It’s somewhat ironic that the anniversary of Davy Jones’ death on Feb. 29 comes around another anniversary of a stepping stone in his young career back in 1965. Starting in late January of that year, Billboard magazine ran a series of four ads by his record company, Colpix, designed to create some suspense to introduce their up-and-coming new British star, who had just released his first single. The ads, which asked “Who Is David Jones?,” started out small and got bigger and revealed more each week as new ones appeared.
The first one appeared in the Jan. 30, 1965 issue. The small ad only showed his eyes and the question. The next ad, on Feb. 6, expanded the picture to show his full face, in a picture similar to the one on the cover of his first album – but not his eyes. The Feb. 13 ad revealed his full face and featured the question, but nothing else.
The final ad on Feb. 20, 1965, told the story. For this one, the record company took out a full page in the magazine. “David Jones is the British teen-age sensation – the ‘Artful Dodger’ of the Broadway and London productions of ‘Oliver!,’ the text began. “David Jones is already a teen-age favorite – his fan club membership is in the thousands and he has been featured in teen magazines reaching hundreds of thousands!”
Then came the real reason for the ads. “David Jones’ first record is on Colpix – an exciting new single now breaking nationally!” The record, numbered CP 764, was “Dream Girl” backed with “Take Me to Paradise.” “Dream Girl” is a catchy pop song with a very young sounding Davy backed by strings and showing some of the later vocal talent he would be known for in the future. However, the flip side of the disc, “Take Me to Paradise,” was a poorly produced ballad with his voice almost smothered by orchestration.
The record did not make the Billboard charts. It wasn’t until August with “What Are We Going To Do?” as the A side and “This Bouquet” on the flip side that Jones made any kind of a dent on the charts, but it was short-lived. The song’s chart run lasted just three weeks and the record rose to only #93. (All four songs are on the 2011 CD issue of his first album, “David Jones” released by Friday Music.)
But things were about to turn around quickly and in a very very big way. Just over a year later, in September, 1966, with Davy as a member of the Monkees, the group released their first single, “Last Train to Clarksville.” And the rest, for Davy, was history. Certainly, no one was asking, “Who Is David Jones?”