|"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 By the end of their run, what Paul McCarthy might have called “silly love songs” had been replaced by harsher music just as the decade’s “summer of love” morphed into summers of discontent as the country was rocked with protest and riots.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.