One less Monkee

I was sad to hear about the death of former Monkee Davy Jones, mostly because it meant little piece of my childhood was gone. I spent a lot of hours watching the TV show, had several of their albums and even had a few Monkees books. One had something to do with finding a button, but that’s all I can remember.

Like most young girls back then, I was a huge Monkees fan. But unlike a lot of the tweens, I had more of a crush on Michael Nesmith then Davy. Mike was the problem solver, and always seemed to be the voice of reason when those silly Monkees would get into strange situations. Sure, Davy was cute, but Mike was the one who made my heart go pitty-pat. My friend Tina had a thing for Peter Tork. I also liked Mickey Dolenz because he was a drummer, and I wanted to be.

I always seemed to have the crush on the underdog back then. While all my girlfriends were oohing and aahing over Luke Skywalker, I was hanging up posters of Han Solo. Harrison Ford was probably my first serious crush. I still have dreams about what I’d do if I met him. Probably something stupid, like giggle and forget my name.

Same with the “Dukes of Hazard.” Everyone was cooing over blonde Bo Duke, and I liked Luke, played by Tom Wopat. I liked Luke’s even-tempered smart side, and the way he always seemed to know how to get out of trouble. He could fix so many things, which I thought was cool. Probably because that’s the way the males in my family operated. They got themselves into odd situations (still do, truth be told) but could always take apart some machine and fix it with some part they had sitting on a shelf somewhere.

That being said, I probably don’t have to tell you how I felt about MacGyver.

Back in the day, the thought of Davy Jones reaching the age of 66 would have seemed funny to me — like he was ancient. Funny how that changes as you get older. When I heard of his death, all I could think of was how young that seemed.

The strange thing to me is that I had woken up that morning with the song “Listen to the Band” in my head. It was one of the more obscure Monkees songs, but one I always liked. Why it was in my head that day, before Davy’s death had been announced, is beyond me. It isn’t unusual for me to wake up with a song in my head, and it often puzzles me as to why a particular tune pops in there overnight.

I woke up a few days ago with a Panic! At the Disco song in my head, but I think that’s because I was missing my youngest kid, who introduced me to their music several years ago. That’s the great thing about music — there is always room in your head for more. Another tune, another chorus. I can still sing the words to songs I learned as a child, but also can sing along with stuff I have heard recently.

I must have stayed enough of a Monkees fan over the years to still enjoy them, because about a decade ago I bought the “Then and Now” CD, which had a song called “That was then, this is now.” Mickey was doing most of the singing, I think. I don’t believe either Mike or Davy were part of it. But I like it.

Another song I always enjoyed was “D.W. Washburn.” I know the Coasters did it first, but that was a little before my time. And the song “Goin’ Down” always makes me smile. I’m not sure if it was ever recorded by anyone but the Monkees, but I liked the lyrics to it. I’m a sucker for clever lyrics. Must be the writer in me. I always liked the phrase, “My pappy taught me how to float, but I can’t swim a single note.” I also appreciate how hard the song must have been to sing and perform, because the lyrics are very fast.

I’m not much of a music snob — I like what I like and won’t apologize for it. I’ve been known to listen to Beatles for breakfast, Rachmaninoff for an early morning snack, Tone Loc for lunch and Van Halen for supper. I love Broadway show tunes, much to my husband’s chagrin. Angry rap bugs me, and while I like old country western music, I don’t know much of the more modern stuff. I’m a Tom T. Hall fan, but wouldn’t recognize a Taylor Swift song if I heard it. I’m not ashamed to admit I think the “Red Solo Cup” song is funny, but I think the only other song I know by Toby Keith is something about giving beer to horses.

I can, however, sing the entire score of Jesus Christ Superstar from beginning to end. I even proved in once as a teenager and earned myself $20 in the process. During a long drive a few months ago, I proved it to myself once again. Not a particularly useful talent, but one I possess nonetheless.

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