Photos and text by Anne M. Raso
Last night’s Davy Jones Tribute show at BB King’s Times Square–hosted by legendary New York deejay Cousin Brucie (who’s been with Sirius for over seven years now)–was more than just a tribute to the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest tambourine player”! Yes, he actually liked to be introduced at his solo shows that way and it always evoked tons of laughter from audiences.
Guests were kept under wraps til the last minute. Most songs–from both Jones’ Monkees and solo careers–were performed by the backing bands from both careers, both intact and blended. They joked about being replaced and then brought back into the fold–they loved their boss even though almost all of them got fired at some point!
It was great to see legendary drummer and regular Rock And Roll Fantasy Camp counselor Sandy Gennaro behind the kit (he started with the Monkees on a reunion tour back on 1987 and was with them on and off for 19 years). He also had some of the best personal Davy stories to tell, including the time Davy put on his work clothes one Sunday after a show at Westbury Music Fair and helped the sticksman build a stone wall in his Long Island backyard! Needless to say, many neighbors came by to take photographs. The oddest moment of the evening was Gennaro singing “Dominique” by The Singing Nun with some sort of T-shirt draped over his head.
On hand to speak was the always eloquent Tommy James as well as Jones’ longtime friend, former Rascal Gene Cornish (who now helms Gene Cornish’s Guitar Club For Men). James had some great Happy Together Tour stories but spoke from the heart about what kind of person he truly felt Jones was and how fun he was to do shows with. Jones most recent band got to share remembrances of him on the road and lots of their “home movies” were shown. There was even footage of Jones singing “Personal Penquin” for a kids’ CD that came out of a few years ago–he even performed the song at the Kennedy Center wearing a penguin suit. Some of the even more unusual footage featured him stripping to one of his most romantic solo ballads–he was nude except for a single black sock at one point!
Deana Martin, who starred in a Monkees’ episode as a Davy love interest and also dated him in real life, told stories about Davy coming to her house and hangin’ with her large family of seven kids–she also performed “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes” and the last song she ever performed with Davy live. (She would pop up and perform at his solo shows when they were in the same town and they had a nearly 50-year friendship.)
The horseman side of Mr. Jones was shown as well. He had a total of 16 horses spread between ranches in Florida, Pennsylvania and California and the evening’s proceeds all went to the Davy Jones Equine Foundation. Daughters Talia and Annabelle were on hand and talked about the various horses that were Jones’ favorites and how he personally cared for them while not out on the road. There was even a touching film from a Pennsylvania neighbor who would give him an update on his horses there and her personal dealings with them after he got back from tours.
The big finale was–not surprisingly–Peter Tork coming out to perform his wonderful Monkees’ classic (originally with lead vocals by Michael Nesmith), “What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round?” Peter’s banjo licks as well as vocal abilities were in top form, but the moment everyone was waiting for was when Micky Dolenz joined him onstage for “Papa Gene’s Blues,” “I’m A Believer” and “Daydream Believer.” It simply doesn’t get better than that for diehard Monkees fans, with the exception of the elusive Mike Nesmith showing up! But no one expected that despite his touching tribute to his late Monkeesmate on his Facebook page shortly after Davy’s passing!
It was nice that all fans could walk up to Annabelle Jones and reminisce about her dad after the show. Last night’s tribute was one we won’t forget easily here at themacwire.com–and we’re not monkeeing around! We have some exclusive clips for you from this magical night below!