A generation of women of a certain age is mourning the passing of one of our earliest and most enduring crushes, Davy Jones of The Monkees.
Daydream Believer was the first single I ever bought. My older sister and I had a little record player, just big enough for 45s, and we played that song over and over and over. We may both have been swooning over Davy, but I don’t remember having to compete with her for the right to his attention, should the opportunity ever present itself. Perhaps she preferred a different Monkee (hard though that is to believe), because if not, I never would have been able to think of him as my own.
My sister played the older-sister-card when The Beatles arrived; that’s how come Paul was her Beatle. John was already married when they got to America, and therefore out of the running, so she instantly laid claim to Paul. It didn’t matter that I was nine and she was eleven at the time, marrying a Beatle seemed plausible to us. I didn’t mind that she snagged Paul; I would have chosen George anyway. That left Ringo for my little sister. These assignments were immutable and to this day I think of George as my Beatle.
My older sister and I shared a brief fascination with Leonard Whiting, the handsome young man who played Romeo in Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet. We tore pictures of him out of teen magazines and taped them to our shared bedroom walls, but we didn’t fight over who he belonged to. He was more of a passing fancy. I don’t think I ever saw him in another movie, and I don’t remember anything else about him, but my conviction that he is the perfect Romeo has never wavered.
When George Harrison passed away, guitars weren’t the only things gently weeping. I felt a deep sadness because the world had lost a great artist, and, in the way of many celebrity deaths, it was as if a friend had died. With Davy Jones, however, it was as if I finally realized he was never going to appear at my door and declare that I was the only girl for him. (My fantasy makes no provision for the fact that my husband might be the one answering the doorbell!)
There are those who are quick to point out that The Monkees didn’t know how to play their instruments when they were hired, much less write their own music, and were therefore, not worthy of admiration, but disdain. To those people I say ─ who asked you? When I was little, I loved their music. Pleasant Valley Sunday remains one of my favorite songs of all time, and did you know that that was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin? Songwriters don’t come much more talented than that.
After I heard the news, I spent some time on the Internet poking around into all things Davy Jones and discovered something wonderful. It seems that Davy Jones was not only a pop star, he was a nice man. This article in the UK’s Daily Mail, written several years ago, is worth a few minutes of your time if you are one of those women of a certain age.