A cute, diminutive Brit, Davy Jones was the member of the made-for-TV Monkees who most resembled the classic model of a ’60s music heartthrob: English-accented, boy-faced, with a clear singing tone and wide, earnest eyes. (And, of course, his tambourine.) The quartet’s dreamboat, Jones, who was 66 when he died on Feb. 29, sang one of its biggest hits, “Daydream Believer” — though of the songs he fronted on, his favorite was “Valleri.” Even if the show never meant to be more than entertainment and a hit-single generator, we shouldn’t sell The Monkees short. It was far better TV than it had to be. Whatever Jones and the Monkees were meant to be, they became creative artists in their own right, and Jones’ chipper Brit-pop presence was a big reason they were able to produce work that was commercial and wholesome yet at times impressively weird.
This text originally appeared in the Mar. 12, 2012 issue of TIME magazine.
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