Reading all the posts yesterday about the passing of Davy Jones from the Monkees brought back all sorts of fond memories. I've often said that the two earliest influences on my life were Bugs Bunny and The Monkees, so it's no wonder I'm all screwed up. Anyway, if you're a woman around my age, say 30, I mean in her early fifties, when you were a pre-teen, or teen, chances are your bedroom wall was covered with posters and pics of musical idols cut from Tiger Beat, Teen Beat and Sixteen magazines.
Davy, with his red pouted lips, dark brown eyes, and bare chest with puka shells, shared my wall with Donny Osmond, Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. I loved the Monkees. Although the cutest, with his tambourine playing smooth dance moves, he wasn't my favorite. That was reserved for Mickey Dolenz, the wild one. I liked his singing better than Davy too. Besides, Mickey was the "bad boy" of the band and frankly, ruined me for the rest of my life, as I often pooh-poohed the nice guys and sought the rebels instead. Eventually I would deem the Beatles too "mainstream" and pledge my allegiance to the scruffy Rolling Stones instead, but, before that happened, I lived in my happy bubble gum world of pop.
This was the era when AM radio ruled and candy stores in Brooklyn sold 45's. Even though I didn't have one of those plastic record players my friend did, so every week I scoured in between the couch cushions to find coins. I'd dump those lint covered pennies on the counter and sift through the records to find the gem. I remember one afternoon finding "Those Were the Days" in the bargain bin. I was ecstatic, and disregarded the owners admonishment that that wasn't the record I really wanted. What did he know? I rushed home and ran to my friend's house, gingerly removed the record from the white paper and placed it on her phonograph. Instead of the sweet sound of Mary Hopkin's voice, out came Cream's guitars. I had bought the wrong record. Instead of crying, I turned the 45 over and discovered "The White Room" which I loved, so it was all good. And more than once I found a new artist that way.
The teens today have missed out on the feel of clacking the records, searching for a gem, and instead, with a click of a button download whatever it is they're looking for onto their computer, iPhone, MP3 player, whatever. So cold. And what posters could line their walls? Who are the teen idols of today? A freaking vampire, or a Snooki? How sad for them.
My kids have never even heard of Davy Jones and there won't be any flags flown at half mast for him. You know, I don't remember ever seeing a drunken, high Davy Jones. He was a teen idol during a time when teen idols cared about their reputation and were cognizant that millions of fans emulated them. I'm glad I grew up in the era I did, and thank you Davy for giving me and millions of others such joy.