R.I.P. Davy Jones

I always used to wonder if The Monkees’ Davy Jones would be buried at sea for the hilarity of Davy Jones resting in Davey Jones’ locker. That seems less hilarious at the moment, since Jones actually passed away today.

You kids probably don’t care, but I’m just old enough to be moved. I’m not old enough to remember The Monkees when they were together, but they were in heavy television syndication (leading up to a really misbegotten reunion album and the even more misbegotten New Monkees) when I was in elementary school and junior high, so I watched them a lot after school. Even back then I recognized the fact that they were a strange attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Beatles; Davy, I suppose, was meant to be the Paul proxy (i.e. the “cute” one). Mike was the faux John (the intellectual), Peter was the imitation Ringo (dopey looking), and Mickey was George, I guess (secretly the most talented one? I dunno).

I suppose The Monkees were the first manufactured boy band, assembled for looks more than talent — though it turned out they actually did have varying degrees of musical talent and eventually pressured their record label to let them write and perform their own music. It’s like if 98 Degrees were actually Milli Vanilli but secretly were competent rockers.

There is, however, no excuse for those crazy striped pants Jones wore on occasion.

The Monkees weren’t essential listening or anything, but they produced (or were produced in) some lighthearted and enjoyable ’60s pop rock. And their TV show was amusing in a Batman-esque trying-too-hard sense. When I think of the show, I always remember this one specific episode where Jones walked into a music shop and said, “I am looking for a pair of red maracas,” which turned out to be a pass phrase for some Russian spies who then inducted the band into a hilarious comedy of errors. “Hilarious,” I mean.

I think I’m going to go listen to “Daydream Believer” now. Or maybe just watch that salad dressing commercial where they clearly wanted to license “Pleasant Valley Sunday” but couldn’t get the rights and ended up creating a ridiculously transparent fake version of the song.

Rest in peace, Mr. Jones, whether or not that resting place happens to be in the ocean.

8 thoughts on “R.I.P. Davy Jones

  1. The Monkees had some really good songwriters behind the scenes. I only ever saw a a few episodes on syndication, but I remember they made me laugh, which is just about the best thing anyone can do.

  2. Before I had the ability to choose my own music, I grew up listening to my parent’s music. Which meant a heavy rotation of the pop hits from the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s. So I associate Monkees songs with the innocent days of my childhood. It’s a good association.

  3. Hearing this yesterday made me ALMOST want to get into the record cabinet at your grandparent’s house to look for all my Monkee albums. (I loaned them to dad and for some reason they never made the move north with me.) Of course that would mean moving all the dolls and plushies your aunt has piled on it off. Not happening without major help. :D

    Another reminder of my misspent youth gone. ***sigh***

  4. This hit me surprisingly hard as well. Never being very invested in the music scene or its history. I was educated purely by what was put before me: the oldies radio station and The Monkees on syndication. For me they’ve always loomed much larger in my mind than their talent or place in history warrants. I suppose I have always been a believer in them…

  5. “…that salad dressing commercial where they clearly wanted to license “Pleasant Valley Sunday” but couldn’t get the rights and ended up creating a ridiculously transparent fake version of the song.”

    I believe you are speaking of a HIDDEN VALLEY RANCH spot with the kids gleefully drizzling ranch slop all over vegetables at some ranch carnival. I thought the same thing when I saw that. It seems weird they couldn’t get a Monkees song for their ad but I suppose maybe Carol King owns the rights…

    • Pleasant Valley Sunday showed up in another commercial recently, so that’s why I assumed the rights were wrapped up already.

    • Yeah, the Monkees had Frank Zappa on twice, so they must have been pretty cool fellas.

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