In recent years, Davy Jones of The Monkees would often joke, “I used to a be a heartthrob. Now I’m a coronary.” Those words flashed into my brain and sent chills through my body as I pulled into my driveway while the dj on the radio announced that Davy had died today at age 66 of an apparent heart attack. Well, the Manchester Cowboy always did have a great sense of humor about himself. Not ten seconds later as I opened my back door, the phone rang. It was my dad: “Are you in mourning?”
Those who know me even a little bit or those who have read enough of my blog posts understand that I am a hopelessly devoted fan of The Monkees (for more on this, see Why I Like Bananas). Needless to say, this news of Davy’s death came as a shock. Sure, you know this day comes eventually for everyone, but in today’s day and age, 66 is fairly young to meet your Maker. And for me, the news hit harder than your average celebrity death. In many ways, Davy Jones has been a loyal companion of mine for over 25 years.
But today I also realized one of the reasons Davy and The Monkees are so important to me. THEY made ME memorable…to so many people. As I said, people know I like The Monkees. Why? Well, first of all, I’ll tell anyone who wants to know…and anyone who doesn’t. But it also sticks with people because it is a little unusual for someone my age to love them and to love them so fervently. It is my, shall we say, memorable quirk. Consequently, my Facebook, email, and phone have been blowing up all day. So sad for you. Sorry to hear about Davy. Are you doing okay? I thought of you immediately when I heard. While I immensely appreciate the thoughts of so many, and that they recognize that I would be upset at this news, I can not help but think these sentiments should be reserved for his loved ones, those who knew him. And as much as I would love to claim him as a good buddy, I hardly think getting some pictures and autographs a few times qualifies me as knowing him. Still, I am part of a family of fans who will miss him dearly, and all that he brought to the world…which was a lot.
For that reason, I feel even more blessed to have seen Davy, Micky, and Peter perform together during The Monkees 45th Anniversary Tour last summer (see my Review). The fans all wondered if it would be the last time. No one would have imagined that this would be the reason why. It is unlikely the group will continue touring as a unit without their everlasting teen idol.**
The teen idol. That is how most will remember him, how history will memorialize him. But not me. When I hear the name Davy Jones, I will smile and think of a man who truly loved and appreciated his fans, embraced his image, and did his best to let every devotee have a little piece of him to cherish. And I will always hold near and dear my absolute most favorite memory of Davy:
After seeing him in a solo performance in the mid-nineties, I waited in line to get a picture with him behind a pair of two punk girls, even younger than me. Let me paint the picture: dyed jet black hair, one with a mohawk…thick onyx eyeliner…dressed in oversized black clothing head to toe…one with a bull ring styled nose piercing, which had a chain hanging down and attached to a pinky ring on the OTHER girl’s finger. They had one request of Davy: to lick his elbows. After a charming “you must be joking” expression, Davy resigned and said, “Well, I’ve never been asked to do THAT before.” He rolled up his sleeves and stuck out both his elbows. Each girl had their lick, and walked away. That was that. How could you ever argue that the man did not love his fans? Especially since he apparently “hated his elbows” (as he informed me last summer when I retold that story to him during my meet and greet after the 2011 show).
So rest in peace, Davy Jones. You can surely stand and take your place as a true legend in my book…oh, wait…you are standing. (Little joke. About that big)
I leave you with a song from my favorite song-and-dance man. While “Daydream Believer” will always be the tune he is synonymous with, I want to share one of my favorite Davy songs, “She Hangs Out.” Dance on Manchester Cowboy, dance on…
**Revised Note: Thankfully, I wrong in my prediction that The Monkees would never again perform as a unit. Fans have been treated to several tours since Davy’s passing, some with Micky, Peter, and Mike, others with just Micky and Peter. I was particularly moved by the tour in 2012, as it appeared that, even without Davy, the guys had reached a level of amazeballs-ness (for lack of better term) never before seen. The only thing missing was the world’s best-looking midget. You can read about it HERE.