RIP Davy Jones

When Elizabeth Taylor died, I said: "It's such a strange feeling when someone so iconic dies. It's not a personal loss for most of us, but, often even if one isn't a fan, it still feels like something has shifted. When someone like Elizabeth Taylor dies, someone whose presence has loomed large for so long, it's like a pop culture quake."

When I read a few moments ago that Davy Jones had died, I felt shaken by exactly that quake I described.

I was a fan of The Monkees. I used the watch their show every day when I got home from school, watching each episode over and over and over until I had them memorized—every lyric, every pratfall, every line of horrendously cheesy dialogue.

And ohhhhhhhhhhhhh swooooooooooooon do you remember when Davy Jones was on The Brady Bunch? Marcia Marcia Marcia!

I owned all their albums, and had multiple "best of" compilations on cassette tape, to which I would listen on my purple boombox, singing along while lying in my yellow-walled bedroom, staring at their pictures ripped from teen magazines and tacked to the wall with plastic thumbtacks.

The brooding Mike Nesmith was always the object of my crushful longing, but Davy Jones—small and gorgeous and flirty and fun—was the one with whom I most wanted to be friends. Around the age of 8, I wrote a short story about going on a picnic with Davy Jones, during which we drank Shirley Temples from martini glasses. The only other detail I can now recall is having described him wearing a suit "the color of Grandma's curtains."

My first concert ever was a Monkees concert. It was 1987, and I was 13 years old, and their opening act was Weird Al Yankovic.

image of Jones, Tork, Yankovic, and Dolenz

I thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever see in my entire life (even though Mike Nesmith had flown the coop). I have seen better things in the intervening 25 years, but it still remains near the top of the list, because every one of the hundreds of concerts I have seen since has been compared, in some way, to the bar set by Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, and Davy Jones.

The Monkees, who were in reality the first incarnation of the now-ubiquitous fabricated market-ready boyband, were often dismissed as out hand as having nothing to contribute to the serious world of music (besides, perhaps, Davy Jones' indirect contribution to the creation of "David Bowie"), but they made me love music. No—I certainly loved music before I ever heard The Monkees. They made music I love.

And I love it so much.

Thanks for that, Mr. Jones. And everything else.

The Monkees, "Daydream Believer"

[Note: If there are less flattering things to be said about Jones, they have been excluded because I am unaware of them, not as the result of any deliberate intent to whitewash his life. Please feel welcome to comment on the entirety of his work and life in this thread.]

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