Beatles or Monkees?
It’s a generational shibboleth. I was born in 1956–the dividing year for Baby Boomerhood. That was the year that, according to the demographers, the Leading Edge (1946-55) yielded to the Trailing Edge (1956-65.) Since I was born in October, I guess that puts me on the Trailing side. The fact that I preferred the Monkees to the Beatles seals the deal.
Davy Jones’ death cannot go without recognition by me, revealed as the bubble-gum teeny-bopper that I was in 1966 when the Monkees was my favorite TV show and Davy was my favorite Monkee.
The tambourine. The British accent. The slight build, just my size. (I probably already outweighed him in 1966.)
The TV show that featured music videos 15 years before MTV first aired. The bouncy pop that slyly veered toward subversion. No Rolling Stones, but not Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, either. (Another of my favorites. Gawd this is embarassing.)
I strung the Christmas lights around my bedroom to create psychedelic atmosphere–even though they created interference with my radio–and I sent my ears reaching out to connect with the world of the Youthquake. I sewed bell-bottoms out of brightly floral fabric and braided flowers in my hair. I learned to play the guitar. I practiced singing with a British accent just like Davy. I lived in the world of the Monkees beach-house beach-party as much as possible in Carmel, Indiana, playing with my little friends at being the rock band that’s “too busy singing / to put anybody down.”
The New York Times obit describes Monkees fans as “Tweeners before the word was applied to that demographic.”
Guilty as charged. It’s a burden, being a person who once preferred the Monkees to the Beatles. I’ve been trying to live it down ever since. But just this once, I’m letting my teeny-freak flag fly.
“Another Pleasant Valley Sunday,” anyone?
Guilty as charged, Sarah. I was born in 1957, and feel like I missed out on the edgier portion of the 1960’s compared to those just a few years older. The closest I got was the daisies I embroidered on my Levis, and made to order “Roman sandals”. I begged my mom relentlessly, until she finally consented to take me down to Tucson’s Fourth Avenue to allow a real live hippie to draw an outline of my feet on leather. I thought I was a true flower child and the Monkees sealed the deal.
I didn’t know, and wouldn’t have cared, that the band was prefabricated, any more than the fans of The Backstreet Boys would care thirty years later. Hearing those introductory chords to “I’m A Believer” still transports me back to the hot summer days my sisters and I spent creating our own dance moves in our living room, G-rated music video material. And while I felt a bit sorry for Peter, Mike and Mickey, of course Davy was my favorite. The cute one, and the Brit. He was everyone’s favorite!
Thanks for the opportunity to proclaim my undying love for him here. RIP Davy.