As 25 percent of the Monkees, Davy Jones always added a touch of whimsy and British wit every time he stepped behind a microphone.
His biggest contributions to the Monkees may not have been all their biggest and most recognizable songs, but he did always deliver a bracing eclecticism that helped expand the group’s sound beyond their prefab roots.
In memory of Jones, check out his essential playlist below.
One of the band’s biggest hits, “Daydream Believer” managed to not only be a pretty amazing aping of the Beatles but also a lovely slice of pop melancholy in its own right. Jones took the lead and crooned his way into the hearts of teenage girls everywhere.
NEXT PAGE: “I Wanna Be Free”
“I Wanna Be Free”
Taken from the group’s self-titled debut, “I Wanna Be Free” features little more than an acoustic guitar and Jones lilting tenor. Jones had access to the more psychedelic side of the group’s sound from the beginning, which informed more and more of their work as time went on.
NEXT PAGE: “Girl” (from his Brady Bunch episode)
“Girl” (from his Brady Bunch episode)
Jones’ early TV fame extended beyond his own show to a landmark guest spot on a famous episode of The Brady Bunch. Not only does he perform “Girl” on the show, but he also ends up attending Marcia’s prom.
NEXT PAGE: “Valleri”
“Valleri” was a show piece for guitar pyrotechnics that also showed up Jones’ knack for harmonizing with his bandmates. Plus, the camera tricks in this video from 1968 are pretty impressive.
NEXT PAGE: “Hard to Believe”
“Hard to Believe”
Jones didn’t do as much writing as his other Monkees cohorts, but this tune proved that he his interests straddle Britpop, AM radio sweetness, and always that hint of psychedelic folk in the background.
“Daddy’s Song” (from the Monkees’ one and only theatrical film release Head)
Head isn’t for everybody, but it is a fascinating meta-commentary on the band, their music, and the nature of fame. “Daddy’s Song” was the showcase for Jones, and is tagged by a surreal exchange with Frank Zappa and a talking cow.
NEXT PAGE: “A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You”
“A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You”
Jones’ first lead vocal for the band was written by Neil Diamond (who also wrote “I’m a Believer”) and was featured on one of the many musical portions of the group’s TV show The Monkees.
NEXT PAGE: “Forget That Girl”
“Forget That Girl”
Perhaps Jones’ prettiest vocal performance, “Forget That Girl” has a silky sweetness that takes full advantage of Jones’ boyish charm and heavenly falsetto.
ALSO: Davy Jones dies at 66