TMZ reports that Davy Jones, singer for the Monkees, died of a heart attack this morning while at home in Florida. He was 66.
The British-born Jones started out as a child actor before being cast on The Monkees, the TV show that spawned the band, when he was 19. Both the show and the band were ridiculously popular, staying on the air for six years and landing three #1 singles.
They were created as a response to the Beatles, of course, and it was hard to take them seriously when they were thrown together for the express purpose of making a TV show that teenagers would like. And one of the first things young rock nerds learn is that the Monkees didn’t play their own instruments. But studio creation or no, the Monkees quickly amassed an absolutely bulletproof catalog of hits. Even during that ridiculously fertile era, not too many bands could claim ownership of so many point-blank great songs. And they also were responsible for Head, the charmingly weird 1968 psychedelic freakout of a feature film. Fun fact: David Bowie, born David Jones, changed his name because he didn’t want to be confused with Davy.
After the show was canceled and the band disbanded, Jones continued on as both a solo artist and an actor, though he never had the same impact again. He was still performing live as recently as last week, so this death is quite sudden. Below, check out some videos of the Monkees in action.