Posted by: docdenbow | February 29, 2012

Just Give Me Your Money – I’ll Give You My Pain

So the news has come through today that Davy Jones of The Monkees has died of a heart attack at the age of 66. It really is no great age these days, especially in someone wealthy and with, I suppose, access to the finest healthcare that is available. It’s very sad when an icon of one’s childhood and youth dies, and although one must feel deeply for his friends and family it does tend to make me appraise lots of other things.

Davy Jones, the good looking cute one out of The Monkees, immortalized forever as a cherubic young chap singing and acting proper daft in a TV programme marked out by its’ vibrant colours, funny(ish) vignettes and very catchy songs. But is that immortality on screen and to a lesser extent, on record a blessing or a curse? What happens to those icons who age and sometimes disappear from public view? Davy was one of the lucky ones as he had a career touring with various incarnations of The Monkees in big venues right up to the present day – so he never really sank into the abyss.

There are several other celebrities who disappeared from the public eye after having had a once glittering career. This applies to pop stars, actors and even stars of “light entertainment.” The prudent ones looked after the cash when it was rolling in – if they weren’t ripped of by managers and agents. Others had to go back to where they started just to earn a living. All over the world there are probably countless groups loosely based on the originals, touting the hits of the past in a variety of less than salubrious venues.

When I was in my early teens we had Sweet, Slade, Mud, T.Rex and Showaddywaddy. I won’t go into the decline and fall of Gary Glitter as I guess you all know about that. With Sweet you had Brian Connolly (the handsome blond one) who developed a gargantuan drink problem which ultimately led to his death from kidney, liver and heart problems when aged just 51. The surviving members ploughed on for a few years until the career just fizzled out. The drummer Mick Tucker died of leukaemia and the poncey bass player buggered off to live in the US, leaving Andy Scott to see his stock falling gradually until he ended up with his version of the Sweet in assorted holiday camp type venues across Europe.

Slade came out far better, Noddy Holder and Jimmy Lea decided to pack it in with Noddy becoming a radio DJ and Jimmy trained as a psycho therapist. Dave Hill and Don Powell carried on with Slade 2, possibly out of necessity as they didn’t have songwriting royalties to fall back on.

Mud, well they’re a little more interesting. They were a jobbing band and were handed a bunch of songs by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (who had written songs for Suzi Quatro and The Sweet amongst others) and became stars. Les Gray sadly died of cancer whilst in semi retirement, Ray Stiles the bassist joined a touring version of the Hollies and Rob Davis (the weird looking one) became a songwriter bashing out “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” for Kylie Minogue for example, quelle surprise!

Marc Bolan died in a car crash in 1977 and that was the end of T.Rex. Full stop.

The there’s Showaddywaddy. There’s bleedin’ hundreds of them and they’re still going. Various members have come and gone, but like a juggernaut they just plough on.

Actors and comedians, well there must be loads in the “where are they now?” or “what happened to?” or “isn’t he/she dead?” categories. Little and Large, Bruno Brookes, Lewis Collins, Roy Walker, John Noakes, the little one in The Young Ones, Mick MacManus, Rob Newman, Lee Hurst, Roland Rat, the fat girl from Pop Idol, that really fat bloke from Pop Idol, Mike Read, Lennie Bennett, Freddie Starr, Cannon & Ball, Les Battersby, Nik Kershaw, Boy George, Sarah Greene, Maggie Philbin, Cheggers, Jimmy Cricket, Lee Majors, Jerry Lewis….the list would be endless if I could be bothered to keep thinking.

What I’m getting at is the simple question as to whether it is better to have a few years blazing as a bright star and then go back to obscurity, or to never get there at all?

Kurgan in the  film “Highlander” summed it up best when he called out in a church

“I have something to say! It’s better to burn out than to fade away!”

The burnouts like Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain, Winehouse et al never had to watch their careers go down the toilet and never had to suffer the indignity of tumbling all the way back to earth with a bump.

Mind you they had to die to avoid that.

“Here we come in a cloud stars in our eyes
Standing up proud it’s the perfect disguise
We’ve got so much to give, so much to gain
Just give me your money, and I’ll give you my pain
It’s a fair exchange”

Ciao For Now And Say Sorry To Bill Nelson (I borrowed his lyrics)




  1. Len Bennett is also dead mate. He ran a burger stall on Blackpool beach front for many years after fame, then he died. Fame is just another drug that kills some people quickly and others it drags it out into mediocrasy and obscurity before killing you. It always has the same effect… liek life in general, death. Die on a high and you’re a legend, die at the low and you’re pathetic, sad and people go ‘aaaaahh’

    Just gimme the money and to hell with fame. I’ll spend it better and still die, I’m sure of that!

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