Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Colin Blunstone - Selling Songs to Zombies and Searching for Lost Chords

The Zombies' singer Colin Blunstone was born 68 years ago today on 24th June 1945.  I mention this because it brought to mind a cold, damp January evening when leaving the warmth and comfort of my home, I started up my car and headed off for Worthing in Sussex. It was a journey I embarked on with great reluctance. I was in my late 40s and had spent the last few days beating myself up over whether I was  young enough or good enough to succeed in what I was about to do.

As the car trundled on I glanced up gloomily up at the grey, night sky watching the clumps of snow splatter and slide as they were pushed relentlessly across the windscreen into a growing pile of slush on the bonnet.
In my late teens and early 20s, all this would have been a breeze. That was the time when the sun always shone and I, full of the optimism of youth, found every set back a challenge to be relished and task to be conquered. The phone box was my office, my smooth tongue and dazzling youth were my defense and shield. Once I was bullet proof, once I had been invincible.

But now as I journeyed on through that freezing January night, things were different. I drummed my thumbs on the steering wheel gritting my teeth as I travelled. I wanted to turn back but I knew I couldn't.
After some time I pulled the car to a halt, I'd arrived. I hunched down in my seat, squinting as I searched for a parking space near the Town Hall steps. This was in the days before satellite navigation and my eyes were sore through straining to read the crumpled map I'd balanced precariously across the steering wheel. I found a spot, picked up my CD and letter and walked across the road stepping carefully between the banks of gritty sludge.

The front of the building was bathed in a soft, inviting, pale yellow light but the door was firmly shut. I rang the bell, and pulled my coat collar around my face, conscious of the fact that my clothes were anything but fashionable, maybe a bit retro, I thought, but the wrong kind of retro.  My head ached, I could pretend to be 18 but on the outside I was no longer young. I was a dad, I should be at home, warming my legs against the hot radiator, a glass of wine and a chat with the kids. What was I doing here? 
As I worked out my speech, the door opened. I was greeted by the enquiring young face of man, maybe early 20s wearing jeans and T shirt, shabby chic I suppose you would call it. I explained that I was looking for Colin Blunstone, ex lead singer with the Zombies. He was performing that night and I wanted to meet him. Trying not to sound like an irate, jilted husband I explained that I had something to give him.
'He's not arrived yet,' the young man said as he started to shut the door. I glanced quickly over his shoulder, it looked warm in there, the lights were blazing and people were moving around. Things were happening, but I couldn't see Colin Blunstone. The door closed in front of me and the warm glow vanished, so I waited, glancing self consciously at my watch to confirm that I was there for a reason, just in case anyone passing should notice.

Years ago, I would have looked at this not as a set back but as an opportunity to scale the wall and enter through a fire exit door from behind. I met Keith Moon that way once, I'm still surprised at how affable and pleasant he was. I told him I'd once nicked a guitar lead from a Who concert and he smiled and laughed.
As I checked my watch for the umpteenth time, I heard footsteps coming round the corner. I looked up to see a stocky, short man, swept back grey hair and glasses, walking with a boxer's swagger, his leather flying jacket done up tight. I recognised him immediately, it was Chris Farlowe, the singer of Handbags and Gladrags and Out of Time with Mick Jagger on the chorus. I stopped him and we spoke. He listened as I explained I was a song writer. I told him I'd written songs for Mike Smith (name changed in case he takes umbridge (or Ongar).

'I know Mike,' he said.
I knew he would, it never failed, they all knew Mike. I'd realised some time ago there must be a small London club somewhere with a exclusive membership for 60s British artists only, they all knew each other.
'Colin's the one you want,' he said, 'he's making an album, give me your CD and I'll pass it on to him.' I smiled but said no thanks, I'd come this far and didn't mind waiting. I caught a glimpse of activity and light behind him as he shrugged and entered the Town Hall. The door shut with a bang. It looked good in there, warm and comfortable. But all was not lost, talking to him had made me think this might be possible, this could just work. A glimmer of hope sparked within me. Maybe this was normal, maybe this was what all dads' did on a cold January night!

 I walked away few paces backwards and forwards in front of the door, stamping my feet as I waited near the steps. There was a clunk behind me and I turned. The door was opening. It was the young 20 year old who peered out towards me.
'Would you like to come in?' he said, 'you can wait inside.'
I felt like Scrooge being given a second chance at Christmas as I walked towards him and entered the building. I brushed the snow from my shoulders, he offered me a seat so I sat down and waited.
It wasn't long before I heard a small commotion coming my way. Someone was sweeping down the hallway at a fair speed. Tall and thin and dressed in black with flowing hair, it was him, Colin Blunstone. I stood up and waited.
I hadn't met a 60s pop star in quite a while and I was expecting some sulking, pouting, maybe a fit of pique, however I was fine.
'Is someone looking for me?' he said, narrowing his expression as he glanced over my shoulder, his eyes darting around the hall.
'Yes, I am,' I smiled, offering my hand. He shook it and I spoke. 'I'm a songwriter and publisher ...' I saw his mouth drop and a glazed look spread across his face. 'I work with Mike Smith,' I said quickly.
'Oh, Mike!' he exclaimed, his mood suddenly improving, 'I've just done a couple of concerts with him.' 
The idea of a gentile Victorian theatre sprung to mind, and I continued. 'I've got a song for you, Mike likes it,' I added. It was a lie. Mike hated it, there was a chord in the middle that he didn't like, he said it sounded wrong and wanted me to change it. I hadn't; it was the right chord for the song and sounded fine to me.
'Why didn't you give it to Mike?' he asked quizzically, 'he could have passed it on to me.'
I bit my lip. Mike could have passed it on? This was the first time I'd heard about this cozy relationship.
'Well I live not far from here,' (I was actually living about 50 miles away) I said breezily, 'so it was no problem dropping it off. No trouble at all.' I handed over the CD then found myself starting to talk about his songs. We spoke about Odyssey and Oracle, the last album the Zombies made as I started to mutate into an animated anoraky fan. 'I love the guitar sound on Friends of Mine,' I enthused.

'Yes it worked well,' he said, 'Rod was all keyboards and Paul all guitars.'
I told him how I'd sat on a bench outside a Zombies concert at Lewes Town Hall. I was 14 at the time and didn't have enough pocket money to get in.
Did he remember the concert? No, he didn't. So you won't remember me sitting on the bench either? I wondered.
Spurred on, I asked more. Was he worried about the obvious similarity between the listing of friends, in the Zombie's, 'Friends of Mine' and The Beautiful South's, 'Song for Whoever'?
'I don't know it,' he said, 'I tend to listen to Classic FM most of the time. Do you know I was 23 when we made that album, we split up straight afterwards, I never made any money.'
It was the same old story.
'And do you know,' he continued, 'I've been singing the beginning of She's Not There, wrong for ages!' He started to sing, 'well no one told me about her.'
I noticed immedaitely that he sang the first three words on the same note. 'That's not right,' I said, 'those three notes at the beginning should be ascending, you've got it wrong.' I sang it back at him, the correct way and he nodded in agreement.
I paused. My enthusiasm had obviously got the better of me. There I was, about to have a pop master class on a one to one basis with the singer of a classic 60s hit but instead I found myself giving him a singing lesson, showing him the proper way to sing one of his songs.
'For Christ sake, Colin! Stop gazing round the room, pay attention and listen to me! It's no wonder the band split up ...' I toyed with the idea but said nothing.

It reminded me later of how guitarist Gary Moore demonstrated the first chord to A Hard Day's Night, to George Harrison. Moore says he played the suspended 7th chord that anyone who's had a go at the song always plays.
'That's not correct,' said Harrison.
'Are you sure?' said a quizzical Moore.
'Yes I am,' replied Harrison flatly.

A while later I spoke on the phone to Mike Smith. I explained briefly that I'd turned up at Worthing Town Hall with my CD and spoken with Colin Blunstone.
'Did you bring all his albums in a plastic Tesco's bag and ask him to sign them?' he said, laughing to himself. 'And did you get rid of that wrong chord?'
'I didn't know you knew Colin Blunstone,' I said, trying to deflect him. 'Do you know any other members of the Zombies?'
'Not really,' he said sounding bored. 'Rod Argent plays in my band sometimes, oh and so does his bass player Jim Rockford ... Russ Ballard, I know him.'
A sudden thought came to me, ' and George Harrison, I suppose you knew him?'
'I played at the Cavern, Paul McCartney used to give me a lift home in his car.'
I paused then spoke briefly, 'So did you ever teach George any of your chords?' 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Simon Cowell, Eggs and BaconGate and how Pinky and Perky got bigger than the Beatles

'My life's work is now complete, I adore you, you are one of my favourite ever acts,' gushed Simon Cowell.
So who was he talking about? One Direction? Leona Lewis? Surely not Rylan Clark?

No it was none of the above, it was in fact Ashleigh and that cutesy dog, Pudsey, winners of Britain's Got Talent in May, 2012.

Animals and show biz make uncomfortable bedfellows, or so they say. You need look no further than the Godfather to realise there is a profound truth in that statement. However, this has not always been the case, in fact it now seems that adding an animal or two can do wonders to your ratings. Here are just a few examples to get you thinking:

1. 'Pussy Cat' Willum and Wally Whyton

At the height of his success, Pussy Cat Willum was receiving over 400 fan letters a week, out doing the star of the show, Wally Whyton and anyone else involved with Rediffusion.

2. Those crazy, castrato pigs, Pinky and Perky

During a somewhat turbulent career the pigs managed to not only squeak out16 EPs and 11 albums, but also shared the bill on Morecambe and Wise with the Beatles and appeared in 4 episodes of the Ed Sullivan Show (the Beatles only managed 3).

3. Lulu - the incontinent elephant who put the 'Blue' into Peter

A regular replay on TV since 1969 and a popular video on YouTube.

4. Troy Tempest and Marina (half woman half fish)

Harp playing all-rounder Marina was the love interest in the big hit show Stingray, during the 60s both here in the UK and America.

5. Postman Pat and the inseparable Jess, the cat

An ever popular stalwart on our TV for over 30 years now

6. Zig and Zag

These furry twins from the planet Zog, although not strictly animals (well not as we know them anyway) were winners of the TV Personality of the Year Award in both 1988 and 1989. Success with record sales was helped by the ubiquitous Simon Cowell (2 singles with RCA)

Simon Cowell hates eggs

Apart from a few sporadic Ebay vintage record sales, not even Simon Cowell could save Pinky and Perky's bacon. And as for eggs, we learnt on June 9th that Simon hates them. This was brought to the fore after the egg throwing incident staged by Natalie Holt of the Raven Quartet who said, "I basically took a stand against people miming on television and against Simon and his dreadful influence on the music industry." What does she mean?

So how are Ashleigh and Pudsey doing? Apparently things couldn't be better. As well as mixing with celebrities such as Morgan Freeman and Gary Barlow they've also appeared with Jay Leno and on the Royal Variety show. They haven't been out of work. As well as doubling their £500,000 winnings, reports are that Pudsey has recently gone solo and is making his first feature film.

For music's sake lets hope there's not a bust up over artistic differences looming on the horizon.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Paul McCartney - the Biggest Name Dropper I Know

I have a friend who was famous for a short during the 60s when the Beatles were an unknown group in Liverpool trying to make it big. We were once discussing those opportunities that could have changed our lives but as often happens, had slipped from our grasp. I mentioned the well-known story of Decca missing the chance to sign the Beatles in 1962. ‘That’s nothing,’ my friend said, ‘I can remember sitting in a cafe with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, while they tried to persuade me to sing their songs ... but they were nobodies and I wasn’t interested.’

I remember quite well at Primary School, on a coach back from London, discussing the groups we liked. I can recall everyone saying they liked Cliff Richard, but I said I thought the Beatles were good, and I had an idea that maybe they were even better than Cliff. It seemed radical at the time and caused a few looks of concern amongst my young class mates but, in retrospect, who was right I wonder?

I am of the generation that even now thinks Paul (and Ringo) are about to pop in for tea.  And when he does finally turn up, I will be able to ask him those things that have bugged me for the last 50 years. Such as, did you, George or John play guitar on Dr Robert? And did you get the idea for the riff from Mystery Train?  

I know it’s a well worn cliché but if you were not of the Beatle generation it is hard to understand how revolutionary the Beatles were; Beatle releases were the number one item on the BBC News.  All of us, (unless you were a Stones fan, of course) waited with baited breath to hear what new form a Beatles’ single would take, and you could almost guarantee that everyone’s response was pretty much the same. It went something like this, ‘Well it’s a bit different but I reckon after a few plays I’ll probably get to like it’.

The good or bad thing about those recordings was that over time, they attached themselves, limpet – like, to our psyche in such a way that now, the playing of any Beatle track immediately transports us back to the innocent days of our teens.

If I hear I Feel Fine, I’m reminded of Airfix model planes - I was making one when I dropped the glue on the single. 
If We Can Work it Out is sung, I can hear the corresponding response which was the schoolboy joke of that time. There’s a Place reminds me of switchback rides and the distorted speakers and sallow lights of the fairground.

Neil Aspinall talked loftily about the importance of preserving the Beatles creative output and not allowing it to be sullied by mixing it with adverts and the like. And it is true that a Beatle song, just like any good conjuring trick, can lose its magic once we know the secret of how it’s done. I remember figuring out how to play, I’ll Be Back, (nothing to do with Arnie) only to then think, ‘Oh, is that all it is?’ (Of course it’s a lot more, especially the first chord of that particular song – it’s not an A7)  On the other hand a close examination of many of the Beatles’ chord progressions can be a revelation. Take for instance, It’s for You, and, Love of the Loved, both Cilla Black hits.

I think it would be good for Paul, as part of his legacy, to explain how some of the early magic was created. And I don’t mean George Martin leaning over an enormous mixing desk, speaking in raptures about Tomorrow Never Knows, (not one of my favourites – glad it was the last track on the album as I could then skip it).

And of course to some extent, Paul’s recent video of Ever Present Past on YouTube and his Rude Studio tracks from Ram have done just that. Paul’s 70 now and we should not expect him to think and write with all the optimism and innocence that a teenager has, like us, he had to grow up. His own personal magic will have faded over time just as it does for all of us.

The friend I spoke of earlier also told me that when he’d played at the Cavern in the early 60s, an entrepreneurial Paul McCartney had turned up and given him a lift home in his car in an attempt to persuade him to get the Beatles work in London. Paul McCartney must have been around19 at the time, and he’s 70 today. Paul has survived but the car that drove him and also drives us, hasn’t.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

10 ways Not to Submit Music to The Guitar Library!

You’d be surprised then amused, concerned maybe even confused if you were me, watching the email submissions for The Guitar Library, as they gaily flutter down into my computer in -box.
I’m always happy to receive as many as I do and as each one arrives, nothing pleases me more than the anticipation of reading the accompanying email and listen to a fresh original piece of music.
Sounds like an enviable job, you might say, I should be ecstatic - but often I’m not.  And here’s the reason why:

  1. Read the advert. Quite often the sender has not read my advert or looked at The Guitar Library website but instead has relied on the ‘scatter gun,’ approach for distributing his music. I understand how it works, I’m sure that when I was submitting music there were times when I did the same thing. You know how it goes, ‘Oh well, he asked specifically for guitar music, but this electronic stuff that I do is great, and once he’s heard it, he’s bound to change his mind and realise how great my music really is.’ This is a bit like going into an exam with your one perfectly honed essay answer and trying to jerry-rig it to any essay question you like the look of, it just doesn’t work, does it?

  1. Don’t send junk emails. When a generic email arrives addressed to no one in particular and then talks about how the band has just completed a world wide tour and is now seeking management etc, it’s obvious to me that the sender has not read my advert for guitarists or bothered to visit our website. Imagine if this really good looking girl or boy sent  you a letter suggesting you start a relationship (and one of the great things about The Guitar Library is the relationship we have with all our writers)  and you later find out that the letter was sent to all your friends too, you wouldn’t feel so good then, would you?

  1. Location, location, location. This has nothing to do with music; it’s something that Estate Agents bang on about. However, what is important is:

  1. Quality. Try and make the best recording you possibly can. Don’t think we won’t hear the coughs and unintentional bum notes, we will and so will the producer if we send it to him. So take time and make your tracks perfect. 

  1. Top and tail your tracks. The first thing I do if I like a track is to put it into my DAW (digital audio workstation) and see if it starts at the beginning and ends at the end. Nearly always there is a few seconds of silence at the beginning and the same at the end which I edit out. Producers like their music to start at the beginning so that it can be synchronised correctly, so make sure any blank spaces are deleted.

  1. Fade in, fade out. Don’t do this. If a producer chooses a piece of music for a programme he doesn’t want to find it fading out half way through his film clip. If he wants the music to fade, he can do it himself, so don’t start fading your track 3 seconds before the end, either end with a dead stop or just hold the last few notes and let them fade naturally.

7.      Think emotionally. The kind of music we require in The Guitar Library should be able to conjure up a specific mood immediately. Remember, a producer will probably be looking for something that’s lively, happy, sad, exciting or scary maybe. So keep that in the forefront of your mind when you are composing.

8.      Keep it real. Synthesised instruments were once de rigueur, but now anyone with half a brain can spot a guitar played on a synthesiser. If you’re sending music to The Guitar Library then use real guitars, bass and drums.

9.      What music should I write? The Olympics is upon us and we’ve had requests from BBC producers for the kind of music that is exciting and builds up as it progresses. If you want to write sports music then sit down with a note pad and watch sports programmes on TV. Make notes on how the music works with film. One thing that worked really well for me was to go to YouTube, find a piece of film then turn the music down and start writing. If you keep the volume up slightly so that you can hear the commentary, you will get a good idea of how much or how little you should be writing.

10. Finally If you’ve read all this and are keen to submit music then go to our website and look at the Music Writers section. I look forward to getting a nice email from you. Good luck!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Top 10 Songs to Always Have Sex to

Music has the ability to affect our emotions, a certain tune or song will take us straight back to our teens and open doors to parts of our memory that we thought were forever closed.

My brother’s favourite song was Tammy by Debbie Reynolds, I can clearly remember both of us sitting on the doorstep while he sang it, I must have been 3 years old.  

an ape experiencing Kylie
An ape experiencing Kylie

The emotional response to music is not just something that humans alone experience. In the animal kingdom, the overtly promiscuous chimpanzee will become over stimulated if the appropriate music is played loudly during the morning in its cage. Extensive research by scientists at The Guitar Library - although still in an early stage – show chimps copulating at a far greater rate when exposed to Telly Savalas’ version of ‘If,’ or anything from the first Spice Girls’ first CD.
In my quest to bring music of a more esoteric nature to the general public, I have delved deeply into The Guitar Library’s archives and after months of exhaustive work, have come up with the following results:

1.      For married couples whose love life needs a bit of a boost nothing can beat the pounding bass and rhythmic tom toms of Apache Run
2.      For those of you on a first date, the smooth sound of Patrick Yandall and LC Squared works everytime
3.      For the men who are just to busy to find a partner and plan to fly solo, try Kanoodle by Tom Pile. It’s not sad, but you’ll need a lot of tissues.
4.      For the rock gods and goddesses who are about to take the plunge and get hitched, look no further than Michael Bishop’s Hendrix inspired Woodstock Wedding.
5.      For those of you who are a bit more adventurous, and like a good raunchy romp, try hopping round the bedroom to Bizzara by Page and Follet.
6.      Into a bit of dressing up or re-enactment? Why not don your doublet and hose and cuddle up to Jerry Page’s  tambour and horn in On the Green
7.      Into threesomes? Look no further than Duke-a-holics Anonymous
8.      Foursomes and above - of either sex? Paul Wood’s Camptown should do the trick
9.      Fancy your cousin and you feel the need to tell someone about it? Try Country Slut.
10. Hairy legs, smoke Capstan Full Strength and down a pint of real ale in one go? Then we have something for you and your husband, try My Own Mistakes. Enjoy!
If you have any better ideas, let me know!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Peter Green, Kim Gavin, Pythagoras, Cameron, the Queen or Olympics. Who's in tune with popular culture?

I watched the guitarist Peter Green, who once had the fastest vibrato in the East end, on TV the other day, and Carlos Santana came up in the conversation.
I’ve always been totally unimpressed by Carlos, mainly because his guitar often sounded painfully out of tune. When I say painfully, I don’t mean a lot, just enough to create the kind of finger nails on the blackboard effect, something that was also perfected by the singer, Sade, who during the 80s produced her own unique signature sound – flat.

This is not sour grapes, but it’s just that slightly out of tune music grates on the ears. That confirmed bachelor boy Cliff Richard agrees. I remember him complaining about the Beatles' guitars being out of tune and I think he’s right, though the culprit was Paul - listen to Mean Mister Mustard and all that.

So how do we appear as a nation? Are we in tune or not? Let’s look at the Olympics.

I read in The Telegraph that the Olympic ceremony is going to contain a fab 'mash up' of Adele and Elgar and Blur, but no Harry Styles ... can't wait. Kim Gavin the artistic director said, ‘We are trying to introduce something that is an absolute melting pot of British creativity.’ Scary stuff, reminiscent of white shag pile carpets, full blast central heating and steak and potatoes with thick globules of gravy.

However I thought I’d better take a bit more notice of Kim Gavin so I Googled his web page. First thing I saw was a picture of Kim, explaining something in a meaningful way to supplicating student, a student plus the obligatory Cirque de Soleil, white faced mime (Kim again?)
Then there’s a few testimonials (a couple of spelling mistakes, or maybe Gary Barlow can’t spell), a bit of crawling from Take That’s manager, a glaring typo, plus an enviable credit list as long as your arm with endorsements from those other purveyors of fine taste, the Royal Family.  

I’d like to blame disco Di for introducing her melee of pompadoured chums (Elton and the like) to the Royal Family but since before even Henry VIII’s jester Will Sommers and fashion guru Beau Brummel there have always been fools at court.
After all, when one is cooped up like battery hens in gilded cages it’s important to say, ‘hey, we’re still here, we've got our fingers on the pulse, we’re still trendy.’  Just like David Cameron,  an ordinary bloke who chillaxes while playing Angry Birds on his i-Pad. Perhaps everyone is in tune but me, although I like to think of it more in terms of an outbreak of Hans Andersen's Emperor's New Clothes.

So who’s in tune?

Pythagoras’ system of tuning was based on mathematics, whereas Carlos Santana’s appears to be based on cannabis.
The Royal Family (I see Louis Spence plays the Queen in the T-Mobile ad) attempt to be in tune but always end up looking tacky, (bouffant guitarists strutting on the top of Buckingham Palace – talking of which, here’s a chance for me to get a satirical plug, listen here.)

As for David Cameron, there are no bar chords on the Strat like Tony, his musical efforts amount to propping up the bar with a glass of white wine while clutching a Karaoke mike.

So that leaves Peter Green who in 1970 tuned his Les Paul through my first amp, a Selmer Zodiac.
Great guitarist, sublime and subtle, not a bum note in site. Now this was a man very much in tune with the times.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Davy Jones - Artist or Artful Dodger?

With the death of Davy Jones some of us of a certain age are reflecting on that short time in our youth during the 60s when Monkee mania flourished.

Looking back at the Monkees, it’s possible to see them as an example of human synergy, with the group being greater than the sum of its parts with the Monkees pop group outperformed even its best individual members. 
And that’s surely how it was intended to be, with each manufactured Monkee being chosen to represent a different aspect of the human character. Davy was always the cute brown haired one, Micky the zany curly haired one, Mike the dark haired intellectual silent one, a la George Harrison, and Peter, the zany blond one with an occasional scientific bent.
It was a fail-safe formula that worked well and was used to great success  in Simon Fuller’s construction of the Spice Girls: Scary – dark and frizzy, Baby Spice, the Davy Jones of the group etc .

Monkees- Pleasant Valley Sunday

However after now reviewing a video of Pleasant Valley Sunday, it’s hard to believe that within the group, a synergy existed at all.
Marble chewing Mike Nesmith is undoubtedly doing a good job of miming with a 12 string Gretsch to a Beatle inspired guitar riff, though it doesn’t sound like a 12 string to me, while Peter Tork seems to be confidently hammering the piano with fingers hitting the keys at all the right moments.
Micky Dolenz sings and plays the drums reasonably well too and everything seems to be moving along fine until we see Davy. Unfortunately Davy has been lumbered with bass playing duties as Peter is busy on the keyboards.
To be fair, Davy does attack the bass with gusto, dancing around with confidence and eyeing the other group members, but without much success at eye contact. With regard to his playing, there is a shot of Davy changing chords in time with the music, which is good, but often he tends to stop, reconsider, then start again, strumming the bass as if it’s an acoustic. Interesting stuff, bass presumably wasn’t his forte.  
So what did Davy Jones contributed musically to the Monkees? For a long time I thought Davy was the singer, he had all the right qualifications- floppy sleek hair, boyish grin and a fistful of big maracas. But then I realised that of course the majority of Monkee hits, Last Train to Clarkesville, I’m a Believer and Pleasant Valley Sunday were all sung by Micky Dolenz.
Davy’s contribution to the Monkees was not really a musical one, he started life as an actor, playing the role of Artful Dodger in the West End and Broadway for which he was nominated a Tony award. But besides his acting skills, what he added to the Monkees was firstly a raw cuteness and lovable innocence mixed with an endearing hybrid English accent, part Lancashire, part London, part posh.
Monkees - Daydream Believer
Secondly he sang Daydream Believer, which I still hum to myself every time I shave in the mornings. Thirdly we mustn’t forget he played a fine pair, well actually two pairs of maracas, clutching them in just one hand, a mean feat and not one to be frowned at.

We all realise that it is sad that Davy has died, but for those of us who never knew him it’s sad because he is another symbol of our finishing youth and a reminder that time moves on relentlessly.
So with that thought in mind, if you are a writer and have still not returned your contract to The Guitar library, don’t be a Davy Jones, do so now, or it might just be too late!