29 February

Pick a Day

29 FEBRUARY

In Music History

2012 A man is found dead outside of a house owned by rapper Rick Ross. The Miami Herald reports that Gregory Paul Nesbitt, 39, was shot to death outside of Ross' Miami Gardens mansion. Although Ross used the house to record and to house guests, the rapper was not home at the time of the incident. Police say Nesbitt is known to them but did not speculate on why the victim would be on Ross' property.

1996 Producer Wes Farrell, writer of "Hang On Sloopy," dies of cancer at age 56.

1980 Oscar Holder, a theatre pianist from Nottingham, marries Janice Rigley. He is 63; she is 19!

1976 Ja Rule is born Jeffrey Atkins in Queens, New York.

1972 John Lennon's US visa expires, sparking a four-year fight for immigrant status.

1940 Pop singer Gretchen Christopher (of The Fleetwoods) is born in Olympia, Washington.

1916 Dinah Shore is born Frances Rose Shore in Winchester, Tennessee. She starts out as a successful singer in the Big Band era before becoming a popular TV host.

1904 Jazz musician and bandleader Jimmy Dorsey is born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, to a coal-mining family that includes older brother (and future bandleader) Tommy Dorsey.

Davy Jones Dies

2012

Monkees singer Davy Jones dies of a heart attack at age 66.


Jones spends the morning riding his favorite horse at a farm in Indiantown, Florida, when he experiences chest pains and difficulty breathing. By the time he makes it to a nearby hospital, he suffers a severe heart attack and dies, leaving behind four daughters and his (third) wife, Jessica. Jones made his acting debut in 1961 on the British soap opera Coronation Street and, after a brief foray into jockeying, shot to stardom with his Tony Award-winning performance as the Artful Dodger in the original Broadway production of Oliver! The Manchester-born teen appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, a move that sealed his fate thanks to the other guests that night: The Beatles. "I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that," Jones recalled. In 1965, he released his debut single, "What Are We Going To Do?," but his biggest break came the following year when The Monkees premiered on NBC. Inspired by the Beatles' 1964 comedic romp A Hard Day's Night, the sitcom – also starring Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork – followed the adventures of a group of wannabe rock stars. Jones was in charge of banging the tambourine and brought the Brit-pop influence on popular tunes such as the #1 hit "Daydream Believer." In the beginning, the Monkees were a manufactured band whose records were mostly made up of studio musicians, but they became very real when they took charge of their music with the chart-topping Headquarters in 1967. Riding high on Monkeemania, Jones continued to record with the group after the series ended its two-season run, but embarked on a solo career in 1971. That same year, Marcia Brady was desperate for the star to perform at her junior prom in the Brady Bunch episode "Getting Davy Jones." Jones showed up singing "Girl" and saved the day by asking Marcia to the dance. In syndication, "Getting Davy Jones" became the most rerun episode of any TV show, making Jones a perennial teen idol and "Girl" – a commercial flop – his most memorable solo single. Come 1986, MTV thrusted The Monkees back into the public consciousness when the network aired a Monkees marathon and created a whole new generation of fans. The group embarked on a reunion tour and the Billboard 200 welcomed six of their albums back to the chart. Decades later, they're still monkee-ing around as Dolenz and Tork join Jones on a successful 45th anniversary tour less than a year before his death. His bandmates react to his sudden passing, with Nesmith telling Rolling Stone, "For me, David was the Monkees. They were his band. We were his side men."

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