Leeds and Yorkshire memories of Monkees frontman Davy Jones

APRIL 1972: Davy Jones of the Monkees in Leeds.
APRIL 1972: Davy Jones of the Monkees in Leeds.
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Following the death of Monkees frontman Davy Jones, the YEP takes a look back at the singer’s association with Leeds and Yorkshire.

As the only British member of the famous 1960s boy-band, he was always slightly separate from the group.

He came to Leeds in April 1972, to appear in a production called Forget Me Not Lane at Leeds Grand Theatre.

Over a cup of coffee in a nearby cafe, the then 26-year-old spoke of his dream of one day buying a Yorkshire farm. He added he also thought he had another 35 years of being an entertainer left in him.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post at the time, the Manchester-born ex-Monkee said: “I want to come back and live in England. I’d like a farm in England with a couple of showjumpers.

“I’m not really a singer or an actor, I’m more of an all-rounder. The more I go on the more I learn and I hope to go on for a long time yet.

His dream of buying a Yorkshire farm was one long held – he had mentioned the ambition during a previous interview given in December 1969, while returning to the UK with wife Linda and baby daughter, Talia. His love of horses came from the fact he was trained as a jockey – it was a sport he returned to, riding his first winner aged 50, Digpast in the Ontario Amateur Riders’ Handicap race at Lingfield, Surrey.

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The group, made up of Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones and Peter Tork were formed in 1966 purely as a fictional television band, whose lives were portrayed in a series of wacky sketches.

But they surprised everyone by going on to have a string of hits, such as Daydream Believer, A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You and I Wanna Be Free to name but three.

They sold 16 million records, had four consecutive number one albums and three number one singles.

Such was their appeal that at once point critics thought they might depose The Beatles as the number one pop group.

They were together 39 months, before Nesmith paid $160,000 to break his contract and leave the group to pursue a solo music career.

Over the coming decades, the Monkees were to reform more than once.

In March 1989, after reforming, they kicked-off their UK tour at Harrogate Conference Centre, albeit minus Nesmith.

However, the gig was panned by critics, one of whom, writing in the YEP said: “After a great start, the show deteriorated into a poor attempt to bring the wacky television show onto the stage. Carefully stage-managed sketches featuring ludicrous outfits and smutty jokes did nothing but embarrass and confuse the audience.” She added: “The music is all they need to succeed.”

Credible

In the end, it was the music which defined them. While they may have started out as a manufactured TV-band as part of the US response to The Beatles, they became a force to be reckoned with, a credible pop act in their own right.

They reformed again in December 1996, this time with the original line-up.

Davy Jones did realise his dream of owning a farm and keeping horses but not in Yorkshire – he owned one in Hampshire and another in America.

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