The Monkees’ Michael Nesmith 1942 – 2021

The renowned singer-songwriter was 78.

By Andy Kahn Dec 10, 2021 11:08 am PST

The Monkees guitarist Michael Nesmith died today at the age of 78. A statement was issued by Nesmith’s family, find it below:

“With Infinite Love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes. We ask that you respect our privacy at this time and we thank you for the love and light that all of you have shown him and us.”

Nesmith was born on December 30, 1942, in Houston. Nesmith’s mother amassed a multi-million dollar estate from having invented liquid paper. She died in 1979, leaving the extensive earnings to her son.

Nesmith played saxophone before picking up guitar. He spent time in the early-1960s enlisted in the United States Air Force. Nesmith then moved to Los Angeles and in 1965 auditioned for The Monkees television show. The made-for-TV band included Micky Dolenz and the late Peter Tork and Davy Jones. The Monkees’ released their first single, “Last Train To Clarksville,” in August 1966, which was soon followed by their self-titled debut album. Both the single and album topped their respective Billboard charts.

The television series premiered in September 1966. They released three #1 albums in 1967, More of the Monkees, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd.. Nesmith led a revolt during that period that resulted in the ousting of producer Don Kirshner and the band taking over creative control of the music they recorded.

The Monkees’ late-1960s output included such hit songs as “I’m A Believer,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Words,” “Daydream Believer,” and the Nesmith-written “The Girl I Knew Somewhere,” “Mary, Mary” and “Listen To The Band.” The final episode of The Monkees aired in March 1968.

That same year saw the release of Nesmith’s debut solo album, The Wichita Train Whistle Sings and Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys scoring a hit with Nesmith’s song, “Different Drum.” The members of The Monkees went their separate ways in the 1970s, as Nesmith established his solo group, Michael Nesmith & The First National Band.

In 1986, Nesmith joined the other three members of The Monkees on stage during the band’s 20th anniversary tour stop in Los Angeles. He joined Dolenz, Jones and Tork in 1996 to record the album, Justus.

In 2012, following Jones’ death at age 66, the surviving members of The Monkees came together for a reunion tour. Nesmith, Dolenz and Tork marked the 50th anniversary of The Monkees in 2016 by recording a new studio album, Good Times!, with late producer Adam Schlesinger. A final album, 2018’s holiday release, Christmas Party was also produced by Schlesinger. Peter Tork died in 2019 at age 78.

In recent years, Nesmith and Dolenz continued to honor the legacy of The Monkees. Their 2021 farewell tour commemorating 55 years of Monkeemania concluded on November 14 with a final performance held at The Greek Theater In Los Angeles.

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