As you can imagine, the sudden and unexpected death of Michael Nesmith yesterday threw any number of plans sideways last night as I scrambled to get something of substance posted before bedtime.
We expect to see many more comments in the days to come ... but wanted to get some of this posted yet this afternoon so fans still have enough advance notice to see it.
For starters, Me-TV will be offering a 4-episode Monkees block tomorrow (Sunday, December 12th) as a tribute to the late Mike Nesmith, who passed away on Friday at the age of 78. (How cool that three of those four episodes are the ones I mentioned in my memoriam piece Friday night! I still love the episode when Michael takes on The Devil in a court of law to prove that Peter could play the harp on his own … but that probably is more of a Petercentric episode in the long run.)
More details below as to when to tune in. (kk)
The singer-guitarist was 78. Watch a special tribute to Nesmith with four episodes of The Monkees this Sunday at 2P | 1C. The episodes include "I Have a Little Song Here," "Monkee Mayor," "The Monkees in Texas," and Nesmith's personal favorite episode, "Fairy Tale."
Then, next weekend (beginning at Noon Eastern on Saturday, December 18th) The Decades Channel will run EVERY episode of The Monkees television series ... all 58 of them ... straight through 6 am on Monday, December 20th.
You can check the schedule here to find your favorite episodes. (kk)
Much as I suspected, Michael Nesmith was determined to finish The Monkees’ Farewell Tour no matter what … one final, last harrah.
Micky Dolenz told Rolling Stone Magazine:
Despite his condition, you could never, never have talked him out of the tour. We had every opportunity to stop the tour. You don’t need any excuses these days. We had the option all the time to cancel dates, and we did cancel a couple for various reasons. We could have canceled more, but he was absolutely determined to finish that tour.
The last show of the tour is pretty much a blur to me. Our last conversation probably took place that night, but I don’t recall it specifically. We did hug that night on the stage. And the whole tour was very emotional for me. I knew it was pretty unlikely that, for whatever reason, we’d ever be doing this again. That was both our attitudes for us. We went out with flair.
I don’t really see myself as the last Monkee, but it’s the end of an era. That’s for sure. That’s what happens. None of us are going to get out of this alive.
Still, this loss really hits home with me. It was The Monkees that made me want to play music. By the time they came along, the music of The Beatles had changed, becoming more sophisticated and studio oriented. In fact (although we didn’t know it at the time), The Beatles played their last live show just three weeks before The Monkees premiered on television. It was a lot easier for me as a 13 year old to relate to the happy and catchy tunes of The Pre-Fab Four at the time than it was to try and follow along the new mystic ways of the band that inspired them. (C’mon … The Beatles were growing mustaches for God’s sake!!!)
So yes, the closing of the gap affected me greatly with the passing of Nez.
I’ve been listening to Monkees music ever since. (And by that I mean even more so than I used to!) I wore those first four albums out in 1967! (And I can’t tell you how many copies … or how many configurations … I’ve gone thru since!)
Thank you all for the music you gave us … it totally shaped my life in my all-time favorite year in music. (kk)
You can relive 1967, day by day, in our Forgotten Hits tribute here:
[Just continue to click the NEWER POST link at the bottom of each page and it will take you, day by day, thru our 1967 tribute]
Thanks for your piece on Michael Nesmith ... I loved reading your words!
I ran into a neighbor this morning with whom I often have music conversations. He was 11 when The Monkees TV show premiered in 1966. When I mentioned Mike Nesmith's passing, he asked me who that was. When I told him, the first thing out of his mouth was "Oh, I never paid them much attention, they were just actors who didn't play their own instruments." What do you do with people like that? Besides send them a link to Forgotten Hits, which I did just now.
If a musical act is judged by the number of smiles it's put on my face, then The Monkees rank as Number One. Their music is only "bad" (as that 1967 article reports Mike saying) if one doesn't have an ear for melody, harmony, hooks, and first-rate production and instrumentation. Throw in some pretty deft wordplay and (especially in Mike's case when he took songwriting duties) --profundity--and you've got first rate material on those first five albums.
I don't love ALL of Nesmith's post-Monkee material, but there is much to appreciate there and I loved showcasing The First National Band when I had my radio show.
Kent, your last paragraph before "We love you" summed up my feelings beautifully so I won't repeat your wonderful words except to say thank you.
Now when do we talk about that Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony???
Another VERY timely mention ...
(Unfortunately, it may already have aired by the time you see this ... but we're running it anyway just in case)
Chuck Buell here on a Big Football Game and a Big Forgotten Hit.
Creedence Clearwater Revival founder and Army Veteran, John Fogerty, will play his song, "Fortunate Son," with the U.S. Army's Six-String Soldiers band as part of "Songs of Service," a 30-minute TV Musical Special scheduled to air on select CBS stations TODAY, after the Army-Navy football game.
As Forgotten Hitters know, the song became an anthem for young men who didn't have the class or educational background that allowed them to skip military service during the Vietnam War era. Interestingly, because Fogerty was a bit “pissed off” about that situation, he became inspired one day to write "Fortunate Son," which he completed in about twenty minutes.
The special is confirmed to air in the New York City and Philadelphia CBS stations. If you live elsewhere, check your local listings. You also can watch the show on the “We Are The Mighty” YouTube Channel.
CB ( which stands for “Creedence Boy!” )