66-year-old was not just a singer, but a TV and pop culture icon
Davy Jones, the British heartthrob who set Marcia Brady aflame with desire has died of cardiac arrest in Stuart, Florida. He was 66 years of age. Jones, on a solo tour at the time, complained the prior evening of chest pains and went to the hospital this morning, but it was too late. He is survived by his wife Jessica and four children.
He began as a child actor although he’d wanted to be a jockey. By 1966, he’d been cast as “Davy” (acting under the name David Jones) in a new U.S. musical/comedy TV show called The Monkees, designed to cash in on the success of the Beatles.
The show was an instant success, and the band actually had three #1 hit singles. “Last Train to Clarksville”, “I’m a Believer” and “DaydreamBeliever”, the last two of which featured Davy singing lead vocals. He and his fellow Monkees, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz not only became instant superstars, but at the urging of Nesmith, the powers that be began to let the four do their own singing and instrument playing.
Davy pursued a solo career after the television series was cancelled in 1968, releasing a single entitled “Girl” and singing it on a famous episode of “The Brady Bunch” to a very smitten Maureen McCormack, in her role as Marcia Brady.
He went on to do a variety of TV guest appearances, including a very funny episode of “Love American Style”. But music was his bread and butter and he reunited with his Monkees castmate Mickey Dolenz, along with songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart to tour as the Monkees for periods in the late 1980s and late 1990s. I had the privilege of attending one of those 1980s era reunion concerts and they put on quite a show.
They reunited for a brief 45th anniversary reunion tour in 2011, but the tour ended quickly due to what bandmember Peter Tork has described as a “glitch”.
The Monkees television show ran from 1966 to 1968 and Davy appeared in 58 episodes. There was also a TV special and a movie. But his fame was relaunched long after the show had been cancelled, when MTV and others began airing episodes of The Monkees.
Davy Jones success had major impact on the careers of two other stars.
Thanks to his success, the producers of TV’s Star Trek sought out and cast a Jones lookalike named Walter Koenig, who were hoping to capitalize on the audience of female teens that Jones was quite popular with. His success as a singer caused someone else with the name David Jones to change his stage name to avoid confusion with the popular Monkee. We know that man today as David Bowie.