London: Davy Jones, the front man of 60s band ‘The Monkees’ died on Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack. He was aged 66.
The singer died in his sleep at his home in Florida, his longtime publicist, Deborah Robicheau said.
The band comprising Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork was brought together for a US TV series in 1966, whose string of hits included ‘Daydream Believer’ and ‘I’m a Believer’.
The one time teen heartthrob was married three times and had four daughters.
Born in Manchester, England, Jones was the lone British member and principal teen idol of the rock quartet featured for two seasons on the NBC comedy series ‘The Monkees.’
The Monkees’ TV show was popular in both the US and the UK, and the band had four number one albums in a 13-month period.
They were famous for their clean-cut image and were marketed as the American answer to The Beatles, notching up nine top 40 hits.
Three of the band’s original members - Jones, Dolenz and Tork - reunited together last year to play a series of gigs.
David Thomas Jones was born in 1945 to a railway fitter and a housewife in England.
At the age of 11 years he appeared on soap opera Coronation Street, playing Ena Sharples’s grandson.
He also played a role in the television series Z Cars, but when his mother died of emphysema in 1960, he left show business to train as a jockey.
Basil Foster, the jockey who acted as his mentor, noticed Jones’s skill as a performer and encouraged him to pursue his acting career.
He returned to acting with a role in a West End production of Oliver! After it transferred to Broadway, he built up a career as an actor and singer before auditioning for ‘The Monkees’.
Music journalist Paul Gambaccini described Jones as having “phenomenal” charisma and said that in 2008, he was voted the top teen idol of all time by Yahoo! Music.
“The pop world at that time loved The Beatles and that north-western English sound was something that America wanted, when they put together the so-called Pre-Fab Four,” he said, referring to the nickname given to ‘The Monkees’.
Gambaccini said ‘The Monkees’ had been put together by the music industry, something which was unheard of at that time.
“There had been individual teen idols who had been literally picked up off the street and groomed to be popstar, but there had never been a band that was put together, and they were assembled because the two producers had liked A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles’ movie,” the BBC quoted Gambaccini as saying.
“One of the things that people will probably be thinking about Davy Jones is, the fact that he was 66. He always looked like a little kid. I think even in his latter years he looked very, very young,” Radio presenter Dave Lee Travis said.
He described The Monkees as “a lot of fun” and as a band which overcame its critics.
Ricky Wilson, of the Kaiser Chiefs, speaking at the NME awards, said Jones would be missed.
“It was just some guys having fun. Not in the sort of forced, manufactured way, although many would say they were the first manufactured band,” Wilson said.
“I think there’s something infectious about guys looking like that and having fun: The tunes, you can’t argue with them,” Wilson added.
A former apprentice jockey in Newmarket, Jones remained a keen horseman all his life, winning his first race in England as a jockey in 1996. He also trained horses.
Jones also wrote short stories, poetry, and was interested in photography.