Monkees Davy Jones
Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:48 PM
Actor/Musician Davy Jones
by Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
Actor/Musician Davy Jones . . . Then and Now.
INDIANTOWN, Florida – Davy Jones was a promising 18-year-old actor from England when he found himself among the guest performers on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on February 9, 1964 — the same night about 75 million people tuned in to catch the American debut of The Beatles. Like so many others who watched the show from near and far, Jones considered it a life-changing experience.
Looking on from the wings as hundreds of teenagers, mostly girls, were screaming ecstatically while listening to the four musicians who came from a town only 20 miles away from his own hometown of Manchester, Jones knew then he wanted a career in pop music rather than theater.
A little more than a year later he auditioned for and was accepted as a member of The Monkees, a pop band created for a television show developed in the wake of the success of The Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" film.
The new group's fame quickly came to rival that of The Fab Four after NBC-TV executives put Jones and bandmates Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork into the living rooms of millions of viewers every Monday night. The show ran from 1966 to 1968.
Jones, who died Wednesday, February 29, at 66 of a heart attack in Martin County, Florida., was the group's counterpart to Beatle Paul McCartney as The Monkees' romantic heartthrob, and his British accent lent the band a dash of international intrigue in songs on which he was the lead singer, including a couple of their biggest hits, "Daydream Believer" and "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You."
"That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you," Nesmith wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday. "I will miss him, but I won't abandon him to mortality.… David's spirit and soul live well in my heart."
Although initially dismissed in music circles as a television fantasy more than a musical reality, the Monkees charted nearly two dozen singles during a heyday from 1966 to 1970 and became the first, and only, act to score four No. 1 albums on the Billboard chart in the same calendar year.
"It's a sad day for me," said filmmaker Bob Rafelson, co-creator of "The Monkees" with Bert Schneider who also produced their avant-garde 1968 film "Head." "Of all the films I've made that have received attention from the Academy Awards, or Cannes [Film Festival] or the New York Film Critics Awards, nothing ever pleased me more than hearing a [radio] announcer say 'Here's Davy Jones singing "Daydream Believer." ' "
Although never inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Monkees have long been lauded for the boost they gave many songwriters by recording their compositions, including Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Harry Nilsson, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and John Stewart.
It was Jones who strongly lobbied for the group to record "Cuddly Toy," a song written by Nilsson, who was then supporting himself as a computer programmer for a bank in the San Fernando Valley. Later known as the composer of the Three Dog Night hit "One" and the singer on hits of his own such as "Without You" and "Everybody's Talking," Nilsson's big break came from the Monkees.
"Back in 1967 it meant something for them to record one of your songs," said John Scheinfeld, writer and producer of the 2010 documentary "Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?"
"In our film, Micky told the story of how Harry and Davy and Harry's publisher Lester Sill were walking out of the studio after the recording session, and Lester turned to Harry and said, 'Well, you can quit your job at the bank now.' It drew a lot of attention to Harry."
David Thomas Jones was born December 30, 1945, and gained success in his native country as a child actor with roles in different series shown on the BBC. At 11, he had an important role in the long-running soap opera "Coronation Street." After a successful run on London's West End as the Artful Dodger in a production of the musical "Oliver!" in his teens, Jones re-created the part on Broadway, landing a Tony Award nomination. It was that production that was highlighted by Sullivan in the same show on which the Beatles appeared for the first time.
He also trained to be a jockey — he stood 5 feet 3 — and his passion for horses stayed with him through his life.
Rafelson said he and Schneider auditioned 437 actors and musicians, including Stephen Stills, David Crosby, the Lovin' Spoonful and future members of Three Dog Night, before zeroing in on the four who became the Monkees.
Some of the band members' desire to be taken seriously musically led to notorious power struggles with TV and music publishing executives. But that wasn't a big concern for Jones.
"Eventually Peter and Mike, especially, wanted to write, play and record … or be behind the camera," Jones told a Springfield, Mass., newspaper earlier this year while on a solo tour. "But I just wanted to be in the show, fall in love twice in each episode and kiss the girls. I had no ambition to be Steven Spielberg or Cecil B. DeMille."
Still, Rafelson credited Jones for taking a vocal role in the group's efforts to take more control over their music and their careers.
Tork quit the band in 1968 and the Monkees continued briefly as a trio, then disbanded in 1970. Jones promptly resurfaced the following year with a guest appearance as himself in "Getting Davy Jones," one of the most celebrated episodes of "The Brady Bunch," in which Marcia Brady launched a campaign to persuade the teen idol to visit her school.
In the '80s the group had a resurgence sparked by a CD box set issued by the archival label Rhino Records, and that led to then-new MTV showing episodes of the original series that revived interest in the band. They have since done several reunion tours, usually without Nesmith, including a 45th anniversary round of shows last year that was cut short because of differences that cropped up among Jones, Dolenz and Tork.
Although he was comfortable with his highest-profile job, Jones sometimes worried that the Monkees' legacy would follow him for the rest of his life, which he spent acting in numerous TV shows, theatrical productions, and doing voiceover work for cartoons and animated features.
"My biggest fear, years ago, when I played Jesus in 'Godspell,'" he told a New Jersey newspaper last year, "was that I'd be dying on the cross one night and someone would yell out, 'Hey Davy! — Do 'Daydream Believer'!"
Jones also toured as a solo act, blending Monkees hits and his favorite musical theater songs, and he had performed most recently February 19 in Oklahoma. He had a Southland date scheduled for March 31 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
"I try to be positive today in my life," Jones said earlier this year. "There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way."
Jones is survived by his third wife, Jessica Pacheco, four children from previous marriages: daughters Talia Elizabeth Jones, Sarah Lee McFadden, Jessica Lillian Jones and Annabel Jones. He also leaves behind three grandchildren, Harrison, Lauren and Phoenix as well as three sisters in England: Hazel, Beryl and Lynda.
This was on Davy Jones website by his family:
It is with the deepest sadness that Davy’s family has announced that he passed away on February 29th. Jessica has lost a devoted husband, and Talia, Sarah, Jessica, and Annabel a loving father, while Harrison, Lauren, and Phoenix have lost a proud grandfather. His sisters in England—Hazel, Beryl, and Lynda—have lost their brother.
While we are deeply saddened by our loss, we give thanks and find comfort in our memories.
Davy loved to laugh each day, and we know he would want his fans to remember him with laughter and not tears. You all meant such a lot to him.
If we all listen a little bit harder we will hear him singing with the angels tonight. Our wish for him is that he sleep tight… we will always be with him.
Love Still Abides
He has passed on beyond the range of sight
Into the glory of the morning light
Out of the reach of sorrow and despair
Safe in the shelter of the Father’s care
Weep not for him, say not he is dead
He has gone on a few short steps ahead
Faith looks beyond this time of grief and pain
Love still abides, and we shall meet again.
Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:44 PM
Davy Jones’ Good-Humored Last Days
by Chris Willman, Stop The Presses!
The Monkees (L-R) Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz and Mike Nesmith
INDIANTOWN, Florida – It's all those other stars who died from monkeying around, succumbing to the temptations associated with fame. Not Davy Jones, who seemed to be the picture of good habits and health — if not the portrait of Dorian Gray — before he died of a heart attack at 66 on the morning of Wednesday, February 29 in Florida.
"You know I used to be a heartthrob and now I'm a coronary," Jones said in an interview last August with the Broadway World website, surely little realizing that his quip might actually serve as a witty, spooky epitaph.
Jones reportedly passed away in his parked car after visiting his horses at a ranch near his oceanside home in Indiantown, Florida. Earlier, he'd told ranch hands he was having difficulty breathing. The previous night, he had gone to a nearby hospital complaining of chest pains, according to reports.
But before Tuesday night, there were few indications, at least publicly, that Jones was anything but the overgrown moptop who put a cheerful frontman's face on repeated Monkees reunions — the last of which came to a halt last summer under still-mysterious circumstances.
Jones' last gig was a solo appearance Feb. 19 at the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma where, from all appearances, he'd been his usual chipper self. In January, he'd spent a week at sea as part of an oldies-themed cruise, performing along with Paul Revere & the Raiders and the Buckinghams. "Had a WONDERFUL time," he tweeted upon returning to shore Jan. 28. He had further dates lined up through the rest of the year, with a plan to return to the road March 11 in Wisconsin.
Family photos --and the occasional horse pic -- consumed more of his blog as of late than the need to provide Monkees fans with any band status updates. One of his final posts was a December photo of his fourth grandchild, Lauren. Twice divorced, he had four daughters, ranging in age from 23 to 43, at least some of whom shared his love for all things equestrian. He exchanged vows again, with third wife Jessica, in Miami on August 30, 2009.
His last solo release was "Let Them Be Little," an EP he released as a limited edition CD through his store at davyjones.net. Besides the title track, which belied his status as a proud family man, the disc included a new version of "Daydream Believer" as well as an "Oliver Medley" -- recalling the early '60s, when Jones was up for a Tony for playing the Artful Dodger on Broadway in his pre-Monkees days.
Jones had renewed his interest in things theatrical in the late '80s and '90s, including a stint playing Fagin in an "Oliver!" revival. His most recent passion project was an original musical he was co-writing with Chris Andrews. "We've gone the way of 'Hello Dolly" and 'Funny Girl'," he told Broadway World. "It's a traditional show. It would be a great idea at this time in my life to direct it, produce it..."
Jones wasn't above age-related jokes, as the coronary line would suggest. "My opening line for my show is 'Hello, I'm Davy's dad. Davy will be out here in a minute'," he said last summer. "I make a joke in the show about Micky, Pete and Mike being in the Actor's Home in Hollywood. I tell the audience, 'I went to see them the other day and I said to Micky, 'DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?' and Peter says to me, 'Ask the nurse, Davy, she'll tell you.'"
His fellow Monkees were quick to post tributes. Although it was Mike Nesmith who was least inclined to join in any Monkees reunions, as the songwriter within the original group, not surprisingly, he had the most to say. "While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or strange," wrote Nesmith, "this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about."
Nesmith added, "I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don't exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity."
Nesmith continued, "That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won't abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane."
Nesmith concluded, "David's spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels."
Mickey Dolenz had this to say: "I am in a state of shock. Davy and I grew up together and shared in the unique success of what became The Monkees phenomena. The time we worked together and had together is something I'll never forget. He was the brother I never had and this leaves a gigantic hole in my heart. The memories have and will last a lifetime. My condolences go out to his family."
Peter Tork couldn't resist ending his homage with a salute to Jones' horsemanship. "It is with great sadness that I reflect on the sudden passing of my long-time friend and fellow-adventurer, David Jones. His talent will be much missed; his gifts will be with us always. My deepest sympathy to Jessica and the rest of his family. Adios, to the Manchester Cowboy."
Posted 03 March 2012 - 12:22 AM
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