Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones Of The Monkees Has Died

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 Clarksdale," "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 they sold more albums than the Beatles.

The Monkees music was written by some of the best songwriters of the day, including Carole King and Neil Diamond. As the group grew more popular, they insisted on writing their own music and playing their own instruments. Although their later work has attracted a huge cult audience over the years, their mainstream success quickly dwindled and the group split in 1971. Jones went onto a solo career, and he memorably performed his song "Girl" on an episode of The Brady Bunch.

Jones returned to acting in the late 1970s when his solo career failed to take off, but he found it difficult to escape the shadow of the Monkees. By the mid-1980s Monkee 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. Last summer they patched things up for a 45h anniversary tour, though it was called short because of what guitarist Peter Tork called a "glitch."

Jones was on a solo tour at the time of his death, playing as recently as last week.