Singer and songwriter for The Monkees Michael Nesmith died December 10, 2021 in his Carmel Valley, California home as the result of natural causes less than three weeks before his 79th birthday.
He had had a quadruple bypass in 2018.
While best known for his wool hat, Nesmith was also an actor, director, author, and entrepreneur.
Nesmith joined Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones as a made for TV band “The Monkees”. The television sit com turned the lads into an overnight success. Originally, the stars of the show were not the musicians that fans heard on the music; but all that changed when Nesmith revealed the fact to the media.
The music became a major bone of contention between the band and Don Kirshner. A songwriter, Nesmith wanted to use some of his music on the show; Kirshner said no. But after Linda Rondstadt had a hit with the Nesmith song “Different Drum” Nesmith gained some credibility. After a threat from all four members of the band to walk out unless they could gain control of the music…and a show of violence from Nesmith – putting his hand through a wall and telling Kirshner it could have been his face – the band took over control of the music beginning with their album “Headquarters”.
After the show was cancelled, Michael, Peter, Davy, and Micky toured playing their own instruments and original music.
After the breakup of The Monkees, Nesmith went on to tour and record with his band The National Band and record over a dozen albums of his own.
Fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz is the only surviving member of the group. He and Nesmith had recently completed a tour together. Dolenz said, “I’m so grateful that we could spend the last couple of months together doing what we loved best – singing, laughing, and doing shtick. I’ll miss it all so much. Especially the shtick.”
After the breakup of The Monkees in 1970, Nesmith branched out beyond the music to become writer, producer, director, author, head of his own company, and an actor.
Along with the 57 episodes of “The Monkees”, Nesmith appeared in over a dozen productions including the music video for “The Beatles: A Day in the Life”, “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, “Saturday Night Live”, an undredited appearance as the Rabbi in “Repo Man”, and a 2014 episode of “Portlandia”.
He was born Robert Michael Nesmith on December 30, 1942 in Houston, Texas. He was an only child. A secretary and a painter, his mother is the inventor of the ever popular typewriter correction tool Liquid Paper. He spent 14 months in the United States Air Force.
Predeceased by bandmates Peter Tork and Davy Jones, Nesmith was married and divorced three times. He is survived by his children Christian, Jason, Jessica, and Jonathan.
feature photo credit: [[File:Monkees 05 (46759965214).jpg|Monkees_05_(46759965214)]]