Rolling Stone writes:
“Davy Jones of the Monkees has died of an apparent heart attack at age 66. The singer, who had been on a solo tour this month, complained of chest pains last evening and was admitted to a hospital this morning in Stuart, Florida.
“Jones was born in Manchester, England and started acting as a child. In 1964 he had the misfortune of appearing in the cast of Oliver! on the same episode where the Beatles made their debut. The next year he was cast in The Monkees, a comedy show/band inspired by the success of the Beatles. They were an instant hit in the ratings and the record shops, scoring massive singles with Last Train to Clarksville, I’m a Believer, Stepping Stone and Pleasant Valley Sunday. Jones – who played tambourine in the band – was the lead vocalist on the classics Daydream Believer and I Wanna Be Free. At the peak of their popularity in 1967 the group sold more albums than the Beatles.”
In critiquing the 2000 film, Daydream Believers: The Monkees Story, Adele Marley writes: “The Monkees showed the entertainment industry how to tie television and music together in a profitable package.” She considers the “Prefab Four” a marketing ploy, because the group was hired just for their voices.
The studio executives already had professional musicians and songwriters including Carole King, Neil Diamond, and Neil Sedaka, among others, and forbid The Monkees from writing songs or playing any instruments.
A fan site dedicated to the history of The Monkees writes:
“On September 12, 1966, The Monkees classic TV show premiered on NBC. In the second half of 1965, show creators, Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson, placed in ad in “Variety” calling for “folk & rock musicians” to star in a comedy about a struggling band, inspired by The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. It turned out over 400 applied for the job. Some of those 400 included some now-famous and well-known people such as Harry Nilsson and Stephen Stills. But, only four lucky men were brought together to become the biggest pop & TV phenomenon of the late-60s. Davy Jones, of England was cast as the first Monkee, taking the part of percussionist, while Micky Dolenz of California was hired as the group’s drummer. The second half of The Monkees is comprised of bassist/guitarist, Peter Tork of Washington, D.C. and guitarist, Mike Nesmith of Texas. Their music was handled by ‘the man with golden ear,’ Don Kirshner, who served as their Music Supervisor.”
Kirshner was eventually fired as The Monkees tried to wrest creative control away from the studio executives. They went on tour, showing the world they could actually play musical instruments, and began the battle that resulted in their TV show being cancelled in March 1968.
“In mid-1967, a great achievement was accomplished for the guys when their TV show won two Emmys. Also, during this high point of The Monkees’ career, they scored their third and final #1 single, Daydream Believer. In late 1967, The Monkees fourth album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. was their last to hit #1. By the end of the year, The Monkees had outsold The Beatles & The Rolling Stones combined!
“In April of 1968, The Monkees’ fifth album, The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees just missed the #1 spot peaking at #3…. By the end of 1968, Monkee Mania had died.”
Rolling Stone notes that “By the mid-1980s Monkees mania was reborn when MTV and other stations began regularly airing old episodes of the TV show. The band (minus Mike Nesmith) reunited for a highly successful reunion tour in 1986. They toured off and on through 2001, when infighting led to another split.
‘I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane. David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels’.”
The Telegraph reports:
“Jones is survived by his four children. He lived in the US with his third wife, Jessica Pacheco, who is 31 years his junior and whom he met in a stage production of Cinderella.
“In a recent interview, he recalled the moment they fell in love: ‘She turned to me one day and said, Let’s run upstairs and make love. I looked at her. At my age, I said, it’s going to have to be one or the other’.”