Davy Jones, the impish lead singer of the Monkees who became a teen idol in the 1960s, died Wednesday morning at his home in Indiantown, Fla., following a sudden heart attack. Jones was 66 and was still actively touring and performing as a solo act.
TMZ.com broke the story here.
The news of Jones’ death will reverberate most with those old enough to remember the phenomenon of the Monkees — a pop group created for a TV series by producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider.
They were reportedly inspired by the Beatles movie, “A Hard Day’s Night,” and sought to create a superstar singing group from the ground up — “casting” the group’s members and developing a TV show — “The Monkees” — that would showcase their music and free-wheeling antics.
“The Monkees” lasted just two seasons, airing on NBC Monday nights at 7:30. But its impact has been felt ever since, thanks mainly to a string of Monkees hits that are still staples of oldies radio — “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” and others.
The other Monkees are still living — Micky Dolenz, 66, Michael Nesmith, 69, and Peter Tork, 70. Their reactions to the death of their bandmate were not immediately available but their fans took to their various Facebook and Twitter pages to leave hundreds of condolence messages and Monkees memories there on Wednesday: On Peter Tork’s Facebook page here, Micky Dolenz’s Facebook page here, and Michael Nesmith’s Twitter page here.
Davy Jones was born in Manchester, England, on Dec. 30, 1945. He became an actor at age 11, with a role in an English soap opera. Jones was diminutive enough to also have a brief career as a jockey. In 1964, he was playing the role of the Artful Dodger in “Oliver!” on Broadway when the cast was invited to perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” It was the same show on which the Beatles made their American television debut.
He was a member of the Monkees from 1965 to 1971. He is survived by his wife, Jessica, and four daughters from previous marriages, according to USA Today.