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Granted, coming home from school and watching reruns on channel 32 helped - it kind of made being in a band slightly romantic. Growing up on a steady diet of the Monkees, A Hard Day's Night, and The Marx Brothers, I developed a slightly irreverent, anti-establishment sense of humor. But also, it helped that the Monkees had some pretty strong tunes - you would never mistake them for the Beatles, but you could get a decent three-minute extravaganza out of them.
Hearing about Davy Jones' passing yesterday was shocking....much of it surrounding the unbelievability of the event. Jones was the most obvious showman of the group, the one most set to be a teen idol. It's easy to forget now how radical the idea of using television to create pop stars was in the 1960s. (Heck, the Byrds even wrote a song which seemed to be a snarky response to the group). But Jones was a natural - so much so that guest appearing on The Brady Bunch after the Monkees' success didn't seem all that out of line.
(No, I don't know how far along his Brady Bunch appearance was after the Monkees. I'll leave that to Roger to correct me on in the comments :))
But there's something uniquely iconoclastic about the Monkees' story - yes, it was a split between musical and artistic expression (Tork/Nesmith) versus more commercial, show-biz impulses (Dolenz/Jones). But Jones, at the very least, helped make sure that for whatever their more noble creative impulses, the group had that show biz grounding.
Plus, the guy played maracas - and tamborine - like nobody could.
My two favorite items of Monkees related media...well, I blogged about my favorite Monkees album long ago and far away, and I would like to direct you to the Daydream Believers made-for-tv-docudrama. Yes, it's chock full of factual errors, but it's a pretty cool representation of that time. Plus, it has Colin Ferguson from Eureka. I'll end with an embedded fan video, but be sure to include it on your Netflix queue....along with the Monkees episodes and Head.
That's probably the best way to remember Mr. Jones' career - with one heckuva show.