I received a text from Fr. Peter this morning that Davy Jones had passed away. I immediately tweeted a RIP tweet and said he was on “the last train to Clarksville” (and yes, I know Mickey actually sang that one). I have been meaning to write about the Monkees and unfortunately it took the sad news of Davy’s passing to get me to do it. In music circles the Monkees are often criticized for not playing or writing their stuff and being a created group (the “Pre-Fab Four”). In truth the boys were all musicians and entertainers, and ultimately did play on and write plenty of material after the first two albums. And those initial albums had great session players and songs written by songwriters like Neil Diamond and Boyce & Hart.
The Monkees ultimately represent a transition from the pre-Beatles days of outside songwriters and session players to the era of full artistic control (and the perils therein) of the artists themselves. There are lots of great songs in the Monkees’ discography. Check out songs like Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) – a great unknown Neil Diamond tune – on Youtube. And RIP Davy Jones. He initially was going to be the drummer for the band but the producers felt he would be lost behind the kit due to his diminutive size. Also, his look inspired the Chekov character on Star Trek. He added a lot of personality to the group and a distinctive voice. Several issues ago one of my British music magazines did a feature on Randy Scouse Git (check out Davy on drums!) and had Davy saying something like “I tried to explain what it meant to them endlessly and they never understood it”.