All these years, I’d somehow thought that I was the only little girl who was devastated to find out that the adorable, 21-year-old Davy I loved watching on TV in the 1980s was in fact twenty years older. Like so many other fans over several decades, I was convinced that one day I’d marry Davy. Reading other people’s personal remembrances today has been very meaningful.
My very first concert was the Monkees, in 1987, at the Dallas Starplex at Fair Park. I remember being so excited, and it was extraordinary because my mom was just as excited as I was! She was 16 when The Monkees premiered in 1966. Ten years later, when Nickelodeon introduced them to a whole new generation in syndication, I was seven. Apparently, Weird Al Yankovic opened that show. I called my mom to commiserate about our sadness this afternoon, and we warmly recalled that concert; neither of us had any recollection of Weird Al! We were too Monkee-struck, I guess.
It’s funny. A couple of weeks ago, when Eric and I were at Austin Homebrew, “Daydream Believer” came on, and I couldn’t help but smile. I sang and danced, right there at the register (rather out of character for me–I am one of those people who doesn’t dance). And just last week, right here on this blog I discussed the fact that Davy Jones was the catalyst for my 25 years of Anglophilia. In fact, he was the ultimate cause of my moving to England, an experience that changed the course of my life in infinite ways.
Even though I am 25 years younger than the Monkees’ original fanbase, hearing their music always takes me right back to my childhood, and to a time of innocent, smiling earnestness. Davy’s contagious, adorable performances always, always brought me pure, shameless joy–and still do. Unlike a certain writer at NPR, I am not in the least bit embarrassed of my love for this particular Mr. Jones. “Daydream Believer” is pure pop perfection, and I have said for years that “I’m A Believer” is in my top ten pop songs (I dare you to listen to it right now and disagree). “Pleasant Valley Sunday” is still culturally relevant. Their TV show provided a sort of self-referential meta-commentary still that strikes me as very contemporary and, amid the slapstick and zany antics, introduced millions of American kids to the counter culture (remember the Frank Zappa episode?). I love the Monkees and always will.
Another thirty-something commented on one of the articles I read this afternoon, talking about the unexpectedly deep grief they felt upon hearing the news, “Before I met Lennon and McCartney, I knew Micky and Davy.” That’s how I feel, too.
Davy was very talented (did you know he was nominated for a Tony for his 1963 performance in Oliver!?), famously generous to fans, and an incredibly charismatic performer. He will be deeply missed.