The Monkees & More – Billboard

If you want someone to tap into the virtues of the late Mike Nesmith as a musician, look no further than the man who has stood by him on stage for decades and a half.

“Nes is a great musician, always has been,” said Monkees mate Micky Dolenz, who most recently toured with Nesmith as The Monkees Presenting Mike & Micky Show and who released the album. this early year. Dolenz Sings Nesmith. “You have to credit him; He wrote great stuff from the start. He was ahead of several other country’s electric rock entities. He was way ahead of them in that kind of sound. He did that job in the ’60s, and I don’t think he ever got as much credit as he should have as a singer-songwriter. ”


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Nesmith – person die friday (December 10) aged 78 for natural causes – certainly in part thanks to his ability to write throughout his life and even deliver a huge hit, “Other Drum” to Linda Ronstadt and her band the Stone Poneys. Directing 15 albums in addition to his Monkees work, Nesmith has more high-profile material than most casual fans realize. Here are dozens of works that best speak to his unrecognized acumen as a composer.

“Mary, Mary”

The 1966 track has a long and winding road, first recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. east West album in 1966 at the suggestion of producer Barry Friedman as a hit single. The Monkees also had a breakthrough on the song, recording a more polished version in Hollywood with members of the Wrecking Crew for More Monkees album in 1967. It was a huge success in other countries (top 5 in Australia), but was not released as a single in the US – save for a box of cut out cereal in 1969. It also was heard in five episodes for the first time. season of Monkeys. Of course, Run-DMC has taken it for a hit since 1988 Tougher Than Leather album, with some new lyrics and sampling of some of Micky Dolenz’s vocals.

“Different Drums”

Nesmith has been writing the song since 1964, and it was recorded by the Greenbriar Boys in 1966. Monkees fans heard a bit about it on the December 19, 1966 episode of the show. Monkeys TV show, but it was rejected by the group’s producers. Nesmith gave it to the Stone Poneys, who made it the 13th hit on the Billboard Hot 100 the following year. Nesmith, meanwhile, returns to the song for his 1972 solo album And the visits just keep coming, adding an additional sentence not found in the Stone Poneys version.

“Sweet Young Thing”

Writing in New York, Carole King and Gerry Goffin have been in the Monkees camp since the beginning thanks to music supervisor Don Kirshner. Nesmith had to collaborate with the pair on this quick (under two minutes) psychedelic song from their 1966 debut album. monkeys, for which he also provides a lead vocal.

“Sunny Girlfriend”

Nesmith overcame the Monkees’ gatekeepers to include five songs as a writer or co-writer on the group’s third album. Headquarters. This is the best of the bunch, a powerful country-music gem that fits every format Americana right now.

“Listen to the band”

Nesmith’s brass song featured in the 1969 TV special 33 1/3 spins per Monkee and on that year’s album, The current Monkees – the first group as a trio after Peter Tork left the band. Recorded in Nashville, it was the first time Nesmith’s vocals were featured on Part A of the single Monkees, and the song peaked at number 63 on the Hot 100. It was also Nesmith and Dolenz’s penultimate song. perform on their 2021 farewell tour ending November 14 at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

“The Round Sky”

Monkeys’ The head is consumed in component parts more easily than the psychedelic whole and only its semi-sensory. But this Nesmith contribution to the soundtrack stands out no matter how it is heard or seen; it was a raw and urgent lo-fi rocker, like anything coming out in New York or Detroit at the time. A more polished (but not as pretty) version can be found on Monkees’ 1996 reunion album Justus, too.


A beautiful piece for Nesmith – a track from the same album Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (Uncle Charlie and Teddy the dog) including “Mr. Triangle. “That ensemble’s harmonious convergence served for the cleverly interwoven love song (“I’ve known you for a long time / But I’ve just begun to care”), and Nesmith has produced versions of on an anthology of solo compilations over the years.


Nesmith and his First Country Band hit number 21 with this tearful 1970 country ballad, the group’s second single. Magnetic male album. The airy, mid-tempo track is characterized by Nesmith’s soulful vocals, which extend towards the edge of the yodeling, as well as the steel pedals of OJ “Red” Rhodes. It was a key concert for the group and Nesmith, and Andy Williams performed it the same year on Andy Williams concert album.

“Silver Moon”

Nesmith and the First Country Band had a bit of a boost in 1970, after “Joanne” with a second consecutive single (#42) was more upbeat than its predecessor. Taken from the group Hello loose album, “Silver Moon” has a light Tejano flavor drawn from Houston-born Nesmith’s Texas roots.

“Marie’s Theme”

The conceptual conundrum of Nesmith’s 1974 ambitious multimedia work Prison second only to Monkees’ The head for his invulnerability and certainly moved from the country-rock path he was following with the First Country Band. However, “Marie’s Theme” is closest to the course – a gently melodious and vividly drawn country folk character portrait that, at the end of the album, is almost sublime.


This upbeat rock track appeared on Nesmith’s 1979 solo album Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma but better known as part of his Grammy Award winning Parts of an elephant video, putting some flesh on the characters of Lucy, Ramona and Sunset Sam.

“I know what I know”

Nesmith released versions of this stinging love song as downloads from his website before it appeared on Monkees acclaim. Good time! The 2016 album, still in spare form, features only the late Adam Schlesinger on synthesizer strings on piano, bass, guitar and Chamberlin. It is said simply (“I know what I know / I see what I see / I love what I love / It is you that I love”) and direct, with a sweet short-tempered flaw. distinct from the highly produced power pop music. energy of the rest of the group’s last studio album.

https://www.billboard.com/music/rock/mike-nesmith-songwriter-best-songs-1235008259/ The Monkees & More – Billboard

Dais Johnston

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