In the sixties there were two Davy Jones. Both were pretty, one became David Bowie and the other stayed the same. The Davy Jones we all grew to love teamed up with three others and The Monkees were born.
The Monkees defined what pop music was all about, something to have and to hold and to cherish. A part of our youth and a part of why we are alive. To have fun! We bought their records, we saw them play and we (well some of us) screamed with hysteria at the mere sight of them on a stage. It wasn’t just Beatle Mania back then there was a mania that erupted whenever there was something we adored. Pop music enriched our lives, it did make us happy. When that signature tune rang out, “Hey, hey we’re The Monkees’ we just knew we were in for a fun time. The Monkees made us happy, they made everyone happy. And now the sweetest Monkee of them all Davy Jones has passed and a little piece of our past has….passed. That happiness is now tinged with a little sadness and the most wonderful of memories.
Unlike most bands of the time, the Monkees were not formed by its members but by TV producers for a fictional band for their TV show of the same name. They formulated an idea for a show about a Beatles-like band then put ads in newspapers seeking musicians to star in the series. The band, all with some musical background was composed of Mike Nesmith, Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Peter Tork. Although Davy was seen as the front man he was mainly a backing vocalist, chosen more for his pretty boy looks while the drummer, Mickey Dolenz took the lead vocal in most of their more popular songs.
The show debuted on NBC in 1966 and was a huge success, yet the band lasted only four years. The show went on to become their nemesis, they had no artistic control or say in anything that went on in the show. They weren’t aloud to write or play anything original and their only function was to turn up and fool around. They were just The Monkeys, monkeying around. They began to hate it.
By 1967 The Monkees had become the most popular band in the US and by 1968 they were already straining for any ounce of credibility. Starring in the bizarre psychedelic movie ‘Head’ the TV series came to a close that same year and the Monkees broke up soon after. They had made such an impact that their legacy remains to this day and the recent passing of Davy Jones has re ignited the fondness and affection that we all felt. We loved having fun and they were the perfect embodiment of that. If they didn’t particularly enjoy the ride they never let us know and for that we are eternally grateful. Pop music today is quintessentially manufactured by those behind the scenes but stand any of Simon Cowell’s proteges up against The Monkees and their combined careers won’t add up to the a slice of the legacy The Monkees left us.