The Monkees were a product of the 60s and an attempt to commercialize on the success of The Beatles. Although I was born in the following decade, I used to watch them on TV oblivious to the fact they were, at first, a faux group.
It was the Fab Four versus the Pre-Fab Four if you will.
The Monkees had a bit of a revival in the late-80s and I even drove (alone!) to Wolf Trap outside of Washington, D.C. to hear them play one Summer evening. Michael Nesmith wasn’t there, but Peter, Mickey, and Davy were. I really had a great time seeing them perform all of their hits.
Even though they were in their 40s at the time it was clear they were from a different era… not drugged or boozed out… just good guys.
Unfortunately, Davy Jones died yesterday in Florida. Apparently he had complained of feeling somewhat ill and he suffered a massive heart attack at aged 66… 28 years older than I am today.
I can’t say as though The Monkees were musical heroes of mine or that they even influenced my tastes all that much (I’ve always been more of a Police and Doors fan) but they had their own TV show so how cool was that? They had some catchy tunes written for them, and their escapades on their show are a reminder of how the times have changed (for the worse) since 1965.
You didn’t read about Davy Jones being ejected from an airplane because he wouldn’t stop playing games on his cell phone or re-entering treatment for the 10th time or wearing an ankle bracelet. He didn’t whine about his political views.
Davy’s passing is just a sign of getting older and experiencing things from your childhood coming to a close as we are thus faced with the inevitable fact that one day it will be we, too, who come to an end.
It makes me think that a person’s life is really about the joy they give to others (Jones’ singing and acting) more so than how life looked to them because most of that information will be lost or was never known.
I am sad to never get the chance to see The Monkees play live again (they were planning a tour apparently) and the fact that, I think, the world was just a little bit better with Davy Jones above the ground rather than under it.
And so I will think back, somewhat bittersweetly, to that Summer night when I hadn’t even graduated from high school and was sitting in the audience of Wolf Trap’s amphitheater enjoying 75% of the band I had seen on TV play all of their hits.
During one of Davy Jones’ last concerts less than two weeks ago he said the following to the audience after singing Day Dream Believer:
When you go home tonight just sing like nobody’s listening and dance like nobody’s watching and love like you’ve never been hurt before. And when life gets too hard to stand… kneel. And God bless America.
Capitol Commentary will return tomorrow with an article about Obama’s punting on the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other political stuff that won’t matter 25 years from now.