Davy Jones 1945-2012
Davy Jones was my second imaginary boyfriend, after Paul McCartney, but he was really my first; I had a crush on Paul when I was 6, and what do you know about love or lurve or luv when you’re 6? But Davy hit right when puberty did, when I was 9, and so began our torrid, tortured two-year affair. I lived for The Monkees show, I wore out my Monkees albums, I slept with 16 Magazine under my pillow. Davy, Davy, Davy. He was the perfect love object for a pre-teen, tiny and cuddly and gentle as a teddy bear, with shiny pixie hair and big brown doe eyes. And, oh, that British accent! Davy was the complete package.
But within a couple of years, my hormones kicked it up a notch and the playroom door swung open. Cuddly toys would no longer satisfy. I moved on, to real boys, that I could touch and kiss, and dangerous British rock stars like Robert Plant and Mick Jagger, snake-hips and lewd lips.
Only as an adult, did I realize how garage-pop-great those first three Monkees albums were: “I’m a Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” “Mary Mary,” “Daydream Believer.” Yeah, there were studio musicians on them, but so what? And The Monkees series was stunningly innovative for an American sitcom, with a loose, improvisatory structure and a sly, surrealist undertone (it won the Emmy for best comedy series in 1967). The Monkees’ pop cultural legacy is genuine, and deserved.
But when I heard the news of Davy Jones’s sudden passing today, I wasn’t thinking of rock cred or Emmys. I was suddenly nine-years-old, in my room plastered with Monkees pin-ups, dropping the needle on “I Wanna Be Free” for the 50th time in a row and imagining slow-dancing with the cutest boy in the world.
© Joyce Millman, The Mix Tape. 2012