ay 1 of 31 Days of The Monkees in honor of the late Davy Jones:
Yesterday, February 29, Davy Jones died of a heart attack at age 66 -- much too young. Although they were just a "bit" before my time, I was a Monkees fan. I was born in 1966, the year the quirky series premiered. Since I was only two years old when the show went off the air, I can't say that I remember watching it at that time, but I do remember seeing re-runs at some point in time. I know because I could remember certain scenes -- like the one where the boys were washing dishes and one of them would give a rinsed cup to Pete to put away and he would turn and put it right back on the counter to be picked up and washed again. Anyway, my sisters told me that was from a Monkees show when I asked one time, and later I did see that very episode.
My sisters had some of the albums and little 45 records, so I grew up with their music, and not just the "hits" that played on the radio. I learned some of their really very well written and performed songs that never got air time.
In the eighties attention was on The Monkees again when they celebrated the 25th anniversary of their creation as a pop group and came together, at least three of them did, to do a Reunion Tour. I even went, with my sisters Dee and Lois and my nephew Jamie, to see them in concert when they played Roberts Stadium in Evansville, IN in 1986. It was a great show!
That year a local television station showed reruns of the old show every afternoon, and I would keep a cassette tape recorder by the TV set so I could tape their songs as they sang them. Then I started finding their old albums and buying them up. I learned some of their songs I'd never learned before. My oldest sister Dennice's son Jamie was eight years old in 1986, and he fell in love with The Monkees. He learned ALL of their songs and could actually sound like Davy Jones, his favorite. How many thirty-somethings today could say that they went to their first pop concert at the age of eight and that it was a Monkees concert! lol Jamie is still a musician and songwriter, and remembers, I believe a bit fondly and with a bit of embarrassment, his captivation with The Monkees.
My musical tastes are wide ranging. I love the Beatles who had good opinions of The Monkees, and I like The Byrds who apparently hated The Monkees. I like music much harder than what The Monkees were instructed to sing, and I like music much softer as well. I know their stories, how they were put together, and what musical talents they did and did NOT have when they were first thrown together. And I know that many of the songs I like by them were written and performed BY them, and that I like their voices and the way they blended together -- although admittedly Pete really couldn't sing. Poor thing. ("Aunty Griselda" is a great song though.)
In my bedroom, near my little turntable/tape player/CD player is a small stack of 33 albums that I have not been able to part with, and among them are ALL of The Monkees' albums. Somewhere in the possession of one of my sisters is a little 45 record, scratched and much-played with "Daydream Believer" on one side and "Goin' Down" on the other. Of the two I always preferred "Goin' Down", by the way.
I never idolized The Monkees, group or individuals, but I did enjoy them. I liked the silly show they put on each week -- the humor was quirky and that's what I grew up with --, and I loved their music. It was a very nice part of my growing-up years. It's a shame Davy passed away so young.
Here's one of my favorite songs that they did with Davy singing lead (and a very good harmony done by Mickey, who was my personal favorite), written by Diane Hildebrand and Jack Keller, and recorded on their album HEADQUARTERS in 1967.
A distant night bird mocks the sun,
I wake as I have always done,
To freshly-scented sycamore,
And cold, bare feet on hardwood floor.
My steaming coffee warms my face,
I'm disappointed in the taste,
But, there's a peace the early brings
The morning world of growing things.
I feel the moments hurry on,
It was today, it's died away,
And now it is forever gone.
And I will drink my coffee slow,
And I will watch my shadow grow,
And disappear in firelight,
And sleep alone again tonight.