1 Mar 2012

Monkees lead singer Davy Jones dies

3:16 pm on 1 March 2012

Davy Jones, former lead singer of the 1960s made-for-television pop band The Monkees, has died.

The 66-year-old suffered a heart attack near his home in Florida, his longtime publicist said.

Jones, born in Manchester, England, became the principal teen idol of the rock quartet featured on the NBC comedy series The Monkees which ran from 1966 to 1968.

Although not allowed to play their own instruments on their early records, Jones and his three fellow band members - Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork - had several hits that sold millions of copies.

They included Last Train to Clarksville and I'm a Believer.

Jones sang lead vocals on hit singles Daydream Believer, A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You, and Valleri.

Jones got his start as an 11-year-old actor on the British soap opera Coronation Street before landing a role as the Artful Dodger in a West End production of Oliver!

He went on to originate that role for the Broadway production and earned a Tony nomination.

The actor gained wider stardom after answering a casting call for a TV series being created about the zany misadventures of four Beatles-like rock musicians called the Monkees.

Nesmith and Tork, were musicians with performing and recording experience, while Jones and Dolenz were primarily actors who more or less dabbled in music.

Although disparaged by critics as the "Pre-Fab Four" for the manufactured way in which the band came together, the group proved to be adept performers who were eventually given control of their own recordings.

The group collaborated early on with some of the major songwriters and session musicians of the day, including Neil Diamond, Carole King, Glen Campbell and Hal Blaine.

After their fifth album, the group began to splinter, releasing two more albums as a trio without Tork and one last LP as a duo following Nesmith's exit in 1969. Jones went on to pursue a less-heralded solo career.

He had lived with his third wife, Jessica Pacheco-Jones, in Hollywood, Florida, in recent years. Jones is also survived by four daughters from two previous marriages.