This is probably not the proper way to begin, but as a longtime Monkees fan I need to say Davy has never been my favorite Monkee. As a Monkee he seemed perfectly happy playing the cookie cutter heartthrob and didn’t offer much else. Much complexity. Women still swooned over him (rubes!), but this woman has never liked what the crowd falls for so easily.
However, Davy had a considerable talent for musical theater. Pre-Monkees, he was Tony-nominated for his role as the Artful Dodger in the original stage production of Oliver! (The cast performed on the Ed Sullivan Show the same night the Beatles debuted in the US.) Some of Davy’s most memorable Monkee moments come from showcasing this talent in later years before the group broke up—from the “Daddy’s Song” sequence (with Toni Basil!) from the Monkees’ movie Head, to the “Goldilocks Sometime” song in the misguided television special 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee.
Aside from his more musical theater-oriented pieces, he also recorded a single in the 70s which is my all-time favorite Davy Jones song. (Well okay, “Hard to Believe” is an uncharacteristically beautiful piece that I also enjoy.) “Rubberene” tells the story of a man’s relationship with his blow-up doll. If you have a Blip login (I don’t), you might be able to listen to it here. Finally—the one-dimensional heartthrob got a sense of humor! Sadly though, the record is an extreme rarity as it was never commercially released, and by the time the Monkees reunited for their 25th anniversary in 1986, Davy was back to playing his same role.
After that big Monkees resurgence in the late 1980s, Davy Jones also became an author. His first book was a memoir called They Made a Monkee Out of Me (above), and the second book he is credited with is an early Photoshop fantasia (or nightmare) called Mutant Monkees Meet the Masters of the Multi-Media Manipulation Machine (you know it’s from the early days of digital media, as “multimedia” is still hyphenated). When I was in eighth grade, I chose They Made a Monkee Out of Me for a book report presentation. My mom even sewed a Monkees shirt for me, which I wore on the day of my presentation. Being passionate about talking about the Monkees and even dressing the part, of course I got an A. 😉
After reading about Mike Nesmith’s cataract surgery, recently I had been pondering the state of Monkee mortality. As Davy Jones heads to his locker, I am sad to see my wonderings are starting to be realized. It will also be interesting to see what legal battles ensue between Davy’s very young new wife Jessica Pacheco, and the four grown children from his previous two marriages. (Watch them on a train-wrecky reboot of “The Newlywed Game.”)
Davy will be missed, for sure—but I truly dread the day I hear about Mike Nesmith or Peter Tork joining him.