It’s not quite the loss of a Beatle. But it’s obviously up there in pop culture significance, considering how TV and other media played up Wednesday’s news of the death of Davy Jones, star of TV touchstone The Monkees and the top-selling rock band of the same name.
Some will scoff — The Monkees were a manufactured group, their ’60s show looks silly, et al. But Davy Jones’ death seemed to strike a chord in baby boomers — and even in younger culture vultures, who still hear Monkees tunes like “Daydream Believer” on oldies radio, on movie soundtracks, or as background sound in public places.
Maybe it’s because The Monkees stand for a particular pop culture moment, at a confluence of events, trends and fault lines. The show’s 1966-68 TV run essentially defines the morph of what we’ll call the Mad Men ’60s — on-the-surface simple, sunny, neat — into the Vietnam-era, with all of its messy, moody, culture-shift conflicts.
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