Almanac Obituary: Vale Mike Nesmith





Like most teenagers in the 1960s, I loved The Monkees although, to be fair, they never usurped The Beatles as my absolute favourite group. The Monkees may have been contrived for US television but that doesn’t mean they weren’t talented. Sure, they would have been extensively promoted but they did sell squllions of records.


And among the foursome, Mike Nesmith was my favourite – the somewhat quieter, slightly less zany one with the woollen cap. I just thought that he was cool. So it was saddening this morning to wake up to the news that Nesmith has passed away at age of 78.


The closest I ever got to The Monkees was in 1969 when I spent a weekend in country Kingaroy attending the annual convention of the Lutheran Youth of Queensland. It just so happened that at that very same time, The Monkeemobile was in town as part of a promotional blitz to boost both the group and its TV series.


But back to Nesmith. Although he was a significant contributor to The Monkees, it was actually his later songs that stick with me.  ‘Rio’ is regarded by many as the first pop film clip. If so, what a way to start. And, again, the mood is cool; the zany is the play on Reno and Rio towards the end of the song.



Then there was ‘Joanne’, a beautiful ballad to tear at the heartstrings. 


To be honest, I don’t know a lot more about what happened in the subsequent years of his life but this now almost septuagenerian remembers with great fondness the band and those two songs, more of the soundtrack of my youth.


RIP Mike Nesmith.


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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at


  1. Genius. A hero of mine. Only thing more beautiful than Linda in this song is the lyrics and the chord changes. 1964. Where did he get this from? Hank Williams and Don Gibson met Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline on a dark night……….

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Nesmith wrote some surprisingly very good songs especially ‘Different Drum’ which introduced the world to the fantastic Linda Ronstadt, and ‘Some of Shelly’s Blues’ by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I think he also wrote a very trippy psychedelic number for the Monkees I can’t remember the name of. Only Circus Boy left!

  3. Richard Griffiths says

    Nice piece. He was living in his car with his first wife when he was told he had won the part in a new sitcom inspired by The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night. And of course his mother invented liquid paper and left a $50m inheritance to Mike. Rio cost around $3m to produce and is regarded as the video clip that prompted MTV. He formed the First National Band in the early 70’s and later focused on film production and wrote a couple of books. He had heart surgery a couple of years ago and was touring with Micky Dolenz up till only a few weeks ago.

    Two Beatles and 1 Monkee left.

    RIP Mike Nesmith.

  4. roger lowrey says

    Great memories Ian. Agree with you about the Beatles for sure. But The Monkees had their own space as it were. RDL

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