Many of my contemporaries are remembering Davy Jones today. No doubt more than one of us is recalling how cute Jones was, how sweet and adorable he looked as he sang about his Daydream Believer. His face seemed to hold an incorruptible innocence which was (and is) pretty much the antithesis of the rock and roll image. Now I seriously doubt that Jones was an innocent (in show business? No way.) but that was the appearance he projected.
The “safe-to-take-me-home-to-meet-Mom” Jones of Daydream Believer never did it for me. I wasn’t interested in Sleepy Jean or homecoming queens. Nope. I was instead interested in the Davy Jones persona I heard in the song, Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow). Yeah, I know it was cheesy but bear with me.
Written by Neil Diamond, Look Out is the story of a guy with a problem–he’s in love with two different girls. The song begins with some simple but catchy guitar chords before Jones jumps in to confide his troubles.
Look out, here comes tomorrow
That’s when I’ll have to choose
How I wish I could borrow
Someone else’s shoes
To my young ears (I’m not going to tell you how young because I don’t want to remember how old I am now) this was an unusual and unexplored dilemma. How can you be in love with two different people at once? Jones describes how-
Mary, oh what a sweet girl
Lips like strawberry pie
Sandra, the long hair and pig tails,
Can’t make up my mind
Now, to a kid, this wasn’t just a tad naughty, it was downright kinky. One minute Davy (at least in my imagination) is making out with Mary and then doing God knows what with a tomboy in pig tails!
Jones expresses his special kind of angst in the chorus–
I see all kinds of sorrow
Wish I only loved one
Look out, here comes tomorrow
Oh how I wish tomorrow would never come
Listening to these lyrics and the way Jones breathlessly delivered them in his earnest British accent, well, let’s just say my prepubescent hormones were nudged a little bit closer to full-out, right-on puberty.
Told them both that I loved them
Said it, and it was true
But I can’t have both of them
Don’t know what to do
Oh my God, Jones sounds so forlorn, so desperate, so…passionate as he repeats the chorus. And before I even know what makeup sex is, I imagine the argument, the tears as he tells Mary (and then Sandra and OMG, Mary again) that he is choosing the other girl.
In reality, these were the 1960s and famous as he was, Davy Jones could have had as many girls as he wanted. But my immature mind didn’t yet understand all of the complexities and impossible reconciliations the era would usher in. I just knew that I wanted the passion I heard in Jones voice.
It’s a unique sadness we feel when we say goodbye to a wished-for icon of our coming of age years. When Whitney Houston died, I felt sorrow but it wasn’t tinged, at least not for me, with the memories of newness and possibility that only childhood can bring. We may leave our childhood icons behind as we age, but when they die, we remember what they inspired in us and what we did or did not achieve.
Here’s the song (click through to You Tube). Thanks, Davy.