In 1986, a group from my mother's teen years was having a reunion tour and coming back into national prominence. When they first came back on the music scene, I didn't care much one way or the other. It was old music from an old group.
Then I went to visit my father in Florida over the summer. And I came across their television show one night on Nickelodeon (I think I was looking for You Can't Do That on Television.) Regardless of what I was actually looking for, I got sucked into the show. It was musical, it was funny and I wanted to watch every single episode of The Monkees. I had officially become a Monkee-maniac.
I taped every episode I could that summer. When I went back to New York, I wanted to be able to watch it over and over again. I bought several of their albums (actual record albums) and a few of their tapes. My favorite was their previously unreleased stuff on Missing Links. I wore that cassette tape out listening to it over and over again. (And now, I need to go buy it on digital.) Back then, I knew everything there was to know about the Monkees and then some. I could quote stats about their albums, about each of the members, who were the players and who were the actors. I devoured everything I could about them.
I had posters on my wall with the four of them smiling down at me. I had a thing for Peter Tork, but all of them were awesome. And Davy Jones... he had the voice of an angel (and the accent to match). I wanted to go to see on e of their concerts, but it never happened. I used to make up daydreams to help me fall asleep, putting myself in as Davy's sister and getting up to hijinks with the band (I was a weird kid, what can I say?) For several years in my teens, The Monkees were at the top of my list of people I most wanted to meet.
As I got older, the obsession passed, but I still loved their show and their music. Whenever I heard one of them was going to be on a show, I made sure to watch it (in particular, I remember watching My Two Dads and Boy Meets World - shows I don't think I'd watched before or since). I got a smile any time I'd hear one of their songs on the radio. Whenever I'd meet another fan, I'd sit down to debate which episodes were better and which songs were our favorites (for me? "The Devil and Peter Tork" and "Shades of Gray" - see below). They may not have been at the top of my list any longer, but they were still there and still had a special place in my heart.
Earlier today, my friend Carmen forwarded a news alert text that she had gotten. Davy Jones, the man with that wonderful voice, died today in Florida at age 66. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it. He may have been my parents' age, but he was still an important part of my childhood. My childhood isn't supposed to go like that. So I looked on line and found out that no, it wasn't an internet hoax gone to extremes (like Jon Bon Jovi's supposed death last year). It was true. From what's been said (though not officially, unless something new has come up) he died of a heart attack. A part of my childhood was gone.
So I've spent the afternoon remembering what I loved of Davy from my Monkees years. Davy's voice, particularly in the ballads, could make me swoon any time. His diminutive height was a plus (since I'm short myself so I admire short guys). He was everyone's heart throb, but I wanted him to be my brother. I thought the Davy of the television show would have made an awesome brother.
Tonight, I'll be listening to the songs. I'll be thinking about Davy's friends and family and how this loss must be affecting them. I'll be in mourning with the other fans of this wonderful actor and music maker. I'll be queuing up clips on YouTube so I can introduce my boys' to the zaniness of four boys in a band in California. And I will probably shed a few tears.
To Davy's friends and family, my thoughts and prayers are with you now. I am so very sorry for the loss of someone so special. To Davy's fans, I am with you in grief over this news.
And to Davy, thank you for putting yourself out there, for stepping in front of the camera and in front of the microphone to entertain us for more than 45 years. You've brought joy, laughter and tears to many of us over the years and all we can say for it is "Thank you." Good-bye, and rest in peace.