"Eventually Peter and Mike, especially, wanted to write, play and record … or be behind the camera," Jones told a Springfield, Mass., newspaper earlier this year while on a solo tour. "But I just wanted to be in the show, fall in love twice in each episode and kiss the girls. I had no ambition to be Steven Spielberg or Cecil B. DeMille."
Still, Rafelson credited Jones for taking a vocal role in the group's efforts to take more control over their music and their careers.
Tork quit the band in 1968 and the Monkees continued briefly as a trio, then disbanded in 1970. Jones promptly resurfaced the following year with a guest appearance as himself in "Getting Davy Jones," one of the most celebrated episodes of "The Brady Bunch," in which Marcia Brady launched a campaign to persuade the teen idol to visit her school.
In the '80s the group had a resurgence sparked by a CD box set issued by the archival label Rhino Records, and that led to then-new MTV showing episodes of the original series that revived interest in the band. They have since done several reunion tours, usually without Nesmith, including a 45th anniversary round of shows last year that was cut short because of differences that cropped up among Jones, Dolenz and Tork.
Although he was comfortable with his highest-profile job, Jones sometimes worried that the Monkees' legacy would follow him for the rest of his life, which he spent acting in numerous TV shows, theatrical productions, and doing voiceover work for cartoons and animated features.
"My biggest fear, years ago, when I played Jesus in 'Godspell,' " he told a New Jersey newspaper last year, "was that I'd be dying on the cross one night and someone would yell out, 'Hey Davy! — Do 'Daydream Believer'!"
Jones also toured as a solo act, blending Monkees hits and his favorite musical theater songs, and he had performed most recently Feb. 19 in Oklahoma. He had a Southland date scheduled for March 31 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
"I try to be positive today in my life," Jones said earlier this year. "There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way."
He is survived by his third wife, Jessica Pacheco, four children from previous marriages and several grandchildren.
PHOTOS: Davy Jones | 1945-2012