Thoughts on Davy Jones Passing

by - Friday, March 02, 2012

Ok, first of all, this video shot up to over a million views in the last 24 hours, which is a double testament to Davy Jones and the Monkees enduring legacy and the ability of older people to use the internet (just kidding!). It is, in all seriousness a lovely clip of him and certainly captures the band in all their 60's glory.

I apologize that this won't be as eloquent as Mike Nesmith's thing (if someone can explain that one to me, I would appreciate it), but he is probably entitled to a depth of feeling I certainly can't emulate. I know a lot of people have been torn up about another pop celebrity's death lately, but to me this really does feel like a little less magic is in the world or something. For a good chunk of my childhood, my brother and I faced the world without having cable, so our viewing choices depended on what our parents (especially my dad) had around. One of those gems was a couple of vhs tapes of a recorded Monkees marathon on early MTV. Perhaps because of this weird time warp- watching a 60's tv show with 80's commercials (I can still remember some of the jingles and the shots that went with them and my brother actually watched the movie that we saw the ad for over and over again) as kids in the 90's makes the show absolutely timeless to me, even if I can see the 60's-ness of it now (is it a coincidence that I study art from that period? Well, probably, but humor me for a minute).

We watched those obsessively and I distinctly remember listening to tapes of their music on our family car trips while I played with my Barbies. My cousin Shelly and I would pretend to swoon over my brother when he claimed to be Davy, and then be repelled when he claimed to be Mickey Mike or Peter (an interesting choice in retrospect, but whatev). We crushed on Davy like other kids were crushing on JTT, and the reality that he was older than my parents never occurred to me. Those shows felt like they were just for us, and they built up such a weird lexicon of references for us. To me, those shows are my childhood, and I just find it so weird that part of that is missing now.

I find his passing very strange, partially because to me he will always be the guy in this video- early 20's- just a young happy little man. There is just such a disconnect. But at the same time, I wonder if this will actually make coping easier on us- we never experienced him in the present, he always was already a part of the past we didn't recognize. The Monkees leave a strange legacy in the world, but I think they made a huge mark on my brother and I, and if I could do anything I would just watch all the shows now (preferably with Martha Quinn sporadically popping up). Thank you to Davy Jones for being my first crush, even if I only thought of it because the girls on the show were doing it. Also, thank you for having such a strange funny and manic show that would appeal to 2 little kids. Finally, thanks for fueling my love of music as a catalyst for the imagination, for the time I still spend with my headphones on (and the Monkees music is on my Zune), and for singing songs that are so written into me that I still know all the words. The whole thing meant a lot to me, and it probably always will. Someday, hopefully my kids will love that show too, and I think things can carry on, or at least I hope so.

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