Listen/Download – Davy Jones from the UK staging of ‘The Point’ – Think About Your Troubles Listen/Download – Davy Jones from the UK staging of ‘The Point’ – Are You Sleeping
I hope the new week finds you well.
I don’t know about you folks, but when the news came down last week that Davy Jones had passed away at the age of 66, I was surprised at how bummed I was.
I have always been a big Monkees fan, and they’ve been featured in this space a number of times, but for many years, if you’d asked me for a list of my favorite members of the group, Davy would have been near the bottom.
I dug the slightly heavier side of the band – if they indeed could be described as having one – and had an aversion to the poppier stuff like ‘Daydream Believer’.
But then something happened.
I started to realize that Davy was the guy who often interpreted some of the Monkees more interesting later material, including some of my favorite songs by the likes of Nilsson and Paul Williams.
Then, a few years ago, while my sons were falling in love with ‘The Point’, much as I had in my childhood, I discovered that in 1977, a live stage version of the show had been put on in the UK, starring none other than Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones.
That Davy did most of the heavy lifting in the role of Oblio should not have come as a surprise, as his roots were in the musical theater.
I went out and found myself a copy of the soundtrack album, which I fortunately recorded at the time, since I can’t seem to locate it now (thus the borrowed pic above).
That said, it was Davy who assayed my two favorite songs from ‘The Point’, ‘Are You Sleeping’ and the sublime and beautiful ‘Think About Your Troubles’, one of the most interesting songs that Harry Nilsson ever wrote.
A friend of mine asked me why I thought that the loss of Davy seemed to hit so hard, and my reply was that I thought that in some way he always remained the Davy of 1966.
The Monkees were a touchstone not only for the kids that got to see them when the show first aired, but also for ensuing generations who picked up on them in Saturday morning reruns (like me) and when MTV started re-running the show in the 1980s.
The 80s period is especially important in how it relates to the 60s revival period of the middle of that decade.
For those kids (and some, like myself in my early 20s) who hadn’t really experienced the 60s in any meaningful way (if at all), the Monkees were a prism through which we observed the lighter side of the decade, as well as pretty much all, non-soul genres of the era’s music.
The Monkees made garage, pure pop, psychedelia, sunshine pop and some of the finest examples of the earliest wave of country rock.
Talk of their ‘pre-fab’ nature often ignored the fact that many of their contemporaries, even the “serious” ones were often denied the privilege of playing on their own albums (though like most of those artists, the Monkees sang all their own records), as well as the fact that through the years of their career the members of the group wrote some great songs.
What Davy Jones brought to the Monkees – besides his good looks and charm – was the talents and energy of a real trouper, a genuine denizen of the stage and that aspect of his character was crucial to the formula that made the Monkees both successful and memorable.
He will be missed.
See you next week.