Michael Nesmith, best known for his time with The Monkees as a guitarist/singer-songwriter, has died. He was 78.
Nesmith’s death was confirmed to Rolling Stone in a statement from his family which reads, “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.”
Variety notes, “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.”
Nesmith was a member of The Monkees from 1965-1970, with The Monkees TV series airing on NBC for two seasons from 1966-1968. (The series won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1967.) Before joining the group, Nesmith made a name for himself as a songwriter famously penning “Mary, Mary” (recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in 1966 and later recorded by The Monkees in 1967) and two songs recorded by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys: “Different Drum” and “Some of Shelly’s Blues.”
Following his exit from The Monkees, Nesmith would form the First National Band, who would go on to be credited with paving the way for the country-rock genre.
In 1974, Nesmith founded The Pacific Arts Corporation, a media company most famous for creating PopClips, a music video program that aired weekly on Nickelodeon in 1980 and 1981. The show would help inspire the creation of MTV.
Coincidently, The Monkees would have a massive resurgence in popularity following a marathon of The Monkees on MTV in February 1986. Nesmith was an on-and-off guest when The Monkees reunited for their 20th anniversary and in the years that followed. He would become more of a presence when The Monkees toured following the death of singer Davy Jones in February 2012.