a heart attack this morning. He was 66.
Already a renowned stage performer who'd scored a Tony
nomination, Jones auditioned in 1965 to be on a TV show based on the same
comedic travails of a band that the Beatles had explored in A Hard Day's
Night. That show (and real-life band) became the Monkees, the quartet
he played in well after the show had ended in 1968.
playing the heartthrob despite being "short" (as noted in the memorable
studio-chatter intro to "Daydream Believer") and as somewhat of a lighthearted
foil to stoic guitarist Michael Nesmith. Jones sang tunes penned by such legendary songwriters as Carole
King,Harry Nilsson, and Neil Diamond. Even Neil Young contributed an awesomely
psychedelic guitar solo to 1969's memorably toxic "You and I," which could be
seen as the vengeful parting shot of the "Prefab Four": "We'll be gone and
someone new will take our pla-ace!"
The Monkees' official run ended in 1971, with the bizarre,
Animal Collective-predating cult-classic film Head
mystifying theaters in 1968. But there were two Monkees reunions in 1986 and
1996, and Jones continued performing Monkees songs and solo material and guesting on
TV shows as himself, as well as writing a few memoirs, including the wonderfully
titled They Made a Monkee Out of Me.
Jones is survived by four daughters and his third wife,
Jessica. In 2008, Yahoo! Music ranked him as the greatest teen idol of all time.
"You and I"
"Last Train to Clarksville"
Jones' audition for The Monkees