Thursday, March 1, 2012



The death of Davy Jones prompted me to write ruminate in the Pontificator on his passing. This is indeed strange because I was never a fan of the Monkees; it must be a generational thing. Further, I really didn’t know what to write. Thankfully, a column by John Kass of the Chicago Tribune on this topic prompted me to send him a note, and an excerpted form of that missive should serve well as a comment on Mr. Jones and the Monkees:

As a guy who spent much of his youth listening to the likes of Led Zeppelin and much of his adulthood wondering why, your Davy Jones tribute column struck a responsive chord. I usually confine my “Kass reading” to your political columns, but I am delighted that I diverted from that practice today.

A recent poll of music lovers of approximately our vintage and mostly male found that “Daydream Believer” topped the list of Forbidden Musical Pleasures; i.e., songs that people like but don’t like to admit that they like. Though I find the song rather depressing (as I do most things), I can see how it achieved such an honor; it’s a great tune that evokes bouts of nostalgia, especially among those of us old enough to remember listening to the likes of Dex Card and Clark Weber playing it on WLS or WCFL. The tune is also quite catchy, perhaps dangerously so; ever since I learned of Mr. Jones’ death, the song has been playing over and over again in my head, almost to the point at which I am considering having it surgically removed.

Two more notes for my readers:

First, I took the aforementioned poll and, in my responses to the “Forbidden Pleasures” question, I listed “Daydream Believer” second, right after “anything by Johnny Mathis,” who has been a particular favorite of mine since childhood. On reflection, though, “Daydream Believer” should have come first because I have no problem at all admitting that I am a huge fan of Mr. Mathis and anything he has so far chosen to record.

Second, the last time I saw Davy Jones was a few years ago on a commercial that ran on CNBC for a product or service that I can’t remember. While the ad did not evoke as much pathos as does the ad for (I think) Rent-a-Center that features Hulk Hogan, it didn’t make me feel very good about Mr. Jones’ then stage in life. And I remember that, reading from the script, of course, Mr. Jones urged his counterpart to “C’mon, tell us the secret; we won’t tell anyone” as he winked into the camera. Given my feelings toward dishonesty, in just about every form, the ad made me feel especially bad for Mr. Jones. But I tend to take things far too seriously, as I am often told.


paul patrello said...

"Daydream Believer" was written by one John Stewart a former member of "The Kingston Trio". perhaps the reason you dislike the song so transcends music and musical taste. It seems it 1968 Mr Stewart became the official songwriter of the Democratic Party and traveled extensively with Senator Kennedy.

The Pontificator said...

That could explain it; however, I don't really dislike the song. It is just that it remains stuck in my head, and anything that remains lodged in one's head too long clearly overstays its welcome. Further, I find the song depressing, as I do most things, but that leads us back to the Stewart/Kennedy connection.

That Mr. Stewart ended up writing for the Monkees is indeed sad, given that the Kingston Trio wrote (I presume Mr. Steward did the writing.) such classics as "Tom Dooley" and "MTA."

"Tom Dooley"? "MTA"? Am I old or what?

Thanks for reading and commenting, Paul!