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The Monkees were not a real band — at first. But shortly after filmmakers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider brought the funny foursome to TV in 1966, their music took on a life of its own. Created as America’s answer to the Beatles, they never quite matched the chart success, but there’s no doubt the Monkees made an impact.
Standing front and center: British singer Davy Jones, a pint-sized heartthrob who drew much of the group’s loyal teen following — a fanbase that would stick around for decades as the group continued to tour (even as recently as last year), bringing their brand of irresistible pop to multiple generations.
Below, five of Jones’ most iconic moments in Monkees. He died from a heart attack on Feb. 29 at age 66.
1. “Daydream Believer” (1967)
The 1967 hit written by John Stewart of the Kingston Trio reached No. 1 on the Billboard 100 in December of that year, where it stayed for four weeks. It would become one of the Monkees’ best-known hits. In 1997, U2 covered “Daydream Believer” during its PopMart tour. For the Los Angeles stop, Jones, then 51, joined the band onstage to sing the song.
2. “Girl” on The Brady Brunch (1971)
In 1971, Jones made a guest appearance on popular sitcom The Brady Bunch, where he played a version of himself — the biggest British teen heartthrob in America — who makes Marcia Brady‘s year by agreeing to sing at her high school prom. The episode, titled “Getting Davy Jones,” aired in December of that year.
3. Dance in Head (1968)
Jones and co. went psychedelic — and very meta — towards the end of the 60s. Joining a young Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper, they crafted the movie Head, an instant stoner classic. Among its best known scenes is this one, where Jones dances with future 80s pop star Toni Basil in a trippy nod to the era of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (see video below). Another Head highlight: when Jones gets advice from experimental rocker Frank Zappa and a talking cow.
4. The Monkees’ MTV Revival (1986)
Thanks to early MTV, the Monkees were introduced to a new, younger audience when the network began airing episodes of the sitcom in 1986. In short order, the band not only had a renaissance, but became a national obsession as Monkee Mania swept a new generation of music lovers. A sold out tour followed which included original members Jones, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork.
5. Brady Bunch Revisited (1995)
In 1995, Jones made a return appearance to The Brady Bunch, playing himself yet again in the movie version. It was 25 years since the Monkees last had a hit, but his sway over the ladies hadn’t diminished, as his scene in the movie (starring Christine Taylor as Marcia) shows. Watch towards the end of the video below as Jones leads a grunge version of “Girl.”
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