So yesterday at work, the managing editor called to ask me to put something on social media about the death of “The Monkees” frontman Davy Jones, and she led in with, “Do you know who Davy Jones is?”
I think she was trying to gauge whether I was the right age to know who he was. And, by extension, if most of our readers would.
I said “Yes!”
Even though I was just born when Jones’ show “The Monkees” first aired, and only about 2 when it went off the air, he was a pop star well into my elementary years, and we definitely watched reruns of the shows. It made me think of all times I’d heard his songs, and all the babysitters who’d played them for me, and watching “The Monkees” at a beach house with my cousins Mark and Robert (and we all tried to act out the arm-in-arm beach-walking of “Here we come … walking down the street …”), and listening to Davy Jones on 45s in the bedrooms of my friends’ older sisters. All the older girls and babysitters in my life at that time thought Davy Jones, with his swoon-worthy British accent and fun-loving nature, was the epitome of marry-able. Everyone fancied herself to be a possible Mrs. Davy Jones.
Yet, even though I and at least a decade worth of girls knew him as an idol, I was still shocked at the huge reaction I got from my company’s Facebook fans – they came out in droves to comment on how much they’d adored him. And I was shocked even further when I went a local sandwich shop for lunch and heard women there talking about him, too.
Davy Jones was really a heartthrob.
It made me think about teen idols in general, and how they really do unite women in generations.
For me, I crossed over two generations of teen idols. There was the David Cassidy/ Bobby Sherman/ Davy Jones group of my friends’ older sisters. Ann Marie and Courtney and I would sneak into their older sisters’ bedrooms and play all their 45s, twirling around to the smooth voices of these teen pop stars in a way that smacked of “forbidden” on so many levels.
After them – in the late 1970s – when Ann Marie and Courtney and I were getting to be junior-high teens ourselves, we had our own teen pop idols. Ours were David Cassidy’s younger brother Shaun Cassidy, who sang. Andy Gibb. Peter Frampton. … Another set of doe-eyed, long-haired boys who had sweet smiles and not-very-deep voices.
For the next set of girls came Michael Jackson.
And later still came Justin Beiber, who has that exact-same look that appeals to that exact-same age group.
I wonder if girls of that age (12-13) crush on almost-girlish-looking, decidedly nonthreatening boys? All the teen pop idols really had the same look. (Well, except Elvis – he’s a complete exception to everything I’m saying here!) But all the others, including Davy Jones, had that same demeanor: a nonsexual, nonthreatening delivery (complete with silky, almost high-pitched lyrics), offering the concept of romance and love without any dangerousness. And maybe that’s just perfect for a 12- to 13-year-old girl.
Davy Jones sure united a whole generation of women yesterday.
Who were your favorite teen idols?
Farrah Fawcett-or, shall I say, Farrah Fawcett Majors as she was known “in my day”!
She, too, was like the teen idols you speak of Laurie…Blond, gorgeous, wavy hair and a soft feminine voice. But, you’re talking about singing idols??? Well, when she wore that red bathing suit I heard sweet music!
I loved all those same guys you mentioned! I still have a satin Shaun Cassidy pillow case that I won, up in my attic! I remember playing all the albums and watching The Monkeys and Partridge Family – they guys were so dreamy!! The Jonas Brothers and now Justin Beiber have reminded me of all them as well – it is so funny to see the young girls acting all twitterpated….I am sure my mom laughed at me as well!
Chris, you crack me up!
Ah, C, yes, Farrah Fawcett might have been the “boy version” of the classic teenage crush! 😉 But boys were crushing in a completely different way, I have a feeling. …
Debi — OH MY GOSH YOU STILL HAVE A SHAUN CASSIDY PILLOWCASE??? That is too funny. You might be able to get a pretty penny for that someday! (Maybe even now?) That’s sooooo great!!!
I almost forgot about all the products they sold — I remember being really jealous of a girl in second grade who had a Partridge Family lunchbox!
And yes, watching all the hoopla surrounding Justin Beiber seemed so funny. I know my mom must have been smirking at my craziness over Shaun Cassidy. I remember he was on Merv Griffen one night, and I wanted to stay up to watch him SO BADLY. So my mom let me stay up that late (probably 10 p.m.??) to watch him. I was thrilled that he performed “Da Doo Run Run” live (should I put that in quotes? “live”?), but I remember being so disappointed that Merv Griffen only talked to him for about 1 minute. (Talk shows back then didn’t have very interesting or informative interviews!) But I wonder what my mom was thinking that whole time. … 🙂
Anyway, while the current preteen girls’ crushes are funny, they’re also so sweet and reminiscent to me. I’ve been so happy for those preteen girls — they’ll always remember their swooniness over those boys, and will always have a bond within their generation over him. I think it’s adorable.
Yes, it is cute. Natalie never really went gaga over anyone, but my other daughter Justine, she was the swoonie one. We called her Mrs. Jonas for awhile, haha!