I grew up watching re-runs of the iconic The Monkees TV show. I started in the late 70’s, when they were on after school on our local network. This was back before the days of cable, when people typically received about ten stations (if they were lucky). Kids were willing to watch old shows cause there just weren’t a lot of options out there. Among my possible choices, this was a favorite. A large part of what drew me to the show was the music. While it wasn’t played on the radio during my youth nor could you find their records in the store, I got lucky. I found an old album of theirs when I was about ten and spent one summer forcing friends to listen to it with me.
I was tickled and delighted when they came back into vogue during the 80’s thanks to MTV airing the show once more. The subsequent reunion tour and release of the brand new single That Was Then, This Is Now were icing on the cake for fans. It’s hard to believe that was thirty years ago. Whenever I picture them I still see the four “mop tops” that were on the TV show.
It therefore came as something of a shock last week when Davy Jones died. He had been the real teen idol of the group, his cute face and British accent making him popular with girls everywhere; including famous ones, like Marcia Brady. I loved the episode where he appeared as a guest on The Brady Bunch. ( Thank God for re-runs, eh? I realized as I was typing this that if it weren’t for repeats I would never have seen any of these shows.) It is hard to believe that a crush from my youth could be gone. There is a unique sorrow to it, like a part of my childhood -a part I didn’t even know I was holding on to – had died.
If The Monkees were the voice of anything about their generation it was to not take yourself too seriously and to have fun. Davy Jones especially seemed to exemplify that spirit, always appearing as a laid back, oh so “cool” kind of guy. Even in interviews he was casual and at ease, enjoying himself without effort. I hope wherever he is now, he’s having a great time. Here he is singing the song I will always associate with him, Daydream Believer: