Grandfather of current boy bands, the group was created for an American TV series, but, after the end of attraction, continued doing success and shows.
Actor, singer and guitarist Michael Nesmith – who gained popularity in the 1960s by joining the American band Monkees – died this Friday, 10, at 78 years old. The information was confirmed by family members in an official statement. Nesmith died at home, surrounded by his family, of natural causes. Actor, singer and guitarist Michael Nesmith – who gained popularity in the 1960s by joining the American band Monkees – died this Friday, 10, at 78 years old. The information was confirmed by family, of natural causes.
The Monkees emerged as something of a boy band of old in a TV series of the same name in 1966. In the plot, a fledgling rock group sought an opportunity to showcase their music and become the new sensation in the United States, trying emulate the Beatles.
Today, a good benchmark is to look at artists like Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato or Miley Cyrus, who appeared in musical TV series and then pursued their careers on stage, with pop and light songs aimed at a young audience.
Created by the series’ producers, the fabricated band consisted of Mickey Dolenz, Peter Tork, Davy Jones, in addition to Nesmith. The project worked for a few years. The group even toured the country doing real shows. The television attraction, however, only lasted two seasons, with 58 episodes in total and two movies. It was the fights between the producers and the band members – who really wanted it to become a success – that brought the attraction to an end. Altogether, the band, in its short career – it broke up in 1971 – has sold more than 75 million copies worldwide.
Among the songs composed by Nesmith are hits such as Mary, Mary , Circle Sky , Listen to the Band and The Girl I Knew Somewhere . In an interview for the American edition of Rolling Stone magazine in 2021, Nesmith explained why the band wanted to compose their own material, despite those written by the producers. “We were kids with our own musical tastes and we were happier playing songs we liked – and/or wrote – than songs that were handed to us.”
After the demise of the Monkees, Nesmith formed a new country rock band, the First National Band, which enjoyed relative success and, ironically, helped pave the way for other country rock bands such as The Eagles. In the following years, he recorded other little-known solo albums.
In the 1980s, he inherited a fortune when his mother, Bette Nesmith Graham, the inventor of Liquid Paper, died. He used the money to invest in commercial ventures, but he never abandoned music – he even held several Monkees meetings, but he never repeated the success of the 1960s.