Thursday, September 14, 2023
Kenny Bilbrey and The Monkees
Everyone knows how much Kenny Bilbrey loved The Monkees (as does his brother). Kenny had told me recently that "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was his favorite Monkees song. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" was recorded on June 10, 1967, with Michael Nesmith on electric guitar, Peter Tork on piano, Micky Dolenz sang the lead part and played acoustic guitar, and Nesmith and Kenny's most favorite Monkee, Davy Jones, sang the harmony parts. The song, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, is about dissatisfaction with living in the suburbs.
"Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burnin' everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care"
Davy Jones, they say, was a very warm and caring person, just like his character on the show. Kenny and Kelly met him after a show in Indiana. Standing at the edge of the stage, the brothers yelled out "I love you!" and Davy replied that he loved them. It was a great moment in their lives. I know, because when they returned home, one of their first stops was at the radio station. Both of them had tears in their eyes as they described what they had experienced at the front of the stage. I interviewed them on the air and they kept the recording of it in Kelly's vehicle. More than once I could hear it blasting from the car if they saw me pass by or pull in to a restaurant or gas station where they were. Surely, their passion for The Monkees was unequaled.
Twenty-five years after the TV series finished its first run, Davy Jones recorded “Free (The Greatest Story Ever Told).” Kelly called me this morning (Thursday) and said this was Kenny's favorite Davy Jones song as a solo artist.
"All my life is just a stage i’m going through
The director has written lines for me and you
And we must act accordingly
All I know is this is the greatest story ever told
And we’ll never grow old
We just pan away, fade to light"
Kelly said Kenny would always say when he had seen or spoken to Randy "Specktacular," with strong emphasis on that last part. When I was running for city council, I gave him a campaign card. I reckon, from all accounts, he showed it all over town. It was one of the favorite things I did as a candidate.
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