He wanted to ride horses but ended up on The Monkees

“For me, David was the Monkees. They were his band. We were just his side men.” – Michael Nesmith

Remembering Davy Jones who died on February 29, 2012, at the age of 66.

Davy Jones, at 5-feet-3, wanted to be a jockey. But a funny thing happened on the way to the racetrack. He got a part in the musical Oliver! 

The role came after several early teenage parts in British TV shows, including the soap opera Coronation Street. But the death of his mother when he was 14 caused him to rethink his life. He loved horses, he was the right size, so he decided to become a jockey. But destiny intervened.


He was an apprentice jockey with a renowned trainer when a friend talked him into trying out for the role of the ‘Artful Dodger’ in a production of Oliver! in London’s West End. Davy got the part, received great reviews and went on to play the role on New York’s Broadway, where he was nominated for a Tony Award.

The Monkees’ Davy Jones
Young Davy in ‘Oliver!’


His destiny was sealed in New York on February 9th, 1964, when he appeared on the iconic Ed Sullivan Show that also featured the Beatles in their first appearance.

“I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage,” 15-year-old Davy said of that night, “I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that.”


From 1966 until 1971, Davy Jones was in 58 television episodes of The Monkees. After the Monkees disbanded in 1971, he pursued a desultory career on stage and screen, producing nine albums, a television special, and a movie. He rejoined The Monkees in touring gigs from 1986-89 and again in 1996-97.


In the end he went back to his first love — horses. He owned several horses and competed in amateur horse racing events.

The Monkees’ Davy Jones
Davy Jones, at 66, in Florida


On the morning of February 29, 2012, after riding one of his horses around his private track in Indiantown, Florida, he suffered chest pains and had difficulty breathing and was rushed to Martin Memorial South Hospital in Stuart, Florida, where he died of a severe heart attack.

Davy Jones was married three times and left behind four daughters and millions of grieving fans, most of all his fellow Monkees.

“He was the brother I never had,” said Micky Dolenz, “and this loss leaves a gigantic hole in my heart.”

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