Davy Jones, the only British member of the manufactured pop group The Monkees, has sadly died today aged 65. The Manchester-born man starred alongside Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork as the group became teen heartthrobs in the 1960s, hitting their peak between 1966 and 1968 with a hugely well-received television series as well as a string of glittering hits, with the group continuing to record even after the TV show folded in 1968. Here at Contactmusic we thought the best way to pay tribute to Jones would be to remember five of the group's finest hits. (1) Last Train To Clarkesville (1966): The Monkees debut single and one which put them on the map instantly, 'Last Train To Clarkesville' undoubtedly looked across to Britain and the beat group explosion yet the harmonies were taken by the four-piece and given a charm all of their own in the ensuing years. Debuting at top spot on the US Billboard Charts it's still one of their most recognisable songs. (2) I'm A Believer (1966): Written for The Monkees by Neil Diamond, can you imagine anyone other than the four-piece performing this song? And that's in spite of many trying to replicate it including Robert Wyatt, The Four Tops and Smash Mouth. One of the finest pop hits of all time, it may have been written by Diamond, but again it was Jones and co. who made it what it was. (3) Daydream Believer (1967): A track that saw Jones take the lead vocals for this up tempo ballad written for the group by John Stewart of The Kingston Trio, it's perhaps his finest work individually within the four-piece, his fragile yet melodious vocal carrying a song that aches with a bittersweet emotion amidst The Monkees usual cheerful bombast.
(4) Mary, Mary (1968): Though not gaining a chart position in the US, this song became a big hit in Australia and proved The Monkees could mix it with some of the true greats as, finally having creative control of their sound, they assembled session musicians including James Burton, Glen Campbell, Al Casey and Hal Blaine among others in the studio for recording. Run Dmc made the song famous in the 80s, with their own version reaching the American charts in 1988. (5) Porpoise Song (1968): Theme from the movie 'Head,' this saw the group exploring newly psychedelic territories and thanks to the song writing of Gerry Coffin and Carole King deeper lyrical content. Reminiscent of early Pink Floyd and SYD BARRETT's solo work, it ultimately made 62 on the Hot 100 showing that much of their audience were still willing to adapt with The Monkees, although the group rarely troubled any higher echelons commercially thereafter until their 80s revival.