My experience with The Monkees begins much the same as most in my generation. MTV and Nickelodeon were young networks that hadn’t yet discovered reality programming or Dan Schneider (for he was holding court in the back of the Head of the Class room). For me, I’m almost certain The Monkees aired on a local station prior to 1986. I distinctly remember watching The Monkees before my afternoon nap and watching Gidget after my nap. The point is that I was a wee pre-pre-preteen when I got hooked on the Pre-Fab Four. When I got my first boombox, one of my first albums was The Monkees Greatest Hits (yes, Brucio, greatest hits albums are for housewives and little girls). I listened to that cassette tape on the way to school everyday for two years. Tip: Don’t let your seven-year-olds listen to “Shades of Grey” on repeat.
Davy Jones was my first favourite Monkee. He was my imaginary friend when I had to spend horrendous afternoons with my drunk grandmother. Even into the 1980s, with the mullet and California tan, Davy proved to still be a heartthrob. And to multiple generations. Davy Jones was no Rex Manning. If young women were lining up for his autograph, it was out of genuine affection. They weren’t queuing up for their moms or spinster aunts. Most teen idols don’t cross generations successfully. And no teen idol has been able to gracefully retain his boyish good looks (Prove me wrong, Bieber).
I outgrew The Monkees for a while. I needed to experiment with other music and swoon over other funny boys. These days, I’m a Mike girl (although he refuses to be my imaginary friend). And I’m strictly softcore in my fandom, compared to others. Epcot will be a little sadder without an annual appearance by Davy. The possibility of seeing The Monkees in concert just one more time grew a little dimmer. And somewhere, a group of people are comparing The Monkees to Golden Girls and taking bets on who will go next (will they go by height? Will Peter experience a Betty White-like surge of popularity? Who will be saddled with title of “the remaining Monkee”?). My own act of mourning the loss of Davy Jones is to preserve my best memories of him, to not focus on the later years of mullets and man-boobs. And to not tarnish his memory by continuing to poke fun at his mullet and moobs. (I’m already failing.)