Gospel Soundcheck

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Greetings, dear Beliefnet readers! It’s been a while since I posted – I’m kind of in limbo right now with entertainment writing, as I’ve made the move to animals and faith. You can read more on my personal blog,Notes From The Funny Farm and follow some fun stuff on my dog Bandit’s  blog.

I missed sharing my thoughts on Whitney Houston, but today something happened that profoundly affects me in a personal way: Davy Jones died.

Seriously, this is big news for a girl who was born in the 60s.

Of my earliest childhood entertainment memories, The Monkees are at the front of the line (followed very closely by “That Girl” and Carol Burnett, but that’s a story for another day).

In fact, as a child I got to meet The Monkees. How’s that for cool? (And possibly where the seeds for my entertainment writing stint were sown? We’ll never know, will we.)

The Monkees had flown into the Rochester, NY airport. It was maybe 1967 and I was maybe three-years-old, but I was old enough for the memory to be imprinted on my brain. I knew where we were going and who we were going to see. There was a crowd, and I remember being at the fence as the guys got off the plane – this was back when people got off the plane and walked around on the tarmac.

And then they came over to us, and I remember being scared. One of them had a beard and was carrying a movie camera and had it pointed as the crowd; my mom thinks it was Mickey. Someone – she thinks Davy Jones – wanted to reach over the fence to hold me and I started screaming like a baby.

Well, I pretty much was still a baby!

My mom thinks there may be a slide photo of the moment somewhere in the cases and cases of projector carousels I have stored in my spare bedroom that date back to the early 60s. (Yes, Kodak holds a special place in our hearts here in Rochester, and in our personal photo albums. It’s more than the decline of a company as Kodak gets out of the picture business; it’s the end of an era of memory-making. But I digress.)

Watching the video clip of the opening and closing credits from “The Monkees”, I realize how much pop culture really does shape our lives. It can be for good or bad – methinks today’s music falls on the bad side of the spectrum. The very bad side.

But in this case, it was good. Very bubble gum, pop rock, innocent cutesy, let’s try and walk like The Monkees because it’s fun kind of good. Super innocent, puppy love, Marcia Brady falls in love with Davy Jones kind of good.

It probably won’t surprise you that from The Monkees I graduated to The Osmonds.

My sister and I reminisced today about seeing The Osmonds in concert – I was seven years old, I’m pretty sure. My dad took me and my sister, and my cousins came in from Pittsfield to see the show with a guy named Ernie who was dating their mom. I remember sitting on my father’s shoulders to see over the crowd; I remember the openning act – Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods, of ” One Is The Loneliest Number” – and that my dad bought me a life sized poster of Donny Osmond that hung on the back of my bedroom door until it fell apart.

Sigh. Innocent pop music. Those were the days.

Today is a sad day. Rest in peace, Davy Jones. And thanks for the memories!

PS: My dad just called. He now lives in Pennsylania and he’d forgotten until he saw the local news tonight that Davy Jones actually lived in Middleburg, PA, just up the road half hour from where he is in Milton. Who would have guessed? See, your childhood never really goes too far away, does it? They’re going to have a celebration this weekend. Wish I could make the trip; it would be fun to have another Monkees moment, even if it is a sad one.

Tonight was the final performance episode of this first season of The X Factor in the US, and what a way to end the competition. The three finalists – Josh Krajcik, Chris Rene, and Melanie Amaro – pulled out all of the stops for their final performances.

First, each performed a duet with a star, Josh with Alanis Morrisette, Chris with Avril Lavigne, and Melanie with R Kelly. While they were all good, only Melanie really looked at home singing with a star. (Although LA Reid, in typical fashioned, criticized her.)

Then the contestants each sang one final song. While Josh sang well, Chris and Melanie really connected with their songs – tears from them, the judges, their fans back at home via satellite.

If I had to make a prediction, I’d say Melanie and Chris will be the last two standing, but which one takes home the prize is a toss us. Talent-wise, Melanie wins, but both have such compelling stories, make fans feel so connected, and have so much to offer not only musically but emotionally and spiritually, that either could be the last singer standing.

What do you think? Which contestant will take home the prize? We’ll find out tomorrow on the results show!


Rock fans and women around the world are breathing a collective sigh of relief: Jon Bon Jovi is not dead. Despite rumors of his demise, the charming rock legend is alive and well.

It appears to have started with a fake blog post reporting that Bon Jovi suffered cardiac arrest. However at a little after 7:00 PM, this photo was posted on the official Bon Jovi band Facebook page, with the status update, “‘Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey’ -jbj. Rest assured that Jon is alive and well! This photo was just taken.”

The news did give the Twittersphere an opportunity to have some fun at the rocker’s expense:

@Scott Nevins – “Just to clarify: Jon Bon Jovi did NOT die but Kim Jong ll did. I can see how people could be easily confused…”

@Aaron Sagers – “OK people, just to recap: Kim Jong Il is dead. Jon Bon Jovi is NOT dead. And in case you’re really behind, Mark Twain is definitely dead.”

@SketchofMD  – “Jon Bon Jovi isn’t dead and everybody born after 1989 is asking “Who’s Jon Bon Jovi?”

@mtabini – “Jon Bon Jovi reported alive. His good music is still reported missing.”

@ScuzzTV – “Jon Bon Jovi cannot be killed by conventional weapons. Also, don’t get him wet or feed him after midnight.”

And this tweet, which sums up the impact social networking has on pop culture:

@jonpyle – “What does it say about news that when I saw someone post that Jon Bon Jovi was dead, the first place I went to verify was Twitter.”