"This guy Justin Bieber? He stole my haircut! And that Axl Rose, he stole my dance! Plus, I’m the guy that made David Bowie change his name."
A few weeks ago I had planned to write about the passing of Davy Jones. Of course, Rush Limbaugh had to ruin it for us all that week and instead I wrote this. My anger has not really subsided but I feel like I need to dial it down for a few minutes and talk about first crushes.
I was seven years old in 1986. That’s the year that MTV and Nickelodeon both began to rerun The Monkees. My brother wore a red and white Monkees t-shirt and we could actually agree on a television show that didn’t involve an animated character. Scott is 6 years older than me so you can understand why finding something we both could enjoy would be problematic. I remember hearing “Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville” for the first time. I remember Davy being pushed around in a bathtub. I loved Mike Nesmith’s hat and thought Mickey Dolenz looked a bit like my Uncle Tom. My first school crush looked more like Peter Tork (and his name was Peter!) than I care to admit. But none of them could hold a candle to Davy.
Davy Jones was it for me. He was my first real deal crush. To this day, I can’t decide if it was because he was nice and cute or cute and nice (because the order is important) or if it was the voice plus being cute and nice or nice and cute. And British. Even at seven, I understood the power of a British accent.
He was also funny (all The Monkees were funny) and you know I love funny. I don’t think I realized that he was really my parents’ age (actually a few years older) and not a teenager. For me, it was like the show was brand-new and they were all still teenagers doing zany things and I knew all the words to their songs (still do).
My Davy Jones crush would morph into a David Cassidy crush since Nickelodeon also aired The Partridge Family around the same time. Seriously, if a guy wanted me to marry him all he’d have to do is sing “A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You” followed by “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” and I’d say yes. He should also be employed, not a felon, and funny but the songs are the important part.
These crushes would fade into crushes on the Coreys, Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, and Fred Savage but ultimately, my crushes tend to be on musicians. There are notable exceptions to this but Davy Jones started me on my lifelong love of musicians. From Davy and David, I moved onto the boy bands of the late 80s/early 90s (NKOTB was my first concert) to metal/rock bands (my second concert was Def Leppard) to emo boys in the 2000s and now I have enormous crushes on Colin Meloy from The Decemberists, the Black Keys, John Paul White from The Civil Wars, and Jack Lawrence of The Greenhornes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. My crushes are rockers but also slightly nerdy which is genius. Along the way, I also took a detour into glam and punk rock and will always be devoted to Bowie, Iggy, and Lou.
What does a first crush say about you? Is it weird that Davy Jones was not only a first crush for girls in 1967 but also 1986? I remember watching the movie The Brady Bunch and loving the fact that Davy Jones came to the dance. I was genuinely upset when I heard he died. Celebrity deaths don't usually make me emotional but this one did. I went home and got out the Best of The Monkees and listened to it for a week pretty much non-stop. I got the new issue of Rolling Stone today and there's a nice little article all about him. If I were 7 or 10 or 13, I'd probably cut out the pictures and tape them to my bedroom wall. But I'm not 7 or 10 or 13 so instead, I'll listen to "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" for the 400th time and think about a time when MTV played videos and another generation of kids were listening to The Monkees for the first time.
Quote from the article Listen To The Band by Gordan Barr: