Sixties teen idol Davy Jones has died of a heart attack, his publicist confirms. He was 66.
His band the Monkees, assembled for a hit television program in 1966, once boasted four No. 1 albums in a 13-month period. Jones continued to tour as a solo act, performing as recently as last week.
Early Monkees’ hits — written by some of the era’s best songwriters, including Carole King and Neil Diamond — included “Last Train To Clarksdale,” “I’m A Believer,” “Stepping Stone” and “Pleasant Valley Sunday.” Jones was lead vocalist on both “Daydream Believer” and “I Wanna Be Free.”
At the peak of their popularity in 1967, the Monkees — Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork — sold more albums than the Beatles. Still, some mocked the group as made-for-TV lightweights, including the Byrds in their memorably mocking single “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star.” Later, Jones and the rest of the Monkees insisted on composing their own songs, and even appeared in 1960s cult film “Head” with Jack Nicholson, but their success faded before a split in 1971.
Jones went onto a solo career, which included the song “Girl” — memorably performed on an episode of TV’s “The Brady Bunch.” Jones also trained at one point as a jockey.
In the 1980s, when cable stations began rerunning episodes of the Monkees’ 1960s-era program, the band — this time without Nesmith — reunited for a successful 1986 tour. The Monkees continued as a trio through 2001, then briefly mounted a 45th anniversary tour last year.