Davy Jones, the pint-sized Englishman who became a teen idol for the Baby Boom generation as the lead singer of The Monkees, died today at the age of 66. TMZ is reporting that Jones, whose lead vocal propelled “Daydream Believer” to the top of the pop charts in December of 1967, suffered a heart attack in his Florida home.
Jones rose to fame in 1965 when he was selected to become a member of The Monkees, a group that was originally constructed to be a made-for-TV replica of The Beatles. Jones, along with Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, proved to be a hit on both the small screen and the radio; the group churned out a number of wildly successful pop songs, including the #1 hits “Daydream Believer”, “Last Train To Clarksville” and “I’m A Believer.” Despite their prefabricated origins, The Monkees were eventually able to break free from their pop shackles; aided by the heady times and hallucinogens, the group released the experimental film and album Head in 1968, which has come to be recognized as essential documentation of the psychedelic era.
The group split up shortly after the release of Head, but that didn’t prevent Jones from experiencing some solo success. In a memorable episode of The Brady Bunch, he and Marcia Brady spent an episode tamely flirting with each other as Jones recorded “Girl” in the studio.
The group experienced a major resurgence in 1985 when MTV executives, themselves Boomers who almost certainly grew up watching Jones and his bandmates on television, started airing re-runs of The Monkees in blocks. This exposed the group to a whole new generation of fans, and the band (save Nesmith) reunited for a new album, a hit single (“That Was Then, This Is Now”) and a series of concert dates.
Jones is survived by his wife Jessica and four daughters, and everyone here at VH1 would like to extend our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.
[Photo: Getty Images, GIF by @bobbyfinger]