WHY DAVY JONES MATTERED
As most everyone knows the most popular Monkee Davy Jones died suddenly of a heart attack yesterday.
People seemed genuinely upset by this. People who most likely had not thought about Jones or The Monkees in decades were uploading and listening to I’m A Believer and Last Train to Clarksville.
Glenn emailed me the news and I emailed back to him “This is a significant Boomer passing.” He said “That’s why I sent it to you.” I guess being the Boomer spokesperson in the house he felt I should know.
But what was it about Davy Jones? We can start with he was the Monkee everyone had a crush on. I don’t know any girl who ever liked any of the other Monkees, not in that way. At this point when many of us walk into rooms and forget why we are there, he is the one Monkee who everyone remembers. I don’t even know the others names, Mickey Dolenz and Peter something and then there was one more.
They weren’t The Beatles, they weren’t The Stones and I think that was the point. They were the faux Beatles; they were cobbled together from casting calls and turned into a group by producer Bert Schneider for the sole purpose of the show.
And then low and behold they became huge hits. Art imitating life-imitating art.
They were not great, but they were fun and there was something clean and pure about them.. They were the rock band your parents let you listen to.
They were up there with the Brady’s in terms of Boomer TV icons.
People liked the diminutive, impish, non – threatening Jones. He was the perfect ten-year-old girl crush, he was sort of the Justin Bieber of our day.
He was different than David Cassidy who always had a slightly smarmy quality.
He felt like more of a Brady, the family many of us wanted to be adopted by.
No one wanted to be a member of the Partridge Family. First off they were a single parent household, and those of us already in them did not hook our dreams onto those in the same boat even if that boat happened to be a tour bus. And they wore those goofy jackets and Peter Pan collars. Even in an era when cool tipped to the side of lame, they were truly lame.
But the Monkees were so kitsch they were cool. And Boomer TV history was made when in one of the more famous Brady Bunch episodes Marcia Brady got Davy Jones to come to her prom. It was teen fantasy writ large. Grown women talk about it to this day.
The Monkees also sort of disappeared with their era. Not too many scandals, if any and only one reunion tour and that was back in 1986. They were almost frozen in that kinder, gentler time of the mid – sixties when those of us on the end of the Boomer cycle were still kids, too young to know about Viet Nam and not really grown up enough yet to understand The Beatles.
Michael Jackson belonged to many generations.
John Lennon belonged to the world.
Davy Jones belonged to those of us who fall somewhere between 50 and 54. A briefly huge career, an indelible impression, an untimely death and that big flag that seems to be waving more and more reminding us that time really is marching on.