Lex Neon on Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones (The Monkees)

Lex celebrates the birthdays of Monkees Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones, who share December 30th birthdays.

Mike Nesmith is one of my favorite song writers and musicians. Mike was also my favorite of the The Monkees. His humor and personality on their TV show spoke directly to me. Check out his “If you love music, you can play music” rap from the episode called “The Devil and Peter Tork.” It was just what I needed to hear at an age when I desperately wanted to be a good musician.

And yes, the wool cap was definitely a selling point – I had a green one just like it!

You can laugh, but you cannot deny that Nesmith brought some incredible songs not only to the Monkees catalog, but to the pop music catalog. Linda Ronstadt’s version on his song “Different Drum” is a pop favorite. “Mary Mary” was recorded by both the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Run DMC.

Besides writing great pop tunes (“The Girl I Knew Somewhere”), garage rock anthems (“Circle Sky”), and melodically infectious country pop (“Sweet Young Thing,” “Papa Gene’s Blues”), Nesmith was an early pioneer in the field of country rock. A lot of the credit for this musical territory usually goes to Poco, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Eagles. I love these guys, but Nesmith was there first. Even the likes of rockabilly guitar great James Burton and studio guitar ace Glen Campbell played on Nesmith’s early Monkees tunes.

Davy Jones’ character is a pretty good study on flirting, bad opening lines to young women, and great “short jokes.” I learned about chivalry and helping people in need from his character. Davy was always the first to say “I think we should help.” His style is “old theatre” with his quick jokes and snappy repartee, which made him the perfect foil for Mickey Dolenz. Coming from a theatrical background, his acting and vocals were big, grand and sometimes emotional. I also learned to be a bit on the “hammy” side of entertaining people from watching him.

I once read that a fanatical girl packaged and mailed herself to Davy. I’m jealous!

I think everyone’s heard “Daydream Believer,” “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) and “Valleri.” Ever hear “Early Morning Blues and Greens” from the Headquarters album? How about “Someday Man” or his great co-vocal with Mickey on Harry Nilsson’s “Cuddly Toy?” Great stuff. And he kissed Marcia Brady! Although I was a “Jan man” myself, he’s got my R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

I salute Mike and Davy. Thanks for the music, the memories, and the laughs. You guys make me smile.

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Note: The date listed on the album shown below is for the remastered version. The original was released September 16, 1966.

Currently listening :
Monkees
By The Monkees
Release date: 15 August, 2006
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~ by Poppermost on September 6, 2008.

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