One of my childhood influences died on leap day. Davy Jones.
I’ve often said I learned how to sing harmony from Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz. In our house growing up, pop music was more or less verboden and the Monkees were my introduction to music other than classical. And to me, just a lot of fun. Much like Star Trek, I was part of that second wave that discovered the Monkees when they were re-run on Saturday morning at 11:00.
I saw the Monkees at the old ball park in Arlington back in ’86 on their reunion tour. Everyone stayed after the game for this concert. Best feeling concert I’ve ever been to. We sang our heads off all night to every song. We danced with slinky barefoot chicks in front of us on this hot summer night. Most fun I’ve ever had at a concert. What a great show. And I’ve been to a million concerts. Evidently was to Davy and the Monkees too. It’s one he mentions in his autobiography too. And yes, I have Davy’s autobiography.
My first year of teaching I used to go sing in a Karaoke bar just about every Tuesday and Thursday night. I was a regular and was known as a pretty fearless competitor there. I had a fairly eclectic and wide repertoire. A pyrotechnique-y Earth Wind and Fire, a throaty and bluesy David Clayton Thomas- Blood Sweat & Tears number. A Willie Nelson medley. A Tom Jones. A David Lee Roth. But in particular I always did a Davy Jones “Day Dream Believer” as my warm up. I’d won with that actually. As I recall it was the Ann Murray version and I’d ask the host to put it up in Davy’s key for me every time. Her’s was actually a 5th lower.
There was an old biker couple who’d come to the place, whom I learned after a while, were coming to see me. (Nice to have a fan(s)) I remember it was January after Christmas break and I was there to break in the New Year again. That night Entertainment Tonight was on in the bar and they reported it was Davy Jones birthday. Happy Birthday Davy. I dedicated the night to Davy.
The next week, the very next Tuesday, I was at the place again and Davy’s picture came on the screen again during Entertainment Tonight. Seems he’d been arrested for DWI this time. I dedicated the night again to him. I looked across the room and found my biker fans. The three of us had a knowing but reverential chuckle between ourselves.
I loved Davy. I don’t care what people say about him or the Monkees. As I’m finding out from all the responses on his death he was to them what he was to me. A great, natural performer. Somebody who was fun. Somebody who made me happy.
Here’s to Davy.