Very sad news today, that Davy Jones, formerly of The Monkees, has died at the age of 66.
It’s beyond my comprehension that anyone growing up when I did, in the late 60s and 70s, could NOT know who Davy Jones was, or at least who The Monkees were. Their music and their TV show were ubiquitous, both during the original run of the series and then in reruns. And, even if you didn’t like their music or the show, they were an indisputable cultural phenomenon and remain a relic of the commercialized version of the counterculture of the period.
And Davy, well, hailing from Manchester, England, he gave The Monkees their British Invasion street cred.
Now, I could be cynical and focus on that last point, I could go on and on about how the creators of The Monkees were blatantly ripping off The Beatles, and I would be right on the whole.
And yet, in truth, those are 20/20 hindsight observations, and I LOVED the TV show and the music for years before I figured all that out.
While I was too young to remember the original airing of the series, from 1966 to 1968, the reruns were still one of the most original shows on TV. The only thing that I recall that came close was Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and possibly The Brady Bunch, in terms of how it captured contemporary culture, especially youth culture.
But mostly, The Monkees were masters of silliness, kids LOVE silliness above nearly everything else, I was no exception, and this silliness was a perfect, badly-needed antidote for all the ugliness of Vietnam War, the Nixon years, the dramatic street protests, and the riots.
And so, without further ado, here’s a taste, a portion of an episode, containing the classic theme song, as well as some of the zany humor they were known for. (Full disclosure: The video, posted by a YouTuber, could very well be pulled anytime for copyright reasons, so my apologies if it doesn’t play. In all likelihood, you should be able to go to YouTube and find some Monkees clip or another.)