Turning 5, and feeling a little older

(There was a different post intended for today. It still begins the same way.)

To mark the fifth anniversary of AM, Then FM, we’ve gone back to the photo that graced the top of the blog as it landed on browsers in the last week of February 2007. The boy in that picture is our son, Evan.

Evan was 9 when that picture was taken in Duluth, Minnesota, in September 2004. He’s 17 now, yet he vividly remembers our long-ago trips to Duluth.

What are your vivid memories from when you were 9? Mine came rushing back earlier today with the news that Davy Jones of the Monkees had died.

When I was 9 in September 1966, “The Monkees” were must-see TV on early Monday nights on NBC. Mostly, it was for the skits and jokes and gags that would be the catch phrases at school for the week to come.

Eventually, though, the songs became the tidal wave that carried everyone along. So many friends — and friends’ sisters, mostly — had Monkees 45s. You heard them everywhere. Today, I’m amazed that I came to know so many Monkees songs without having camped out in front of the radio for hours.

Beyond the songs, I most vividly remember my Monkeemobile model. This one.

Somehow I managed to put it together. Eventually, though, it got played with, as all models do. One day, the flimsy supports on that low-slung roof folded up like an accordion. Just like that, my Monkeemobile was a convertible, just another tricked-out GTO headed for Model Demolition Derby.

I also vividly remember drawing the Monkees’ guitar logo. This logo.

We called it freehand drawing — sketching a copy from sight, and never tracing — and I did a lot of it. Sports logos, mostly, but I did this one, too. A couple of years later, I did the Woodstock logo, which was just a different kind of guitar.

The Monkees’ music belongs to everyone. That was apparent from the tremendous outpouring of memories on Facebook, on Twitter, on the blogs and in seemingly every corner of the Web today.

The Monkeemobile with the collapsed roof, the freehand drawings, those memories belong to me.

As do the memories of being just a couple of rows from the stage when Davy Jones brought his solo act to Green Bay back in the fall of 2010. We sat there, marveling at his charm and energy, and digging all those great Monkees songs.

Reading today that Davy Jones had passed away at age 66, my friend Glick said:

“66, my butt. He was never more than 24.”

He certainly seemed that way. The years just washed away, for him and for us.

In five years of writing this blog, the Monkees have been featured here just once. I apologize for that oversight. It was almost exactly four years ago that a Monkees song appeared in a throwaway post called “Sunny pop goodness.”

Davy Jones sang it.

“Valleri,” the Monkees, from the Colgems 7-inch, 1968. This is the single edit, which fades at the end. An alternate version, with a more distinct finish, was released on “The Birds, the Bees and the Monkees” in 1968. It’s out of print.

Davy Jones sang these, too. Neil Diamond wrote them.

“A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You,” from the Colgems 7-inch, 1967. This was the first time Davy Jones had sung lead on one of the Monkees’ singles.

“Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow),” from “More of The Monkees,” 1967.

All three cuts are available digitally on “The Best of The Monkees,” a 2003 release.

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7 Comments

Filed under February 2012, Sounds

7 responses to “Turning 5, and feeling a little older

  1. Good post. I never had a Monkeemobile or any of their records at the time (there are a few in the stacks now), and i’m surprised how much Davy’s passing has touched me. He and his three partners were part of the culture that I absorbed from all around me, even if I didn’t actually listen at the time. And your friend Glick is right.

  2. Dane

    I don’t know if this post really is even more beautifully written than usual or if I’m just more emotional. Thanks for sharing your memories too.

    And happy blog birthday – you run a couple of great music blogs.

  3. I was outraged that “Daydream Believer” beat “Snoopy and the Red Baron” until “Hello Goodbye” took over No. 1 in 1967 when we had a pool table in our basement and a stream of buddies lining up to play. Thanks for bringing back those memories…Five years. I guess I’ve been reading off and on (sorry) since you started. I have know idea what led me here but I’m glad it did.

  4. madcitynative

    The Birds, the Bees, & the Monkees is available on iTunes.

  5. madcitynative

    BTW happy 5th anniversary. I too enjoy reading your blog. I still have some of the Monkees records on 45’s. I don’t think they were taken very seriously in their day, but time has been good to them. Hits like I’m a Believer, Daydream Believer, and Valleri have endured the passage of time, and proven that they were more than just teenage heart throbs.

  6. Scott Thomson

    I’m probably a bit older than Jeff and most of those posting comments on the Monkees — too close to Davy Jones’ age, in fact — so I intersected with the group at a different stage in my life. The Monkees were obviously an attempt by the TV industry to capitalize on the success of “A Hard Day’s Night” — a lot of the skits and antics were transparent rip-offs. So we hard-core Beatles fans looked down our noses initially. But I got caught up in the fad, too, and have to admit that the music did wear well. A lot of the credit for that goes to the songwriters — love him or hate him, Neil Diamond could write a pop song.
    But, contra-Glick, Davy was older than 24 — a lot older, and so are we all. When I saw his photo on the TV news, I was struck by how middle-aged he looked, and what time had done to those boyish looks.
    As I have said more than once, My Generation hits the wall when the newswire says Mick Jagger is on life support.

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