Davy Jones’ fans will love him forever
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sherry McCook planted her first kiss on Davy Jones in 1967, when she managed to talk herself into a bar at the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach, even though she was just 20.
Hundreds of teenage girls thronged outside, giddily hoping for a chance encounter with the Monkees heartthrob.
McCook was smooth enough to get a pass from the man at the door of the lounge.
“Will you be mannerly and cordial?” he asked her.
“Do I appear to be mannerly and cordial?” she responded demurely.
She was escorted to Jones’ table, where the singer sat with songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. He allowed McCook a tender kiss on the cheek.
She has a photo from that night, but she doesn’t need to look at it to remember the thrill.
“Not a single moment of that first encounter has diminished,” says McCook, who lives in Live Oak in northern Florida. “It’s still magical in my mind.”
In the decades since, she arranged her schedule as a mom, wife and dental assistant to get maximum exposure to Jones – she saw him about 75 times in concerts, shows and meet-and-greets. She came to West Palm Beach to watch him in “Cinderella” and “Aladdin.” She was usually first in line for his gigs at Epcot’s annual Flower Power concert series. She didn’t mind waiting six hours in the sun for his shows – because she wanted Davy to know she was there, ever true.
After Jones passed away from a heart attack one year ago in Indiantown at 66, McCook got 45 sympathy cards and messages from her friends – such is the power of her devotion.
So she scheduled her life to include one more important Monkees event: The three-day Monkees Convention and memorial for Davy Jones last weekend in East Rutherford, N.J.
She had to take out a loan to travel there and buy a ticket, but there was no way she would miss the chance to see Jones’ four daughters and his Monkees cohorts Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork.
“The Monkees are my life,” she said. “Or at least a giant part of it.”
Two thousand people showed up to remember Jones and see Dolenz, Tork, David Cassidy and a Partridge-Family-bus full of other ‘60s and ‘70s celebrities at the convention. They came from as far away as Japan and Brazil, some paying more than $200 for a VIP weekend pass – and that doesn’t include the $60 it cost to pose with Micky or Peter and get an autograph. (It was just $20 to get a photo with Butch Patrick, better known as “Eddie Munster” of “The Munsters” TV show.)
“The Brady Bunch” boys – Barry Williams, Christopher Knight and Mike Lookinland — showed up, too, selling photos and memorabilia.
But the most important siblings of the weekend were Davy’s daughters — Talia, Sarah, Jessica and Annabel – who were there to meet fans and also to collect money for their charity, the Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation, which they started to care for the 14 horses Jones left behind.
His horses were “his passion,” Annabel, a singer herself, said. And fans like McCook have helped put hay in their stables for the past year.
The Jones girls sold T-shirts and posed for photos, expressing their gratitude over and over as fans embraced them and cried with them.
Colleen Gaier, a travel agent from Dayton, Ohio, who organized a rock ‘n roll cruise featuring Jones and other rockers in January 2012, got a big hug from Jessica on Saturday. Jessica and her son, Phoenix, joined her dad on the cruise last year, then spent some time riding horses with him in Indiantown.
The chance to just hang out with her father provided such precious memories that Jessica told Gaier those were “the best two weeks of my life.”
Jones’ most devoted fans, like Sherry McCook, shared memories with his daughters. McCook made photo albums for each of them — pictures of moments she shared with their dad, including that kiss in 1967.
“It’s a euphoric feeling to think how fortunate I’ve been to see him so many times,” McCook said, as she waited in line for a photo opportunity with his girls. “Some people are thrilled to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I got to see him repeatedly.”
Why do fans like McCook keep the teen-idol fires burning? Deborah Robicheau, who is married to Davy’s longtime guitarist and was his manager for years, has a theory: Lifelong love of a teen idol is a pure and dear form of arrested development.
“They go backwards in time when they see their idols,” she said. “They get to feel 17 again.”
And so do the idols themselves.
“The fans and the artist are giving each other a gift, an exchange,” she said. “It’s clear that they have all aged — they have wrinkles, they are older — but they don’t see or feel that. For that moment, they feel the beauty and joy and carefree-ness of youth.”
As for McCook, her devotion goes on.
She’ll be at Epcot this weekend to see Micky Dolenz kick off the Flower Power Concert series.
And she’ll continue to play the music that makes her feel eternally young, especially her favorite Davy Jones song, the one he wrote as a tribute to his fans: “I’ll Love You Forever.”