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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones of the Monkees is Gone

I couldn't believe my eyes.  I was just checking my email, and there was one from Billboard.  This is nothing unusual.  I write as the Christian music examiner, so I keep up on musical news.  But, the headline caught my eye:  Davy Jones of the Monkees Dead at 66.  What?  It couldn't be.  It was.

What shocked me a bit was probably my reaction.  I took the news with a heavy heart and even started to cry.  I never knew Davy Jones personally.  Well, ok.  There was the time I got my picture taken with him on my birthday.  And, I did get his autograph at a reunion show of Dolenz Jones Boyce and Hart when they appeared at Six Flags.  But, I never knew him.  Still somehow he and the songs he sang shaped my world more than I realized till today.

Me with Davy Jones at Union Station in St. Louis.

He was one of four stars in a televsion show-created band - The Monkees.  He took a lot of heat for not being a "real" musician even though he really was talented.  The show aired in the shadow of the newly-arriving Beatles to America.  Davy Jones was the Monkee with the British English accent that tied the band to the Beatles' popularity.  But, Davy was an actor with a baby face that never seemed to grow old.  The Monkees spanned generations for years in reruns and reunion tours.  In fact, he was still touring solo when he died.

I know that Davy did not write his own lyrics to at least most of what he sang.  But, the lyrics to the songs he did sing shaped my philosophy more than I realized.  All afternoon, after hearing the news of his death, I keep hearing in my head:

Cheer up sleepy Jean.  Oh what can it mean to a Daydream beleiver (believuh) and a homecoming queen.

But, there's another song that popped into my head that I always loved.  When I hear it, I see visions of the show as they walked along the beach and turned flips on the swingset (something I also mastered BTW) in my day - because of the Monkees.  That song also seems to fit the state of our culture, and fuels the fire for spurring me on in schooling my children.  The song is "Shades of Gray", and the lyrics go something like this:

When the world and I were young, just yesterday.....
Life was such a simple game, a child could play...
It was easy then to tell right from wrong
Easy then to tell weak from strong
When a man should stand and fight
Or just go along...
But today there is no black or white
Only shades of Gray...
Someone on my Facebook posted that today Davy literally took "The Last Train to Clarksville".  You will be missed Davy Jones.  Your youthfulness, your energy, your baby face, your accent and your positive attitude cheered up many fans from the moment you shined on TV in 1966 to your last appearance at the age of 66.

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