Michael Nesmith, the Monkee for all seasons, dies at 78

LOS ANGELES — Michael Nesmith, the singer-songwriter, writer, actor-director and entrepreneur who will seemingly be greatest remembered as the wool-hatted, guitar-strumming member of the made-for-television rock band The Monkees, has died at 78.

Nesmith, who had undergone quadruple bypass surgical procedure in 2018, died at residence Friday of pure causes, his household mentioned in a press release.

Nesmith was a struggling singer-songwriter in September 1966 when “The Monkees” tv debut turned him and fellow band members Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and David Jones into in a single day rock stars.

After the group broke up in 1970, Nesmith moved on to an extended and artistic profession, not solely as a musician however as a author, producer and director of movies, writer of a number of books, head of a media arts firm and creator of a music video format that led to the creation of MTV.

Nesmith was running “hoot nights” at the in style West Hollywood nightclub The Troubadour when he noticed a commerce publication advert in search of “4 insane boys” to play rock musicians in a band modeled after the Beatles.

The present featured the comical misadventures of a quartet that tooled round Los Angeles in a tricked-out Pontiac GTO referred to as the MonkeeCellular and, once they weren’t chasing women, pursued music stardom.

Each episode rolled out two or three new Monkees songs, six of which grew to become Top 10 Billboard hits throughout the present’s two-year run. Three others, “I’m a Believer,” ″Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” reached No. 1.

Jones, together with his British accent and boyish beauty, was the group’s cute lead singer. Dolenz grew to become the wacky drummer, though he needed to be taught to play the drums as the present went alongside. Tork, a folk-rock musician, portrayed the comically clueless bass participant. Nesmith, together with his twangy Texas accent and the wool hat he’d worn to his audition, grew to become the critical however naive lead guitarist.

A prankster by nature, he’d arrived at the audition carrying a guitar and bag of soiled laundry he mentioned he deliberate to scrub instantly afterward. With a harmonica round his neck, he stormed right into a casting workplace, banging the door loudly. After pausing to gaze at a portray as if it had been a mirror, he sat down and instantly put his toes up on a desk.

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He received the job.

But he rebelled virtually instantly when producers advised him they had been going to name his character “Wool Hat.” He demanded they use his actual title, as they did with the different actors.

It can be the first of many confrontations Nesmith would have with producers throughout a tumultuous two-year run through which “The Monkees” received the 1967 Emmy for greatest comedy sequence.

Nesmith and Tork, the group’s two most achieved musicians, railed towards the program’s refusal to permit them to play their very own devices at recording classes. But when Nesmith revealed that truth to reporters, music critics rapidly turned on “The Monkees,” dismissing the present as a fraud and the band as the “Prefab Four,” a mocking reference to the Beatles’ nickname, Fab Four.

Nesmith, in the meantime, had written a number of songs he hoped to debut on the present, however virtually all had been dismissed by music producer Don Kirshner, as sounding too nation.

Among them was “Different Drum,” which (*78*) Ronstadt recorded in 1967 for her first hit single, validating to Nesmith his opinion that Kirshner, hailed by the pop music trade as “The Man With The Golden Ear,” didn’t know what he was speaking about.

Things got here to a head when all 4 Monkees demanded they take management of the music. They had been warned they’d be sued for breach of contract.

At that, Nesmith rose from his seat and smashed his fist by way of a wall, telling Kirshner it may have been his face.

For years Nesmith would refuse to verify or deny the incident, whilst the different three gleefully recounted it to reporters. In his 2017 memoir, “Infinite Tuesday,” he did acknowledge it, saying he’d misplaced his mood when he felt his integrity was being questioned.

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“It was an absurd second in so some ways,” he wrote.

It did give the Monkees management over their music, nonetheless, starting with the group’s third album, “Headquarters.”

After the present concluded in 1968 the band launched into a prolonged live performance tour the place members sang lots of their very own songs and performed their very own devices earlier than crowds of adoring followers. Jimi Hendrix was generally their opening act.

Following the band’s breakup Nesmith hardly ever rejoined the others for reunion excursions, main many to consider he disliked the band and the present, one thing he steadfastly denied.

“I actually loved being in the present. I actually loved working with Davy and Micky and Peter,” he advised Australian Musician journal in 2019.

It was, he would typically say, that he was just too busy doing different issues.

Over the years he recorded greater than a dozen albums and toured with the First National Band, the country-rock-folk group he assembled.

He wrote scores of songs, together with “Some of Shelly’s Blues,” “Papa Gene’s Blues,” You Just May Be the One” and “The Girl That I knew Somewhere” that he carried out with the Monkees. Others, carried out with the First National Band, included “Joanne,” “Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun to Care)” and “Different Drum.”

For the Monkees’ thirtieth anniversary he induced the others to reunite to report a brand new album, “Justus,” for which all 4 composed the songs and performed the devices. He additionally rejoined the others for a short tour and wrote and directed their 1997 TV reunion film, “Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees.”

Nesmith additionally wrote and produced the 1982 science-fiction film “Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann” and earned government producer credit on “Repo Man,” “Tape Heads” and different movies.

His 1981 comedy-music video “Elephant Parts” received a Grammy and led to “PopClips,” a sequence of music movies broadcast on the Nickelodeon cable community that in flip led to the creation of MTV.

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Nesmith even revealed two effectively acquired novels, 1998’s “The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora” and 2009’s “The America Gene.”

In 1999 he prevailed in a bitter courtroom battle with the Public Broadcasting System over royalties from a home-video deal his media firm, Pacific Arts, had struck with PBS. A federal jury awarded him $48 million, concluding the in style purveyor of kids’s reveals and documentaries had defrauded him.

Nesmith, exhibiting he hadn’t misplaced his Monkees humorousness, mentioned afterward: “It’s like catching your grandmother stealing your stereo. You’re glad to get your stereo again, however you’re unhappy to seek out out that Grandma’s a thief.”

Both sides agreed on an undisclosed settlement and Nesmith based one other firm, Videoranch.

After Jones died in 2012 he started to rejoin the Monkees extra ceaselessly, their concert events now incomes glowing critiques from critics. He attributed that to most of the group’s unique critics having died or retired.

Following Tork’s loss of life in 2019, Nesmith and Dolenz took on the title The Monkees Mike & Micky.

Robert Michael Nesmith was born Dec. 30, 1942, in Houston, Texas, the solely baby of Warren and Bette Nesmith.

His dad and mom divorced when he was 4 and his mom typically labored two jobs, as a secretary and painter, to assist her son and herself. It was that latter job that impressed her to whip up a typewriter correction fluid referred to as Liquid Paper in her kitchen blender. By the mid-Nineteen Seventies it had made her a fortune, which she ultimately left to her son and to nonprofit foundations she endowed to advertise ladies in business and the arts.

Her son, who was married and divorced thrice, is survived by 4 youngsters, Christian, Jason, Jessica and Jonathan.


Former Associated Press author John Rogers was the primary author on the story.

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