Davy Jones of The Monkees dies aged 66

 

Lizo Mzimba looks back at the career of Davy Jones

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Davy Jones, Manchester-born lead singer with 60s band The Monkees, has died aged 66, his publicist has confirmed.

He died in his sleep at his home in Florida. His publicist, Deborah Robicheau, said he had had a massive heart attack.

Brought together for a US TV series in 1966, Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork hits included Daydream Believer and I'm a Believer.

Jones was married three times and had four daughters.

The Monkees' TV show was popular in both the US and the UK, and the band had four number one albums in a 13-month period.

They were famous for their clean-cut image and were marketed as the American answer to The Beatles, notching up nine top 40 hits.

Acting career

Three of the band's original members - Jones, Dolenz and Tork - reunited last year to play a series of gigs.

The son of a railway fitter, David Thomas Jones was born in 1945 in Manchester.

He appeared as a teenager on soap opera Coronation Street, playing Ena Sharples's grandson.

He also had a role in the television series Z Cars, but when his mother died of emphysema, he left showbusiness to train as a jockey.

Davy Jones Davy Jones was the only British member of The Monkees

Basil Foster, the jockey who acted as his mentor, noticed Jones's skill as a performer and encouraged him to pursue his acting career.

He returned to acting with a role in a West End production of Oliver! After it transferred to Broadway, he built up a career as an actor and singer before auditioning for The Monkees.

Music journalist Paul Gambaccini described Jones as having "phenomenal" charisma and said that in 2008, he was voted the top teen idol of all time by Yahoo! Music.

"The pop world at that time loved The Beatles and that north-western English sound was something that America wanted, when they put together the so-called Pre-Fab Four," he said, referring to the nickname given to The Monkees.

Developing talent

Gambaccini said The Monkees had been put together by the music industry, something which was unheard of at that time.

"There had been individual teen idols who had been literally picked up off the street and groomed to be popstar, but there had never been a band that was put together, and they were assembled because the two producers had liked A Hard Day's Night, the Beatles' movie."

Radio presenter Dave Lee Travis said: "One of the things that people will probably be thinking about Davy Jones is, the fact that he was 66. He always looked like a little kid. I think even in his latter years he looked very, very young."

DJ Dave Lee Travis pays tribute to Davy Jones

He described The Monkees as "a lot of fun" and as a band which overcame its critics.

Ricky Wilson, of the Kaiser Chiefs, speaking at the NME awards, said Jones would be missed.

He said about Jones and The Monkees: "It was just some guys having fun. Not in the sort of forced, manufactured way, although many would say they were the first manufactured band.

"I think there's something infectious about guys looking like that and having fun: The tunes, you can't argue with them."

A former apprentice jockey in Newmarket, Jones remained a keen horseman all his life, winning his first race in England as a jockey in 1996. He also trained horses.

Jones also wrote short stories, poetry, and was interested in photography.

 

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