Some personal memories of Davy Jones, who passed away this week aged 66…
I became a Davy Jones addict aged 12-13 when the BBC started playing re-runs of The Monkees on a Saturday morning. They were like a human version of the Banana Splits. Davy was so… well, beautiful is probably the word, that I used to sit close to the TV screen and not blink so as not to miss a minute. After the show was over, I was gutted to have to wait another seven days to see Davy again. Puberty had arrived.
Episode 1: I realise our love can never be…
My other main love at that time was my dog, a Welsh border collie called Lucky. I took her for long walks along the River Rea – in the bit we used to call The Jungle before the council created a 'nature trail' – and I'd tell her my woes. My main problem was that Davy was now fortysomething; our love was doomed.
Episode 2: Jim doesn't fix it…
Then the worst thing happened. The BBC took the show off the air. I got out my notepaper and envelope gift set and wrote a stern letter. I pleaded and begged for them to put it back on. They didn't. I also tried Jim'll Fix It, asking to appear in a show or meet the band, but there was no joy there either
Episode 3: I see Davy in real life…
The Monkees were then forgotten until 1986 when I found myself unexpectedly going solo on a road trip across the US at the age of 18. I got off the bus in San Diego, California, and checked into the downtown YWCA. I was all alone, probably for the first time in my life.
Then I saw it – my comforter. It was an advert for The Monkees reunion concert at the San Diego Padres baseball stadium. I dented my backpacker fund bigtime to pay for a ticket, went to my first baseball game and then watched as Davy, Mickey and Peter drove across the grass in toy cars to get to the stage. Of course, it wasn't the same – they were older and tubbier – but hey it WAS The Monkees. And I got to see them. IRL.
Episode 4: A tribute song…
Fast forward to 1996, living in a joke flat in south London with an Aussie work colleague nicknamed Badlady. She turned out to be an even bigger fan of The Monkees and so naturally we spent our evenings playing obscure tracks and even going so far as to record our own version of 'She', called 'He'.
Episode 5: The balm of YouTube…
Last week, Davy Jones suffered a heart attack in Florida. His sudden death seems to have hit quite hard, perhaps because he was immortalised on TV as forever young. Many friends posted their favourite tracks to Facebook as a sort of networked tribute.
Although Valleri – see opening video – was my favourite Davy song of the time, I found myself going from video to video this week, reliving all those album tracks that were chiselled from the TV show.
And thanks to socially networked grief, two other songs have stuck in my head, both from Badlady.
Beware, the first one is an earworm: Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow).
The second one is from The Monkees' concept film Head, which we watched again tonight. The best song/video in it is the wonderful Daddy's Song, written by Harry Nilsson and performed by Davy Jones together with a cameo from Toni 'Hey Mickey' Basil.
"Davy Jones' greatest moment," said Badlady. I think this shows what a consummate entertainer Davy Jones was and why he was the band's frontman. It is an amazing video in itself but it also gave me the title line of this post.
R.I.P. Davy Jones.
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