Thursday, March 1, 2012

RIP Davy Jones

The New York Times reports: Davy Jones, a singer and, by long-held public consensus, the handsomest and most popular of the Monkees (the collectively young, longhaired, wildly famous and preternaturally buoyant pop group of the 1960s and afterward), died yesterday in Indiantown, Fla. He was 66.

Created in 1966, the Monkees comprised Mr. Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork. The group sold millions of records. Its recording of “Daydream Believer,” by John Stewart, became a No. 1 single, as did its recording of “Last Train to Clarksville,” by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and its cover of Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer.”

Though the Monkees officially lasted only until the early ’70s, they reconvened sporadically for decades.

For all the Monkees’ chart-topping acclaim, the group never pretended to be anything other than what it was: a smoke-and-mirrors incarnation of a pop group reminiscent of that mop-topped one from Liverpool, created for a benignly psychedelic American TV sitcom.

Broadcast on NBC, The Monkees lasted just two seasons, from September 1966 to March 1968, and featured Messrs. Jones, Dolenz, Nesmith and Tork as members of a freewheeling, fun-loving, beach-house-dwelling, up-and-coming pop group. The show won two Emmys in 1967: for outstanding comedy series and, to the director James Frawley, for outstanding directorial achievement in comedy.

But perhaps Mr. Jones’s most enduring legacy takes the form of a name. The name belongs to another English musician, who burst on the scene some years after the Monkees. This man, too, had been born David Jones. But thanks to the Monkees’ renown, he knew he would have to adopt another name entirely if he was to have the hope of a career.

So he called himself David Bowie.

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