Davy Jones, actor and member of 1960s pop band The Monkees, died on 29 February 2012. He was 66.
The Independent describes him as
the young actor who most enjoyed and best understood the phenomenon of the Monkees that shot him to fame in the Sixties. Blessed with a great sense of humour and charming personality, he was better able to cope with fame and adulation than many of his contemporaries.
The Daily Telegraph focuses on the oft-repeated allegation that the band were manufactured and had more fame than their musical ability entitled them to:
Two members of the band, Mickey Dolenz, the “zany” one with the big smile, and Peter Tork, a “goofy” blond with the floppy hair, could not play their own instruments; only one Monkee, Mike Nesmith, could actually play a guitar. Meanwhile the diminutive, British-born Jones, a former child actor chosen by NBC as the group’s designated pin-up, performed (lip-synched, some claimed) to music played by the cream of Los Angeles session musicians.
This contrasts with The Guardian‘s information:
Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith were accomplished rock guitarists, while Micky Dolenz, like Jones, had been a child actor.
Jones had in fact already sung in a professional capacity – as all the newspapers point out, he played the Artful Dodger in Oliver! in both the West End and on Broadway. (The Independent notes that he was nominated for a Tony Award.)
The Manchester Evening News sums up The Monkees and Mancunian Jones’s role thus:
Their TV shows were characterised by a strong sense of irony and self-deprecation. John Lennon called them the “Marx Brothers of rock”. Davy, as the frontman, became a teen idol, his face adorning posters in millions of young girls’ bedrooms. His charisma and humour won over audiences and his boyish good looks ensured he remained the female fans’ favourite.
(David Thomas Jones, born 30 December 1945 in Openshaw, died 29 February 2012 in Indiantown, Florida)