I'm sure you already know that Davy Jones died a few weeks ago. There's been a lot of rehashing lately about whether the Monkees were a "serious" musical group. Of course they were made-for-TV, but they had an amazing production team and wonderful songwriters providing their music. And yes, they were cute and had that "something" that made them so popular. None were particularly great singers, but then, plenty of successful singers aren't. A good voice helps, but rock music isn't opera.
For a child of the Sixties (late Fifties, actually), Davy's death was a sad moment. I can't remember a time I wasn't crazy about some group, beginning with these guys:
For a six-year-old, it was a jaw-dropping moment for me. I fell in love with Paul McCartney that night, but more than that, their music. I scraped pennies together to buy my first album, Sergeant Pepper's. From then on, I spent much of my spare time by my turntable, studying the lyric sheets and other inserts that used to come inside the album jackets (ah, those were the days).
So it's no wonder that many of my stories contain musical elements of some kind. Whether the hero's a musician, as in Surfacing or Rock Bottom, or simply a musical reference, as in Dancing With the Devil in which the heroine's favorite band is Foo Fighters, music adds an extra dimension to any story. It's a character insight and provides atmosphere equal to the setting.
More personally, it's an element I can't live without. I'm so glad for stations like WXPN, which features new musicians I might never otherwise hear about. And YouTube, which lets me wax nostalgic about the old days and relive that innocence.
Let me add my farewell and thanks to Davy and the rest of the Monkees, who made life a little brighter, and made it okay to be a daydream believer.
What music has influenced your life? Does it influence your writing as well?