Like millions of other music fans, I was shocked and deeply saddened when I learned that Monkees singer Davy Jones died earlier today. He was only 66.
Although I never had the chance to meet or interview Jones (you can read my preview of the Monkees' 2011 tour featuring my interview with Micky Dolenz here), I did get to see and review the Monkees for The Orange County Register at the Doheny Days festival in the late 1990s and at the Greek Theatre last year when the group went out in celebration of their 45th anniversary. Jones' positive persona, fantastic tenor voice and comedic talents were on display throughout both those shows, as they were in the Monkees' popular TV series and groundbreaking 1968 film Head.
I have been among the small, but growing number of music writers puzzled (and admittedly a bit angry) at how The Monkees have not been given credit for their contributions to the late 1960s music explosion. Orange County Register pop critic Ben Wener posted an outstanding tribute to Jones and the Monkees earlier today and I really recommend that (click here to read his article).
Also, on a "guilty pleasures" episode of Music Worth Buying we posted last year, I spent a considerable amount of my energy articulating why the Monkees mattered in the 1960s, and why the group's spirit and music endures today.
I still can't believe that Davy Jones is gone, but thanks to his wonderful recordings (notably his lead vocals on “Daydream Believer,” the emotive “Shades of Gray” and rousing "Valleri”) and classic television series, the talented singer-actor will be remembered for his considerable gifts to pop culture, and yes, rock 'n' roll too.