Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Monkees

"borrowed from th web"


Davy Jones, one of the original Monkees died from a heart attack this week.  he was 68.

It was just a few months after we moved to Wilmington in August of 1966 that my aunt, Betty Ann, and her family came to see us.  It was one of the few times I recall them visiting.  They seldom left home, except for heading over to the lake by Morrow Mountain.  The occasion had to do with a bowling tournament Joel, her husband, was in.  I had never bowled and knew it wasn’t something my parents did.   It’d be another year or so before I’d bowl my first game at a friend’s birthday party, but like my parents, bowling would never be a game I became very interested in.  As an adult, I’ve mostly considered the game a poor excuse to drink beer.  But I’d been told that Joel was pretty good.  He was strong and could sling that ball and the pins seemed to jump out of the way.  

For me, what was really exciting about having Betty Ann and Joel visit was that my cousin Merry Rose came along.  I’m also sure Leslie was along, but she was still an infant.  I’m not sure if my younger brother had been born; if not, he wasn’t far off as he came in mid-December.    What I really remember about all of this is that Merry Rose was head-over-heels crazy about the Monkees.  When we were at the shopping center, she brought one of their records and one of the times we were watching her father bowl, she was all fidgety about getting home in time to watch the Monkees TV show on our black-and-white TV.   It was okay that the TV was black-and-white, that’s all most of us had back then.  I don’t remember if Merry had a favorite Monkee, but if she did, I’m sure it was Davy Jones.  All the girls seemed to fall for his smile and accent.  

Even now, over forty years later, songs such as “Daydream Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,”  “Pleasant Valley Sunday” and “I’m a Believer” easily spin in my head.  There music was about love and life and when compared to the direction of Rock and Roll in the rest of that decade of turmoil, innocent.  The Monkees TV show ran from 1966 to 1968.  By the end of their run, what Paul McCarthy might have called “silly love songs” had been replaced by harsher music just as the decade’s “summer of love” morphed into summers of discontent as the country was rocked with protest and riots.   Instead of love songs, you had groups like Chicago with sound tracks from the 1968 Democratic Convention and the chanting of “The Whole World is Watching” dubbed into their first album.  In such a world, the songs and the comic antics of the Monkees seemed out-of-place. 

I am thankful for my memories of the Monkees and their songs.  They take me back to a much simpler time; a time before the riots and turmoil that would define much of my junior high and high school years.   Rest in peace, Davy Jones.


  1. They made a big impact on our lives!!!
    He caught the last train to Clarksville- I only hope it was the right train! Amen - RIP Davy Jones!


    1. Good post, Sage. I don't think I ever watched The Monkees TV show. But I do remember seeing Davy Jones on an episode of The Brady Bunch. Guess that was more my speed.

      And I've always loved "Last Train To Clarksville."

  2. For those of us who were little kids when that show came out, we forget what a cultural phenomenon The Monkeys turned out to be; much more significant than their "bubble gum" image, I think.


  3. Absolutely! I too remember growing up watching the reruns of the Monkees show, (which my mother truly hated) but she worked on most Saturdays so I was free to pick my own shows on our color tv in the den! Otherwise it was black and white only a a small like 13 inch tv in my room!!! That was a big deal back then! Not so much today right! Thanks for the nice comment about my sweet little grandbaby! She's my daughter's little princess! Enjoy your weekend, I believe Spring is going to visit us again tomorrow. Woke up to a cool (very crisp) 16 degrees.

  4. I am always surprised, and I guess comforted, at the influence of song in our lives. Whole feelings and memories roll in when hearing a tune which was in the air during a past situation. Nice . . . I once heard "American Woman" bouncing off rocks in a canyon near the hot spring in New Mexico. So taken back am I when that tune airs by.

  5. I'm sorry I missed this tribute when it was first posted - I was a fan of The Monkees, too. In fact I have that album pictured above still. That was a simpler time, wasn't it?

  6. The Monkees came along at a time when I was just out of law school and I had no time for popular culture. I didn't even watch Star Trek regularly. But I liked what I saw of them, both for their personality and music and the question they posed: if you replicate all the Beatle parts, do you get the Beatles? The answer was "no", but the exercise was certainly worthwhile and what you got was worth something in itself.