Y’know, I must admit that I was never a huge Monkees fan. Their heyday was a bit before my time, and since I grew up on a remote farm with all of five TV channels (one of them not being MTV) and my parents didn’t get cable until after I left for college, I missed any opportunities to watch reruns of their television show. At present it’s almost difficult to imagine growing up in an era before YouTube and smartphones, but I most certainly did. Luckily I’ve spent my years at college and beyond catching up on all sorts of anachronistic pop culture, though still never checking out the other fab four. In high school I had a friend who was really into The Monkees, and in fact kept insisting that she and I (plus two other friends) needed to begin a similar television show of our own. I just nodded and smiled, because I had no idea what kind of show that would be. And I still don’t, truth be told, other than I imagine it would involve music. Perhaps bell bottoms as well.
Even so, I felt that this week’s video should mark the passing of Davy Jones. When I finally did see a picture of The Monkees, I remember thinking that he was pretty darn cute. Then, after reading up on his life, I can dig where he was coming from. He was a theatre kid who saw The Beatles at the start of their stardom and wanted a piece of the pie for himself. And by gods, he got it, going on to be named the number one teen idol of all time by Yahoo Music in 2008. Not that Yahoo Music necessarily holds much sway in the world of pop culture (at least no more than any other music outlet) but the fact that even a girl on a distant farm who only listened to classical music until she was fifteen years old had heard of him and his band speaks to how far-reaching his stardom was (and still is, and will probably always be).
Sure, everyone’s heard “Daydream Believer.” It’s one of the only two Monkees songs that I can actually name off the top of my head. But damn, I really do love it. It’s simple and sweet and summery, hearkening to some innocent teenage years that never really existed outside of retro movies and Brady Bunch reruns. But we all kind of wanted to go there at some point. That opening piano is so familiar that it kind of lights up your heart from the get-go. You almost have to nod your head or tap your toes or even sing along under your breath as soon as you hear it. It’s universal and far-reaching and incredibly memorable, just like Davy Jones himself. May he rest in peace.