Friday, March 02, 2012
Happy Dance Friday #86 - Hail and Farewell, Davy Jones
Normally, I don't blog about celebrity deaths. Davy Jones, however, is different. I first encountered The Monkees in the early 1970s, when I was but a wee little princess, and the show on one of its early reruns. Bright colors, happy music, funny jokes, silly costumes and a fast pace kept my attention then, and they still do. There was a real friendship amongst the four characters, but Davy was always my favorite.
Our family lived in suburban New York at the time, but our next door neighbors were from Scotland, and my mother's closest friend was British, so it might have been partly due to the accent that Davy caught my attention the most. Sure, he was the "cute" one, and even as a tiny sproglet, I had an eye for the heartthrobs, and Davy's character had an eye for the ladies. If pressed, though, I'd have to say it was Davy's limitless well of charisma that made him stand out for me. While I'm sure that he's had his share of rough times and bad days, when in front of the camera, his performing persona was a roll-with-the-punches, make the best of it, always looking towards something wonderful on the horizon sort of character, and he made it work.
Years later, I bonded with a favorite cousin over a shared love of the Monkees, and in college, a fellow student and I navigated the then-new frontier of electronic mail by creating a new class called "Davy Dancing," based upon the choreography of the classic "Daydream Believer." So it really is in part due to Davy that I can use email at all. A pair of dormmates who remain friends to this day were also Monkees fans and introduced me to Head, which was not merely the series on the big screen, but did give Davy a chance to show off his dancing chops, with choreography by Toni Basil, no less:
The late 80s release of Pool It delighted my Monkees-loving self and I remember taking lots of walks in Ventura, CA, with the cassette playing in my Walkman, and the Davy-fronted songs were among my favorites. I'm pretty sure the actual cassette met its end long ago in a series of moves, but I still have the cover and refuse to part with that. Too many good memories. "I'll Love You Forever" was written by Davy, and would make for a lovely wedding dance:
What sticks with me the most, though, is Davy's cameo in The Brady Bunch Movie, reprising his iconic guest role from the tv series, as Marcia's celebrity guest at the prom. Of course a prom in the harder edged world of the new millennium is a far cry from the Brady Bunch of the sixties, but Davy took it in good stride and did the job he came to do with his trademark aplomb, even as his bubblegum song, "Girl" turned into a headbanging power ballad.
I think Davy has a lesson for all of us, especially the creative types, in that clip. The world is going to change, but those who know who they are as an artist can roll with the punches and find a way to make it work. That's definitely worth a happy dance in my book.