Davy Jones, the former lead singer of the Monkees and first-crush fodder for a generation, died of a heart attack today at age 66 in Indiantown, Florida. The diminutive Manchester native appeared on “Coronation Street” and trained as a jockey before being selected to join the prefabricated rock group assembled in Los Angeles in 1965.
Despite its artificial origins, The Monkees, comprised of Jones, Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, became a phenomenon—spawning a hit TV show that ran for two seasons and experienced a revival in the ‘80s in syndication. During the ‘60s and ‘70s, the manic Beatles-lite ensemble, churned out number-one singles, including “Daydream Believer” and “I’m a Believer.” Jones, known as the “cute” Monkee, achieved such celebrity during the 1960s that David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, changed his name to avoid confusion. In his later years, Jones, who was married and had four daughters, traveled the congested former-pop-idol circuit, both as part of Monkees’ reunions and solo, last performing in Oklahoma earlier this month. He was scheduled to appear with former fellow heartthrob David Cassidy, of “Partridge Family” fame, on April 14 in Miami.