. A pair of American television appearances followed, as Jones received screen time in episodes of Ben Casey and The Farmer’s Daughter. He also recorded a single and album for Colpix Records, which charted but were not huge hits.
Screen Gems would go on to produce The Monkees TV show.
While on tour with The Monkees Davy discovered the Austin, Texas based group The Children and along with Eirik Wangberg co-produced them. A single was released on Laramie Records Picture Me. It shot all the way up the Billboard charts to number two:
As we all know, The Monkees would eventually break up. After that, Davy would go on to make guest appearances on many popular shows including The Brady Bunch, My Two Dads, Love,American Style, SpongeBoB SquarePants, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and many more.
From Love, American Style:
In 2008 Yahoo named Davy the “Number 1 Teen Idol of All Time.”
Fellow bandmates Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork spoke to TMZ:
Micky Dolenz says he had a feeling something bad was going to happen today … saying he “had bad dreams all night long” … only to later learn about the death of his friend Davy Jones.
Dolenz released a statement moments ago … saying, “Can’t believe it…Still in shock…had bad dreams all night long.“
In a separate statement, Dolenz added — “I am in a state of shock … The time we worked together and had together is something I’ll never forget. He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart. The memories have and will last a lifetime. My condolences go out to his family.”
Monkees bassist Peter Tork also released a statement about Jones which reads:
“It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones.
His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family.
Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy.”
Growing up in the 60’s, I was just at the right age when The Monkees hit TV. The show was fun, and the music, written by the likes of Neil Diamond, Carol King, and of course Tommy Boyce and Booby Hart, still sounds fresh today. What was a simple marketing idea for a TV show turning into much more.
Though Michael Nesmith would eventually go his own way, Davy, Micky, and Peter would tour off and on over the years. Their last tour, celebrating the 45th anniversary of The Monkees, aptly named An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour visited the UK, The United States, and Canada. The tour ran from May-July of 2011.
I could go on for days about the fond memories of days gone by and how much I love the music these four cats made. I guess the best way to celebrate David Jones’ life and times is to share some music and videos:
When two teen idols met: In an episode called Everywhere a Sheik, Sheik, Davy starred with singer, actress Donna Loren:
Every red blooded male loved Donna who sang in the various Frankie and Annette “beach” movies of the day. This is from Beach Blanket Bingo:
The Monkees were one of the first rock bands to add a Moog synthesizer to their music:
Before MTV, there was The Monkees! In fact, the music/skit portion of the show would be copied far and wide. Even the Saturday morning cartoon shows copied the idea.
In fact Michael Nesmith is often called the “Godfather of MTV” because he produced a half-hour pilot for a music video show that was gonna be called Pop Clips. The series was never made, but Nesmith sold the rights to Time-Warner, which tweaked the idea and spawned MTV.
Davy wrote [and co-wrote] several dozen songs, including this from the album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, and Jones LTD, which he co-wrote with Kim Capli, Eddie Brick, & Charlie Rocket:
Here’s Davy a few years back on the O’Reilly Factor. They are discussing the situation regarding the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.
Davy Jones was a true icon and by all accounts a stand up guy. He will be truly missed.
Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.