Info for Students » Uncategorized

The Monkees' Davy Jones is dead at 66

Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees and one of the biggest teen idols of the 1960s, died Wednesday from a heart attack. He was 66. His death was reported by his publicist, Helen Kensick, and confirmed by Christine Weekes, the administrative manager for the medical examiner’s office in Fort Pierce, Florida, near the Martin Memorial Hospital South where Jones had been taken. A diminutive singer with a larger-than-life stage charisma, Jones was a frequent visitor to San Diego over the years, both with The Monkees and as a solo artist. His most recent performance here was a New Year’s Eve show with his own band at the San Diego Convention Center, where he headlined the the San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation’s 2nd annual Firefighters’ Ball. “He looked fantastic and was full of energy and all over the stage,” said Wendy Robinson, the foundation’s executive director. “He and his band stayed at the ball after their set. We had a second band and Davy and his band danced and partied with us.” A native of Manchester, England, Jones began his career as a child actor and starred as the Artful Dodger in a London production of “Oliver!” He became a pop superstar in 1966 after being cast as the lead singer in “The Monkees,” a U.S. TV series inspired in part by The Beatles’ movie “A Hard Day’s Night.” The band, whose other members were all Americans, scored 11 Top 40 hits between 1966 and 1968, including the chart-topping “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer” and “Daydream Believer” (which was written by San Diego native John Stewart, shortly before he left the Kingston Trio to launch a solo career). While The Monkees were dismissed by critics as the Pre-Fab Four, the group’s upbeat music and perky personalities resonated with millions of Americans teens and tweens in the 1960s. A homogenized version of the Fab Four, the Monkees were created to cash in on the lucrative youth market that exploded in the wake of the Liverpool-led “English Invasion” of the early ’60s. More than 400 actors and musicians, including Stephen Stills, Harry Nilsson and (rumor has it) Charles Manson, auditioned for the coveted roles won by Jones, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz and Michael Nesmith. Despite the fact the Monkees were not a “real” band, the TV series was such a hit that the quartet was soon performing to hordes of teeny-boppers at sold-out concerts across the nation, with Jimi Hendrix briefly touring as the group’s opening act. With their TV series providing invaluable exposure for “I’m a Believer,” “Daydream Believer” and other Monkees’ songs written by Stewart, Neil Diamond, and other leading tunesmiths of the day, the group earned nine consecutive Top 20 singles — and heated criticism that they were merely pop pretenders. “It was more than a TV show. It touched a lot of people very deeply; it was a part of their growing up. It gave a lot of young girls heartthrobs to look up to and fantasize about, and it kept them out of trouble. It was a very wholesome, boy-next-door thing, and there are a lot of people who thank us for helping bring up their kids.”

Comments are closed.