Mike Nesmith, the great singer songwriter of the Monkees, died this morning at age 78. His family said it was from natural causes but when Mike appeared with Micky Dolenz last month at New York’s Town Hall he was not well, and you could tell it was taking all of his energy to perform this Farewell Tour.
Mike wrote some of the Monkees songs during the group’s tenure but his most famous was a hit for Linda Ronstadt. “Different Drum” was about a woman who wanted to go her own way, but that was Nesmith himself. He marched to a different drum, separating himself from the Monkees legacy as much as he could and not appearing on many reunion tours or albums.
It was only this fall that Nesmith surprisingly went out on tour with Micky, the only other remaining member of the group. But he’d inherited a fortune from his mother in 1980. She was the inventor of Liquid Paper, which for decades before word processors was the only way to make corrections on documents. He used the money to invest in cool movies and stay above the fray.
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 Dolenz (@TheMickyDolenz1) December 10, 2021
Last year, Dolenz recorded a new album called “Dolenz Sings Nesmith,” with Mike’s son Christian producing, to showcase his catalog of songs. The album received rave reviews.
People of a certain age will always have an affection for the Monkees. They burst onto the scene in the mid 60s as a TV show about a struggling pop group in a style fashioned after the Beatles’ “A Hard Days Night.” They weren’t supposed to play their own instruments, but it turned out they could and eventually did. They were also gifted pop singers.
In the series, Mike had a carefully aloof attitude, always wearing a knit cap and a goofy grin, He wasn’t the leading man like Micky Dolenz or the boytoy like Davy Jones and wasn’t the shy guy like Peter Tork. He held himself out as kind of the egg head, maybe a little wiser than the rest. What a shame that he’s gone but what a gift he gave the fans by forcing himself to overcome health issues and do one victory lap before he left.
Our mutual friend, Sam Moore, of Sam & Dave, sent this: