Halloween Party, 1965 Belleville "We dressed as charcters from the Beatles' movie, "Help". This was in the basement/garage of our Crest Haven Drive house." (c) mary_m on flickr
Sure, Ricky Nelson, Frank Sinatra and Elvis predated Davy, and yeah, maybe Leif Garrett and David Cassidy had better hair, and Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake had more solo success, but Davy is still the best.
Davy Jones represented all that’s great about teen idols. Physically, Davy was all you could ever ask for in a fave rave. Small in stature as to not scare away the young girls, with the prerequisite Beatle haircut (or Prince Valiant do, depending on the year), a youthful face, big doe eyes, and a toothy grin. But he had something that other teen idols of the time didn’t have: a cheeky mischievous sparkle behind those eyes and a rebellious spirit.
I was reading this article today about One Direction’s impact on sales for other artists, and how they essentially broke “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo in the US and made Little Mix a top 10 selling album and previously, people like Ed Sheeran and Olly Murs have credited them for making their music more popular in America.
I thought it was really interesting to hear how just a single tweet by one of the band members could have such an impact on sales, or in this case, just featuring that Jason Derulo song in their livestream. I always think it’s nice when popular bands try to give props to lesser known bands in order to make them more popular.
In the 1990s a similar thing happened with Oasis and specifically Noel Gallagher, where he had such an impact that any band he mentioned liking became a huge seller (this subset of Britpop that Noel liked was dubbed “Noelrock” and consisted of bands like Cast and Ocean Colour Scene).
In the 1960s, teen magazines wrote a bunch of articles linking Buffalo Springfield to The Monkees after Peter mentioned how much he enjoyed their music, which gave them more of a national profile. A similar thing happened with Tim Buckley and Frank Zappa appearing on their television show.
“Now everyone has to be derived from somebody or something. Nothing new is born without parents. Poets stand on the shoulders of earlier poets and musicians, from the long-hair classicists to the long-hair popists, are also links in a chain of influence”
This is one of the best responses I’ve read about the concept of “manufactured” music being inferior to “real music” (what is real music and who decides, I wonder).
A lot of bands are criticized for being manufactured now, but the Monkees got much of the same critique when they came out. I’ve never understood who it was that decided that in order for music to be good and valued it had to completely break from the norms of what went before, so it’s nice to see a music critic in that era say the same thing.
I believe that nostalgia is just as powerful as something totally new. The Monkees obviously borrowed a lot from the Beatles and other successful British Invasion bands, but they also had an undefinable something that made them seem new and fresh, and stand out. That X-Factor, if you will.
A lot of great bands used nostalgia and derivative imagery and sounds in the development of their music and did it with 100% full intent and purpose.
On February 9, 1964: More than 73 million people watched Davy Jones and the cast of Oliver! on the Ed Sullivan Show. The same show also featured the American TV debut of a band called the Beatles. Maybe you’ve heard of them.
Davy recalled: “I was performing a song from Oliver! on The Ed Sullivan Show when the Beatles made their American debut. I saw this amazing reaction and I thought “I want a bit of this- this is good.” I remember getting into the lift with Ringo Starr. I was always a cheeky little guy. He had a cold at the time and I remember saying, “Let me blow your nose for you, I’m closer than you are.” Ringo said, “I know.”
I’m always shocked to find people who were not affected by the Velvet Underground and Nico album during their teenage years. That album is a perfect soundtrack for those years of discord and boredom. The glimpses of kinky sex and drug use and the day to day life in a big chaotic city showed us that things were gonna be exciting and dangerous and dark in the future, and life was worth living.
RIP Lou Reed. Thanks for the tunes.