Davy Jones had a heart attack and died in his sleep at his Florida home yesterday. He was 66 years old. The British front man of the world’s first ever manufactured pop band The Monkees is survived by his wife and four daughters.
From Manchester, Jones started his acting career in the UK appearing on TV programmes Coronation Street and Z-Cars, as well as staring in Oliver! in the West End before auditioning for The Monkees.
The Monkees were banded for their incredibly brill and immensely popular TV show of the same name, which was broadcast in America from 1966 to 1968. This saw Jones quickly shoot to fame as their frontman. Their overnight success gained the band much distain from some of their non-manufactured contemporary acts, such as The Byrds who went so far as to write a song about it – 'So You Want to be a Rock n Roll Star'.
Behind the scenes, the band strived to be taken seriously and fought and won the right to perform playing their own instruments and later their own music, with Jones as singer and heart throb. His cheeky-British-chap persona made him impossible not to love.
The Monkees TV show guaranteed their singles spots on the top of the billboards with legendary pop bangers like 'I’m a Believer', 'I’m not Your Stepping Stone' and 'Last Train to Clarkesville' still being in heavy rotation on radio stations worldwide.
As well as being brilliantly funny, off the wall absurd and wildly fun – the TV show was also a great platform for other young musicians, and debuted acts such as Tim Buckley and Donovan. Its legacy of making music accessible and fun to generation after generation of kids lives on, with it being rerun decades after its production.
The Monkees ended with a feature film ‘Head’, co-written by a young and unknown Jack Nicholson. It was a commercial flop but amassed huge cult following, being one of the most hilarious shambolic pieces of film committed to celluloid.
After the split of the band Davy Jones kept up his acting career, released solo albums and went back to his equine interests, completing his training to be a jockey and winning a races in 1996. His spirited quest for fun will not be forgotten.