R.I.P. Davy Jones

Davy Jones, lead singer of ’60s pop group/parody band The Monkees, passed away yesterday at age 66. Did you realize that Jones and the whole Monkees troupe already have a movie available on Blu-ray, from the vaunted Criterion Collection no less?

The Monkees, comprised of Jones and fellow bandmembers Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith, were originally assembled by television executives in 1966 for a sitcom of the same name. They were designed as a parody of The Beatles, and initially did only limited performing on the songs recorded under their name. However, the group fought for greater creative control and eventually became a real, legitimate band that recorded and toured outside the confines of the TV show.

‘The Monkees’ sitcom only ran for two years, but had enough of a cult following to spin off a feature film, written and produced by Bob Rafelson (‘Five Easy Pieces’) and Jack Nicholson. Yes, that Jack Nicholson. Rafelson directed the film, called ‘Head’. It was a psychedelic, stream-of-consciousness musical comedy described as a deliberate effort to thoroughly destroy the group’s clean-cut public image and, in the words of Mike Nesmith, “kill the Monkees.” The movie baffled both critics and audiences, and was a box office bomb, but later went on to develop its own cult status.

The Monkees survived ‘Head’, but just barely. Tork left the band in 1969, and Nesmith exited in 1970. Jones and Dolenz reformed the group with new artists and continued to tour during the following decades. Tork and Nesmith rejoined the others on-and-off for reunion tours in the 1990s and 2000s, but the relationships among the band were strained. Nesmith did not participate in the most recent reunion in 2011, which was cut short due to personal conflicts.

Davy Jones suffered a fatal heart attack yesterday near his home in Florida. Out of respect, I’ll refrain from making any “Last Train to Clarksville” puns.

‘Head’ was released on Blu-ray in 2010 as part of Criterion’s ‘America Lost and Found: The BBS Story‘ box set.

[via Reuters]


  1. paramedic0112

    I have the BBS blu ray box and I really like the Monkees movie Head. It’s pretty goofy and can drag at times, but it’s got some really good songs including Porpoise song, which was written by Carole King. The special features have some really good interviews and the audition tapes of each Monkee. If you like the Beatles movies you will like it. It’s also interesting to note that a lot of their early hits were written by Neil Diamond (I’m a Believer, Little Bit Me, Little Bit You). Davy Jones had a really good voice. Nesmith is/was a talented songwriter. Kind of funny, Nesmith’s mom invented white out.

  2. EM

    I heard the sad news yesterday, but somehow it made the Monkees gag on last night’s Modern Family all the funnier, as though the joke had been intended as a topical tribute.

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