David “Davy” Jones passed away this week, shocking fans of the multi-talented singer. As a member of the Monkees, he was one of pop culture’s biggest teen idols, but his career consisted of so much more. So let’s take a look at his body of work through video highlights.
David got his big break in the role of the Artful Dodger in the successful Broadway play, Oliver!. As a part of the cast, he appeared on the same episode of The Ed Sullivan Show as the Beatles in their American television debut.
He soon signed a contract with Screen Gems, a division of Columbia Pictures, which led to the release of a solo album. However, a successful audition for a new TV series about a rock band would soon change his life.
The Emmy-winning TV series The Monkees ran for only two seasons, but has never really been off the air due to reruns. When MTV ran a Monkees marathon in 1986, it introduced the group to a new audience, whose children probably watch the show via the Me-TV and Antenna TV networks nowadays.
“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” was basically a Davy Jones solo hit. The “45 single had the words, “My favorite Monkee, Davy Jones sings”, printed on its label.
He sang lead on one of the group’s biggest hits, “Daydream Believer”.
“Valleri” was the Monkees’ last Top 10 single, and it also featured Davy on lead vocals.
After their TV series was canceled, the Monkees turned their attention to planned TV specials and films. Their psychedelic 1968 movie Head was a box office disappointment, but is now a highly praised cult favorite. One of its most memorable moments was this song and dance routine featuring Jones and Toni Basil.
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee scored low ratings opposite the 1969 Academy Awards telecast, and marked the end of the group.
After Peter Tork (in 1969) and Mike Nesmith (in 1970) left the group, Davy and Micky continued to tour and record together under the name of the Monkees. Unsatisfied with the production on the Changes album, they went on to record with songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart under the name of Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart.
He made a number of TV appearances on a variety of TV shows throughout the years, including Love, American Style, Laugh In, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and did voice work in animated series like Scooby-Doo, Spongebob Squarepants, and Phineas & Ferb. However, his visit to The Brady Bunch is said to be the most re-runned episode of any show in TV history.
Though Jones had discussed plans to reunite the Monkees as early as 1975, it wasn’t until the group’s popularity soared in 1986 that a 20th anniversary tour occurred.
Throughout the years, he never lost his vocal ability. In 2006, he recorded “Your Personal Penguin” for a tribute album of songs based on Sandra Boynton’s popular children books.
In 2011, he reunited with Dolenz and Tork for a Monkees 45th anniversary tour that was well received by fans. Despite its success, the tour was later shortened due to rumored scheduling conflicts by management.
Jones toured as a solo act for many years, often as a part of local radio station-sponsored shows along with other 1960’s-era artists. He co-hosted and performed in a recent PBS special, 60’s Pop, Rock, & Soul: My Music.
Share your favorite memories of Davy Jones in the comments section below.
// Notes from the Road
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