• cathyhendrix

Hey, Hey, He Was A Monkee


Davy Jones wasn't my favorite Monkee.

But the Monkees were my favorite anything for a long time so he still ranked pretty high up there. I can't recall how, as an eight year old, I would have been aware that The Monkees were premiering on television but I was. In that brick house on Catherine Street, on a Monday night in September 1966, through a portable black and white tv in the bedroom I shared with one of my sisters, I witnessed a mind altering event. And I was a lifer.

Now I can't think of when The Monkees weren't in my world and it is hard to imagine that world without four Monkees in it. Since the death of David Jones, I've had so many thoughts and memories swirling around in my head. This note is for me. If you all care to read along, I hope you enjoy it. In no particular order:

I read all the teen magazines starting at an early age but I didn't have The Monkees lunchbox or pillowcase. But one Christmas in the '80s, at a party in Atlanta, David T. Lindsay gave me a Showbiz Baby - if you girls remember the Liddle Kiddles, it was similar to that, small body/big head - of Michael Nesmith, in the package and with the record. I've since heard that he wishes he had it back! Not too long after that, Chris and RIchie Robinson's parents took them to New York - Chris brought me back a package of The Monkees bubblegum cards. So I guess, even as un-hip as it must have been at the time, everyone knew I was into The Monkees. After that, if I found some Monkees something, I might acquire it but I wouldn't say I was on the prowl. My former husband gave me a Showbiz Baby Davy for a birthday and I picked up Peter a few years ago. I recently got the Showbiz Baby Mickey. None of those three came with the packaging and that's okay with me. I have some pins, some bubblegum machine rings, a set of bobbleheads and even pajamas. But my favorite items are my faves for what they are and the story behind them.

Early in my internet use, I became friends with someone in Australia. We bonded over music and in particular, The Monkees. Later when I was going through a divorce, we were online together for a few hours a day - it helped... some. I was still a zombie. I would go to antique malls and just walk the aisles, not buying, just looking at the stuff from others' pasts. One day, I spotted a treasure, made the purchase and wrote my friend about it, like this:

ME: Guess what I got today. A Hot Wheels-type Monkeemobile (with little plastic Monkees inside)! So fabulous. Right at this very moment, I'm not getting as much of a thrill from it as I should but I know in the long run, I will.

HIM: Wow! A Monkee-mobile! Really?! Gee, I used to have one of those, 'til recently, in fact.

I didn't think too much of that until a week later when a package arrived from Australia with a smaller scale Monkeemobile inside. My friend sent me his Monkeemobile to cheer me up, the same day I found one in the antique mall. I still have both of them.

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I was glued to the TV for the initial two seasons of the Monkees. In fact, if I misbehaved, my punishment was no Monkees show that week. When it went into syndication and aired on Saturdays, I caught it every now and then but not faithfully. Like many of you perhaps, my passion for the TV show was re-ignited when MTV had a big promotional launch and re-aired the episodes, in order, in 1986. I don't know if the hipster music channel was trying to be ironic but the shows were, for me, iconic.

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My girlfriends grew up with similar Monkees experiences as I had. In fourth grade, during recess, my friends and I would perform as The Monkees in a certain part of the schoolground that formed a natural "stage." Suprisingly, I didn't have the singles (only albums in our house for the longest time) but I've recalled on my facebook page, being at a friend's house, listening to Last Train To Clarksville over and over and jumping on her bed until it broke. We imagined which one we would marry (Peter, for me) and taped their photos on our bedroom walls. Some of the girls moved on from the early Monkeemania... some of us are still hanging in there!

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As I said, I had the albums, not the singles for some reason (my singles buying frenzy came a bit later) but once Peter left, then Mike, I really had no love for the other two on their own. Or maybe I was growing up. But when Rhino re-issued the albums, even though I still have the originals, I bought them again. When cds came out, I bought them. Boxed sets, hell yeah. Re-issue again and give me a good reason, I'll get them one more time. The Monkees' music is all over my iPod and believe it or not, I still discover new things.

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My former husband was not a great gift giver. It's not that he couldn't be generous, he just wasn't always paying attention. For example, if he bought me a ring, it would be gold (I only wear silver) and in the wrong size. But he did get me that Davy figure for a birthday and one Christmas, he got it just right. He got me (at some great effort and expense) the newly issued VHS Boxed Set of all the TV episodes, specials and Head. It came with a Monkees watch - which I wore for years and, of course, still have. Thanks former husband.

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Remember the New Monkees: Jared Chandler (guitar and vocals), Dino Kovas (drums and vocals), Marty Ross (bass guitar and vocals), and Larry Saltis (lead guitar and vocals)? No, neither do I.

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When reunion tours started happening, I saw The Monkees twice - both times in Atlanta. Once was at the Omni with Valerie McDevitt and once was at Chastain Park with my former husband. Both were, if not steller performances, great experiences. I never saw them again - circumstances never permitted. And now... and now...

I saw Michael Nesmith doing his own show a couple of times. Absolutely great. Not The Monkees, but great.

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In a few tv interviews over the years, Davy came off as bitter. mostly about the executives who profited from The Monkees fame. He later came around saying the fans didn't want to know about that, they just wanted to hear the songs.

He was right. He was corny. He was dreamy. He was a Monkee. He was Davy Jones... and always will be that beautiful boy on the beach, the one with the stars in his eyes, doing the skate, playing the maracas, singing "cheer up, sleepy Jean" and "I wanna be free."

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