Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Growing up with DAVY JONES:


     When you are an impressionable three year old kid who is already nuts about music, there's nothing more thrilling than your favorite band coming to visit you each and every week without fail and bringing you the gift of laughter and song.  That's what it was like when THE MONKEES debuted on TV in 1966. 

     Back in '66, I was three and my brother Mike was four.  My parents used to tell us that the ONLY time they could leave us alone and not worry about us getting into trouble was when The Monkees were on.  For 30 minutes each week, they had peace and quiet from us boys.  Now, I don't know what trouble our older sister Dana was getting into and our baby sister Kristin wasn't around yet, but at least Mike and I were present and accounted for right in front of the TV watching Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork.  Well, to be honest, at that time, we might not have comprehended that Mike Nesmith had the same name as my brother because for the longest time, we referred to him as Wool Hat. But i digress...

  So, while we may have been told that The Beatles were better, it didn't matter.  The Monkees were OUR band.  They made an impression that has lasted 45 years and we are all the better for it.  Their music became an important part of the soundtrack of our lives.  Their on-screen tomfoolery helped shape our own sense of humor.  We still remember the jokes and the gags.  We may not have understood some of the inside jokes, but we eventually learned so much about The Monkees over the years.

     While we had the first five albums at our fingertips most of our young lives, they eventually disappeared from our collections after a couple of moves.  During the Christmas season of 1975, we realized that they albums had gone missing.  We asked 'Santa' for Monkees albums for Christmas and ended up with nothing because, as my mom told us later, she went around to every record store in town and they all told her that the original Monkees albums were out of print!  Unfortunately, our mom was not well-versed on USED record stores at the time, but I can't blame her for that!

     In 1976, we did get some Monkees music back in our hands when Arista released The Monkees' Greatest Hits. While it may not have had personal favorites like "I'll Be Back Upon My Feet", "Sometime In The Morning", "D.W. Washburn" and loads of others, it DID have the biggest hits and that was OK by me.

     Around the same time, we became aware of a new (at that time) band by the name of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart which featured two former Monkees (Micky and Davy) plus Monkees songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.  I LOVED the self-titled album they put out when I got it for my birthday in '76.  On that fateful day, I turned my back on my other gift that year, a guitar, and spent all my time listening to the DJB&H album.  My brother Mike gladly taught himself to play on that guitar and he's done quite well for himself.  Me?  I still love that DJB&H album!  In fact, it's even available on CD now, although the artwork is different.  But I digress.... again.

     In the years since then, I've bought and re-bought those Monkees albums over and over.  First, on used vinyl.  Then when the Monkees became popular again in '86, I eventually bought the CDs.  Then bought the remasters.  Then finally, I gladly forked over even more money when I purchased the Deluxe 2CD remasters!  But then, truth be told, I was working in the industry by then so perhaps John at WEA was able to get me promos of those double CD versions....

     So, for most of my life, The Monkees have been a huge part of every each and every moment.  While I've never personally met any of the members nor did I ever get a chance to see them live, it's as if they've been close yet distant friends.  Not in a 'stalker' kind of way, but in the sense that they've always been there for me with a laugh or a song.

     Micky was the goofball who could sing and play drums. I could probably relate to him the most (and boy, do I still love that voice!). Mike and Peter were the accomplished musicians (who could also be pretty goofy). I didn't think I could ever be as talented as they were. But Davy? He was the charmer. He was the one I most wanted to be like when I was younger because the girls always loved Davy.  Even a few years after The Monkees went off the air, he was still adored by girls like Marcia Brady... and who can forget that Brady Bunch episode that Davy appeared in!

     This morning, Davy Jones passed away and when I heard the news, I was gutted.  While it didn't hit me  hard like when my mom and dad died, it was still pretty devastating.  More along the lines of when Elvis and John Lennon died.  The Monkees made one hell of an impression on me and in my own stupid way, I figured they'd live forever.  Unfortunately, life has a way of slapping the stupid out of me and making me face reality. I'm not going to go on and on and act like Davy and I were 'friends' on Facebook.  No, I was just one of many fans.  But that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt to know that I just lost a childhood 'friend', someone that I looked up to (even though he was shorter than I am).  Someone who made a difference on my life and the lives of many others.

     Goodnight, Davy and Godspeed.

For the record, my favorite Davy performances are on tracks like "Dream World", "Someday Man", "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You", "I Wanna Be Free", "Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow", "Love To Love" and "I Remember The Feeling" (DJB&H) but my absolute favorite Davy Jones vocal just happens to be in one of my Top 5 favorite songs of all time: "Daydream Believer"

1 comment:

Jetplane said...

I am actually teary-eyed at the moment. I always have told people that The Monkees were the one main influence on me as a child to become a musician. If I didn't get that influence way back then, I quite possibly may have never become as interested in music as I did. I believe it was a huge turning point in my young life. I am 50 years old now, have never had a hit song or anything, but playing my guitar and writing music gives me such a pleasure that I couldn't imagine my life without that. Thank you Davy, Micky, Michael, and Peter for showing a young impressionable boy the joys of a life with music.