The Monkees‘ Michael Nesmith has died aged 78, his family have confirmed.
“With Infinite Love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes,” his family said in a statement.
Nesmith was part of the original lineup of the made-for-American-TV group that hit the airwaves in 1966 at the height of Beatlemania until their first breakup in 1970 alongside Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. Nesmith was the group’s guitarist, and also one of its songwriters, penning the likes of ‘The Girl I Knew Somewhere’, ‘Listen to the Band’ and ‘Mary, Mary’.
In the years since, Nesmith was involved sporadically in various Monkees reunions. He also played with country-rock group First National Band and released music under his own name.
Nesmith’s last show was in November of 2021 at LA’s Greek Theatre as part of a Monkees farewell tour with Micky Dolenz, who is now the sole-surviving member of the group following the deaths of Jones in 2012 and Tork in 2019.
Taking to Twitter, Dolenz wrote: “I’m heartbroken. I’ve lost a dear friend and partner. I’m so grateful that we could spend the last couple of months together doing what we loved best – singing, laughing, and doing shtick. I’ll miss it all so much. Especially the shtick. Rest in peace, Nez. All my love, Micky”
I’ve lost a dear friend and partner.
I’m so grateful that we could spend the last couple of months together doing what we loved best – singing, laughing, and doing shtick.
I’ll miss it all so much. Especially the shtick.
Rest in peace, Nez.
All my love,
— Micky Dolenz (@TheMickyDolenz1) December 10, 2021
Monkees manager Andrew Sandoval confirmed the death on social media, writing: “It is with deep sadness that I mark the passing of Michael Nesmith. We shared many travels and projects together over the course of 30 years, which culminated in a Monkees farewell tour that wrapped up only a few weeks ago.
“That tour was a true blessing for so many. And in the end I know that Michael was at peace with his legacy which included songwriting, producing, acting, direction and so many innovative ideas and concepts. I am positive the brilliance he captured will resonate and offer the love and light towards which he always moved.”
“Nez expressed the highest part of his being through his voice. And you could get no closer to him then through knowing his work. May all those who loved him feel his comfort at this time – just listen and he will be there for you.”
View more tributes from artists and other industry professionals below.
RIP legendary coolcat Mike Nesmith, much more than the Monkee with the hat. He was a brilliant songwriter, solo artist, video visionary, inventor of MTV, producer of REPO MAN & more besides! Here's CIRCLE SKY, a belter of a Nesmith number from cult classic HEAD. Farewell genius. pic.twitter.com/wLp2BOg0xR
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) December 10, 2021
My first big artistic hero, Mike Nesmith. He’s a big part of who I am. It’s love you bring, no that I can’t deny. With your wings, you helped me learn to fly. Sweet Young Mike Nesmith. pic.twitter.com/10NTUoT2CG
— Penn Jillette (@pennjillette) December 10, 2021
I’m sorry to hear about Mike Nesmith. The Monkees had some great songs, those were fun days. Love & Mercy to Mike’s family and friends, Brian pic.twitter.com/bqJHBpb7il
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) December 10, 2021
R.I.P. Michael Nesmith. A great songwriter and singer, a true American original, and a very funny guy. And his final performances were truly mesmerizing.
— Neil Hamburger (@NeilHamburger) December 10, 2021
So fortunate to have seen The Monkees’ final show less than a month ago. RIP to Mike Nesmith, a legendary songwriter and underrated pioneer of the country rock genre. pic.twitter.com/mRp93ykBmr
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) December 10, 2021
RIP Michael Nesmith. He was my first boss. I was young and insubordinate. He was bemused and patient. Later we became great friends. He had no fear of death.
— John Levenstein (@johnlevenstein) December 10, 2021
RIP Michael Nesmith. Remember being stunned years back when I read that he once asked concertgoers to stay absolutely silent at the end if they’d enjoyed themselves. Imagine that…
— Ian Rankin (@Beathhigh) December 10, 2021
WOW! Sometimes it's hard to know why someone's passing hits you a certain way but this is another one that hit me. I watch my world change as people that I thought to be timeless pass on, and that is sobering. Lives end and life goes on. RIP Mike Nesmith. https://t.co/AzeMLLe96F
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) December 10, 2021