Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Daydream Believer's Farewell

Well, sorry it took so long to get this post up; it's difficult to write when the topic is an unexpected, sad one. As I'm sure you've all heard by now, last week on February 29th, Davy Jones of The Monkees passed away at the age of 66, after suffering a massive heart attack. Like several generations of Monkees' fans, I am shocked and sadden to lose a wonderful '60s music icon. At 14 years old, The Monkees were the soundtrack of my life, and the cute, little British Davy was my first favorite, just adorable and full of life. There was something special about The Monkees, as we fell in love with these guys and their music through their innovative TV series. I think I speak for many fans that The Monkees' music and show remind us of the fun, innocent days of our childhood/teen years, so it's sad to see the death of someone that represented those sweet memories. Since I don't think I can add anything new that hasn't been mentioned already in the numerous, great articles from this past week (including a nice one here by NPR about how the group is long-overdue for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), so here's a few of those hit songs sung by one of the world's favorite teen-idols.
Released in October 1967, "Daydream Believer" became The Monkees' third #1 hit single, topping the US charts for four weeks, and peaked at #5 in the UK. Written by John Stewart of The Kingston Trio, the original lyrics in the second stanza were "now you know how funky I can be," however, The Monkees changed "funky" to "happy." Unsure of the song's potential at first, Davy later admitted to having a hint of annoyance in his vocals while recording ongoing takes, which kind of slips through during the humorous opening (not usually played on the radio): "...don't get excited, man. It's 'cause I'm short, I know." This video is not meant to be taken too seriously as the guys are clearly goofing around with the instruments, you know, like Mike strumming the guitar through his tie and Micky passing his hand right through the middle of the tambourine. Gotta love Davy's groovy dance moves, just like he's ice staking!

Written by Boyce & Hart for The Monkees, "Valleri" reached #3 on the US Billboard chart, #1 on Cash Box, and #12 in the UK. After being asked by Don Kirshner (The Monkees' music supervisor) to write a "girl's name song" to be used in the TV series, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart pretended over the phone that the song was already finished, however, they came up with the song on their way to Kirshner's office! In this video, this version of "Valleri" is actually the first version of the song and was only intended to be used in the TV show, not released as a single. However, after radio DJs made bootleg recordings of this tune (recording it directly of the TV), it began receiving quite a bit of radio airplay. By the end of 1967 when The Monkees won the right for complete creative control over their music production, they re-recorded "Valleri" to be included on their fifth album, adding a popping brass arrangement. As Davy "floats" above the band in this clip, pay no attention to the fact his tambourine part does not actually match the recording. :)

And how about one more? Here's the Neil Diamond-penned "Look Out, Here Comes Tomorrow" from the 1967 album More of the Monkees.

Farewell, sweet Davy Jones. You'll always be one of our faves.

1 comment:

  1. So sad. And to think he was so energetic and entertaining just a few months ago at the concert. Good tribute post, Leah!