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Davy Jones Dead: Singer Of The Monkees Dies At 66

First Posted: 02/29/2012 11:57 am Updated: 04/ 5/2012 9:15 pm

The Monkees singer Davy Jones has died at the age of 66, TMZ reports. A rep for Jones revealed that he passed away Wednesday morning after suffering a heart attack.

The singer is survived by his wife Jessica and four daughters from previous marriages. TMZ confirmed the news of Jones' death with an official from the medical examiner's office for Martin County, Fla.

As part of the cast for the NBC sitcom "The Monkees," Jones joined the band with Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork in 1966. The group's single "I'm A Believer" was the top charting track of 1967. Over the course of its career, the band collected an array of accolades, including two Emmy awards and a number of Billboard hit singles and albums. The Monkees embarked on a reunion tour, sans Nesmith, in 2011 celebrating 45 years together.

The Associated Press has published an obituary for Jones written by Matt Sedensky:

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Davy Jones, the diminutive heartthrob who rocketed to the top of the 1960s music charts by beckoning millions of adoring fans with the catchy refrains of The Monkees, died Wednesday. He was 66.

His publicist, Helen Kensick, confirmed that Jones died of a heart attack near his home in Indiantown. Jones complained of breathing troubles early in the morning and was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, said Rhonda Irons, spokeswoman of the Martin County Sheriff's Office.

In a 911 call released Wednesday night, an unidentified woman anxiously pleads "Ambulance, please, hurry!" His home was about 27 miles from the hospital and a fire rescue unit rushed him to the hospital.

Jones' moppish long hair, boyish good looks and his British accent endeared him to legions of screaming young fans after "The Monkees" premiered on NBC in 1966 as a made-for-TV band seeking to capitalize on Beatlemania sweeping the world.

Aspirations of Beatles-like fame were never fully achieved, with the TV show lasting just two years. But The Monkees made rock `n roll history as the band garnered a wide American following with love-struck hits such as "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer" that endure to this day.

Born in Manchester, England, on Dec. 30, 1945, Jones became a child star in his native England who appeared on television and stage, including a heralded role as "The Artful Dodger" in the play "Oliver."

He earned a Tony nomination at 16 when he reprised that role in the show's Broadway production, a success that brought him to the attention of Columbia Pictures/Screen Gems Television, which created The Monkees. Hundreds turned out for auditions, but the young men who became the Monkees had no idea what ultimately awaited them.

"They had an ad in the newspaper," Jones recalled on NBC's "Today Show" last year, "and then we all showed up."

"The Monkees" was a band clearly patterned on the Beatle's film "A Hard Days Night," chronicling the comic trials and tribulations of a rock group whose four members lived together and traveled to gigs in a tricked-out car called the Monkeemobile. Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz starred with him. Each part was loosely created to resemble one of the Beatles.

At 5-feet-3 inches, Jones was by far the shortest member of the group – a fact often made light of on the show. But he also was its dreamboat, mirroring Paul McCartney's role in the Beatles. And as the only Briton among the four, Jones was in some ways the Monkees' direct connection to the Beatlemania still strong in the U.S. when the TV show made its debut.

In August 1966, the Beatles performed in San Francisco, playing their last live set for a paying audience. The same month, the Monkees released their first album, introducing the group to the world.

The first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," became a No. 1 hit. And the TV show would caught on quickly with audiences, featuring fast-paced, helter-skelter comedy inspired as much by the Marx Brothers as the Beatles.

It was a shrewd case of cross-platform promotion. As David Bianculli noted in his "Dictionary of Teleliteracy," "The show's self-contained music videos, clear forerunners of MTV, propelled the group's first seven singles to enviable positions of the pop charts: three number ones, two number twos, two number threes."

Yet after the show's launch, The Monkees came under fire from music critics when it was learned that session musicians – and not the group's members – had played the instruments on their recordings. They were derided as the "Prefab Four," an insulting comparison to the Beatles' nickname, the "Fab Four."

In reality, Jones could play the drums and guitar, and although Dolenz learned to play the drums after he joined the group, he also could play guitar, as could Nesmith.

Nesmith also wrote several of The Monkees' songs, as well as songs for others. Tork, who played bass and keyboards on the TV show, was a multi-instrumentalist.

The group eventually prevailed over the show's producers, including music director Don Kirchner, and began to play their own instruments. Regardless, the group was supported by enviable talent.

Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote "Pleasant Valley Sunday," and Neil Diamond penned "I'm a Believer." Musicians who played on their records included Billy Preston, who later played with the Beatles, Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, Ry Cooder and Neil Young.

Young tweeted Wednesday that he was saddened by Jones' death. "The Monkees were such a sensation that it was a thrill for me to have them record some of my early songs," he added.

The group also released the 1968 film "Head," derided at the time as a psychedelic mishmash notable only for an appearance by Jack Nicholson. It has since come to be considered a cult classic by Monkees fans.

After two seasons, the TV series had flared out and was canceled after 58 episodes in the summer of 1968. But The Monkees remained a nostalgia act for decades. And Jones maintained that the stage was the only place he truly felt at home.

"Even today, I have an inferiority complex," he told the Daily Mail in an interview last year. "I always feel I'm there at the window, looking in. Except when I'm on stage, and then I really come alive."

After the TV show ended, Jones continued to tour with the other Monkees for a time, sometimes playing the drums at concerts when Dolenz came up front to sing.

Many also remember Jones from a widely seen episode of "The Brady Bunch" that aired in 1971, in which he makes an appearance at Marcia Brady's school dance. In the episode, Marcia Brady, president of her school's Davy Jones Fan Club, promised she could get him to appear before her classmates.

The group eventually broke up over creative differences, although it did reunite from time to time for brief tours over the years, usually without Nesmith.

In 1987, Jones, Tork, and Dolenz recorded a new album, "Pool It." And two years later, the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On Wednesday, flowers were placed on Jones' own Hollywood star nearby as fans mourned.

All four of the Monkees came together for a 1996 album, "Justus," and a subsequent TV movie "Hey, Hey, It's The Monkees!" that saw them still living in the same house and still traveling in the Monkeemobile – just like old times.

Tork spoke of his former bandmate in an interview Wednesday night, saying "He was one of the funniest men and most talented I have ever known." Nesmith said in a statement "David's spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people," using a phrase from a Beatles song that seemed to again cement the two groups' ties.

Jones, who is survived by his wife Jessica Pacheco and four daughters from previous marriages, continued to make appearances on television and stage later. But it was the fame of The Monkees that pulled him back to that era time and time again. On his website, he recalled during auditions for the show when all four men finally were put together in a scene.

"That's it," he recalled everyone around him saying: "Magic."

___

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Frazier Moore and Hillel Italie in New York, Mike Gracia in Washington and John Rogers in Los Angeles.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that Jones "formed" The Monkees, but he was, as corrected above, cast in the TV show by the same name.

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  • Davy Jones

    Actress Vivienne Martin helps child actor David Jones with his make-up backstage at at the New Theatre (now the Noel Coward Theatre), London, 2nd May 1962. They are playing the roles of Nancy and the Artful Dodger in the original London production of Lionel Bart's musical 'Oliver!'. Jones who gave up training as a jockey to pursue acting, later found fame, as Davy Jones, after he joined pop group The Monkees. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Promotional portrait of the Monkees as they pose under a tree, late 1960s. From clockwise rear left, Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and Mickey Dolenz. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    British musician and actor Davy Jones, in a double-breasted shirt, of the popular music and television group the Monkees, late 1960s. (Photo by Jack Knox/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    The American pop rock group, THE MONKEES, around 1967. From left to right : the bass guitar player, guitarist and singer Peter TORK, the drummer and singer Mickey DOLENZ, the singer Davy JONES and Michael NESMITH, guitarist and singer. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Promotional portrait of the popular music and television group the Monkees, dressed in matching shirts and vests, 1967. From left, Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith (back), Davy Jones (fore), and Mickey Dolenz. (Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Television still shows the popular music and television group the Monkees as they perform onstage in an episode of their self-titled tv show, late 1960s. From left, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz (on drums), and Michael Nesmith. (Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    February 1967: American sixties pop group The Monkees, who were formed for a television show and had no previous musical experience. Hanging from the trapeze is singer Davy Jones. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    February 1967: Three members of American pop group The Monkees have been buried up to their necks in sand by fellow group member Davy Jones. Buried members are, left to right, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    February 1967: American pop group The Monkees. Left to right are Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    May 1967: The Monkees pop group, left to right: Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork (seated) and Mickey Dolenz. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    June 1967: Davy Jones, singer of American TV pop group The Monkees, gives an interview in 1967. (Photo by James Jackson/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    American pop group The Monkees at a press conference, from left to right; Peter Tork, Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz. (Photo by F Brooks/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    June 1967: American pop group the Monkees (from left) Peter Tork, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz at a press conference in England. (Photo by Mike McLaren/Central Press/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    American pop group The Monkees (left to right) Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz, at a press conference at the Royal Garden Hotel, London. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Circa 1968: Leaving London Airport, British singer Davy Jones of American pop group the Monkees, who were originally formed for an American television comedy and music show. (Photo by George Stroud/Express/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    1968: Davy Jones, singer of pop group The Monkees, at Lulu's house in St John's Wood, London. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Promotional portrait shows the popular music and television group the Monkees as they perform onstage, late 1960s. From left, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz (on drums), and Michael Nesmith. Below the picture are cartoon drawings of their heads accompanied by their autographs. (Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Davy Jones of The Monkees attends the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Davy Jones of the Monkees (C) poses with his daughters Talia (L), Sarah and Anabel Jones and friend Renee Favor (R) at the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 in Hollywood, California. Talia is wearing the jacket Jones wore as a special guest on 'The Brady Bunch.' (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Davy Jones and Maureen McCormick backstage during the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Davy Jones of The Monkees poses with his daughter Anabel during the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Actors Davy Jones and Maureen McCormick speak on stage during the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Actors Davy Jones and Maureen McCormick speak on stage during the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Actors Davy Jones and Marty Ingels mingle during the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Recording artist Davy Jones and his guest attend the 27th annual Macy's Passport benefit at the Barker Hangar on September 24, 2009 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees pose during portrait session to announce the bands 45th anniversary tour held at The Groucho Club on February 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees pose during portrait session to announce the bands 45th anniversary tour held at The Groucho Club on February 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees pose during portrait session to announce the bands 45th anniversary tour held at The Groucho Club on February 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Davy Jones of The Monkees poses during portrait session to announce the bands 45th anniversary tour held at The Groucho Club on February 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Co-host Davy Jones speaks during the '60's Pop Rock: My Music' panel during the PBS portion of the 2011 Summer TCA Tour held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 30, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees pose during portrait session to announce the bands 45th anniversary tour held at The Groucho Club on February 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

  • Davy Jones

    Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees pose during portrait session to announce the bands 45th anniversary tour held at The Groucho Club on February 21, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

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