Michael Nesmith of The Monkees has died at age 78.
His family issued a statement that says, "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 and Micky Dolenz just played the last date of their Monkees farewell tour on November 14th.
- Nesmith was born was born in Houston, Texas on December 30, 1942.
- He, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Davy Jones came together for the TV show The Monkees in 1966, and went from being a fictional band to one that eventually made an album just by themselves.
- Nesmith's songwriting credits outside the Monkees included "Different Drum," which became a hit by Linda Ronstadt with the Stone Poneys.
- Nesmith inherited a substantial fortune in 1980 when his mother, Liquid Paper inventor Bette Nesmith Graham, died.
- Nesmith was also a music video pioneer and won the first Grammy Award given for Video of the Year for his hour-long television show, Elephant Parts.
- Nesmith is survived by his three children from his first wife Phyllis-- Christian, Jonathan and Jessica, and another son, Jason.
Air Force veteran Nesmith was a struggling songwriter in Los Angeles when he caught the eye of an ad looking for "Folk & Roll musicians-singers for acting roles in a new TV series" in September 1965. Nesmith auditioned wearing his wool green hat that would become an iconic part of his character during The Monkees two seasons on TV.
Nesmith was the only Monkee to get a songwriting credit on the group's self-titled debut album, which spent 13 weeks at number-one before being knocked off by their second album, More of The Monkees.
Nesmith clashed with show's music supervisor Don Kirshner about wanting more control on their albums, which led to Kirshner being ousted. The four Monkees ended up playing and writing much of the material on their third album, 1967's Headquarters. The group made two more albums before the series was canceled in 1968. Later that year they made their feature film debut in Head.
Nesmith departed for a solo career after 1969'sThe Monkees Present. He formed the pioneering country-rock act the first First National Band and scored his lone Top 40 solo hit, "Joanne," in 1970.
Nesmith continued to release solo albums through the 1970s and eventually started a multimedia company called Pacific Arts. Nesmith also had success with a video for a song called "Rio," which inspired him to create program called PopClips for the Nickelodeon cable network. When the network was sold to Time Warner/Amex, the company used PopClips as a template for the MTV network.
Nesmith won the first Grammy given for long-form music video in 1982 for his hour-long Elephant Parts special. He later produced the music videos for Lionel Richie's "All Night Long" and Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel".
Nesmith didn't join his three Monkees bandmates on their 20th anniversary tour in 1986 until their very last date in Los Angeles. In 1996 the four original members released an album called Justus and he wrote and directed a Monkees television special, Hey, Hey, It's the Monkees. The group briefly toured the U.K. in 1997 before Nesmith left again.
After Davy Jones died In 2012, Nesmith rejoined Dolenz and Tork for a series of tours, which led to a reunion album in 2016 called Good Times and the 2018 holiday album Christmas Party. After Tork died in 2019, Dolenz and Nesmith paired up for a series of shows that led into the duo's farewell tour in the fall of 2021.
Source: Variety and Premiere