Friday 10 December 2021













Michael Nesmith, who attained TV and pop stardom in the Monkees and later became a prophetic figure on the Los Angeles country-rock scene and then a multimedia entrepreneur, died Friday of natural causes. He was 78.

Nesmith’s final show was less than a month ago, when he and the cohort who is now the Monkees’ only surviving member, Micky Dolenz, capped a farewell tour at L.A.’s Greek Theatre Nov. 14. The duo were booked for a cruise in early 2022 that was to have served as a truly final gig together.

Dolenz said in a statement: “I’m heartbroken. I’ve lost a dear friend and partner. 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. Rest in peace, Nez. All my love, Micky.”

The group’s and Nesmith’s manager, Andrew Sandoval, also spoke out on social media.

“It is with deep sadness that I mark the passing of Michael Nesmith. We shared many travels and projects together over the course of 30 years, which culminated in a Monkees farewell tour that wrapped up only a few weeks ago,” said Sandoval. “That tour was a true blessing for so many. And in the end I know that Michael was at peace with his legacy which included songwriting, producing, acting, direction and so many innovative ideas and concepts. I am positive the brilliance he captured will resonate and offer the love and light towards which he always moved.”

Lanky and laconic, with his head crowned by a trademark wool watch cap, Nesmith served as singer and guitarist, and sometime songwriter, for the Monkees, the Beatles-styled quartet assembled for NBC’s hit 1966-68 musical comedy series.

During their brief reign as TV stars, the “Pre-Fab Four” actually outdid their British inspirations commercially. Their first two albums, “The Monkees” and “More of the Monkees,” were back-to-back No. 1 LPs, holding the top of the chart for 31 consecutive weeks in 1966-67. The group logged two more No. 1 collections by the end of 1967.

Their hit 45s included three No. 1 singles, “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer” and “Daydream Believer,” and three other top-five entries, all of which were propelled by weekly exposure on their network show.


Michael attendance at "A Day in the Life" recording session on February 10, 1967.             



George Harrison with Michael in 1967.

Following the group’s implosion in 1969, Nesmith turned his full attention to country music.

Though none of his albums with the First National Band rose higher than No. 143 on the national charts, and the 1970 single “Joanne” (No. 21) was the group’s lone 45 to make a chart impression, Nesmith’s work of the period is mentioned in the same breath as such pioneering country-rock acts as the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

Beginning with “The Prison,” his 1975 “book with a soundtrack,” Nesmith increasingly envisioned his releases on his Pacific Arts label in multimedia terms. 

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, he was increasingly focused on his home video ventures, and only became active as a solo artist with latter-day releases on his Rio Records imprint. 

He began issuing new material as MP3 downloads via his Videoranch site.

Nesmith issued a memoir, “Infinite Tuesday,” in 2017.

Divorced three times, he is survived by three sons and a daughter. 



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