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Monkees Davy Jones

March 1, 2012 by staff 

Monkees Davy Jones, Davy Jones, who died of a heart attack Wednesday in Florida at the age of 66, was a singer in the original boy band, the Monkees, and a heartthrob for millions of teenage girls in the 1960s.

The group, put together by NBC Television, was the world’s first manufactured pop band and was derided by critics as much as it was adored by fans. Two members of the band – Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork – could not play their own instruments; only one Monkee, Mike Nesmith, could actually play a guitar. Meanwhile, the diminutive, British-born Jones, a former child actor chosen by NBC as the group’s designated pin-up, performed (lipsynched, some claimed) to music played by the cream of Los Angeles session musicians.

In the 1960s, their television show, The Monkees, ran for 52 episodes, and the group sold millions of copies of such songs as I’m a Believer, Last Train to Clarksville and (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone.

When their show ended, the Monkees decided to seize artistic control and play their own songs. Dolenz learned to play drums, Jones a bit of guitar. They started to write some of their own material and went on tour in 1967, supported, bizarrely, by Jimi Hendrix. But their run in the charts soon ended and, after splitting up in 1968, they disappeared into obscurity.

Jones, Dolenz and Tork staged various Monkees reunions over the years, and in 1997 the band staged a comeback with Nesmith for the first time, releasing a new album and embarking on a tour. Last year, however, they pulled the plug on a tour to celebrate the band’s 45th anniversary. Later, “internal group conflicts” were cited for the cancellation.

Jones never seemed unduly upset by the band’s failure to return to the big time: “Wherever I go, people still shout out: ‘Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees.’ And I never tire of that.”

David Thomas Jones was born in Manchester, England, on Dec. 30, 1945. Because of his small stature, the boy and his father originally pursued the possibility of Davy becoming a jockey. He received his big break in show business when, in early 1962, a theatrical agent who knew Jones’s trainer Basil Foster came to visit. Foster mentioned that Jones had acted a little – including a brief appearance in an early episode of Coronation Street – and pointed out that he “spent all day cracking jokes and doing shtick.”

A few days later, the agent told Foster that a West End production of Oliver! was looking for someone to play the role of the Artful Dodger. According to Jones, Foster insisted he try out for the part.

Oliver! proved an immediate hit and transferred in 1964 from London to New York. There, with the rest of the cast, Jones appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on the same night that the Beatles made their debut appearance. Jones watched the Beatles from the wings, and noted the adulation the band received. “I said to myself, ‘I want a piece of that.’ ”

Following his appearance on Ed Sullivan, Jones was spotted by scouts from the television wing of Columbia Records, who signed him up. The deal led to a couple of appearances in soap operas as well as the release of a single.

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