Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hey, hey, he was a Monkee!

Sad news today that Davy Jones of "The Monkees" has died at the age of 66, much too young.

I am of an age to be able to remember the Monkees when they were hot back in the 1960s. The concept for the group was dreamed up by the publicity department at Columbia. The four young guys - in addition to Jones, Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesbith - were sort of a poor girl's Beatles. They starred in a popular television show called, oddly enough, "The Monkees" in which they had all manner of madcap G-rated adventures every week, patterned somewhat on the Beatles' Hard Day's Night. They were supposed to be something of an antidote to the Beatles' more R-rated adventures, and fans absolutely loved them.

Of course, they were never as big as the Beatles, but for a while, they reigned atop the television world and managed to produce some pretty decent music in the process. They were trailblazers in the sense that they were among the first, if not the first, of the manufactured boy bands - groups that were deliberately put together to appeal to a specific demographic consisting mostly of preteen girls.

Each member of the band had a particular role to play. Davy Jones was the cute little (he had formerly been a jockey) heartthrob, a sort of Paul McCartney type. He played his part well and after the Monkees broke up, he continued as a single act and later did some acting on other television shows. All in all, he had a moderately successful, if not blockbuster, career, brought pleasure to thousands of fans, and lived out his later life in some obscurity, probably quite happily.

I have fond memories of the Monkees and of Davy Jones. It is sad to see him leaving us, as so many others of that era, my youth, have already done. Time marches inexorably on. Doesn't mean we have to like it.

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