Monday, March 5, 2012

Davy Jones More Than A Monkee

Davy Jones was a guy who was always in the right place at the right time. Growing up in Manchester, England Jones landed a role in a British soap opera at the age of 14. Four years later he found himself in New York City watching from the wings as The Beatles made their historic appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. A member of the touring cast of the musical "Oliver!," Jones made his American TV debut the same night as the Fab Four. In front of a record TV audience of 75 million people. You might say he was destined for stardom.

Small in stature, Davy Jones was good looking and a genuine nice guy. He could sing too. My favorite Monkees song when I was a kid was "I Wanna Be Free." The title and Jones' heartfelt vocals pretty much described how I felt when I became a teenager. I watched The Monkees every week on NBC and bought all their albums as soon as they were released. It was a time when the Beatles had stopped touring which brought a halt to Beatlemania. Once again Davy Jones was in the right place at the right time. His group ended up selling over 65 million records and are still heard on the radio today.

In March of 2001, before the world went upside down, I was in Las Vegas and heard The Monkees were in town. At least three of them since Mike Nesmith abstained from this reunion. I said "if I win $50 before the show starts I will buy a ticket!" Thank my lucky stars I won $100 in an hour playing blackjack so I hustled down to the MGM Grand. I made it to the small showroom and ended up at a front table for no extra charge. Now I was at the right place at the right time. Because The Monkees delivered a terrific show which featured all the phases of their career. Peter Tork turned out to be a multi-instrumentalist while Micky Dolenz hit all the notes when he wasn't hitting the drums.

It was Davy Jones who held it all together and radiated the same charisma in 2001 that he had in 1966. He did not sing "I Wanna Be Free" (though he heard my request) but to hear him sing "Daydream Believer" blew my mind. Right in front of me was a guy who represented all the good things I enjoyed while growing up in the 60s.

The news of his death shocked everybody. He was one of those ageless guys, always in the right place at the right time. Something tells me he still is!