RIP Mike Nesmith (1942-2021)

11th December 2021 · 2021, Music
Mike Nesmith

Mike Nesmith was the tall one with the long sideburns, the green bobble hat and the languid Texan drawl. And The Monkees were one of the first pop groups I loved.

Until I was in my teens I didn’t know much about pop music. But I had seen The Monkees on TV and enjoyed their larky capers – and their songs.

So I was mortified when the cool kids at school told me they were rubbish, and not a real group, and a cheap copy of The Beatles.

Well, I liked them, and to my eyes and ears they were a lot more fun.

Fun was an element notably absent from The Beatles, who seemed to take themselves far too seriously, at least when I came across them with dreary stuff like Let It Be.

I even saw them once (The Monkees, not The Beatles) when they re-formed in the 1990s, and played at Wembley Arena – the only time Mike Nesmith (the tall one with the green bobble hat, long sideburns and Texas drawl) took part in those reunion shows. And it was great.

So I was sad when I heard yesterday that Nesmith, widely regarded as the most musically accomplished of them, has become the third of the group to die, following Davey Jones and Peter Tork.

He was the one who persuaded the TV producer who put them together to let them actually play on their own recordings – eventually – and wrote several of the songs, including Mary Mary, which I’ve always liked.

He was also the first to make a solo album, as far back as 1968, and went on to make a string of country-rock albums that have stood the test of time. He also did this.