Give it a try … listen only to the Mike Nesmith songs on the Monkees albums. Together they form a pretty damn good body of country-rock, don’t you think?
There’s absolutely no way Nesmith could ever have reached a mass audience with his music, but he was a genuinely talented songwriter who might well have managed to sell a hit or two to other artists, and earned himself a loyal cult audience.
But even though I like Nesmith, I think there are far more good Monkees songs than Nesmith solo songs. Yes, the Monkees were a phony, prefabricated band, but they had great pop songwriters and top-notch session musicians working for them. The results were usually fun to listen to.
I agree with the OP, and offer an example of a really good Mike Nesmith Monkees song: You Just May Be the One.
Or What Am I Doing Hanging 'Round? A Michael Murphy song, but they do it so well.
My favorite is “Listen to the Band” (I think that’s the title), which Nesmith wrote and sang lead on, iirc.
Nesmith certainly had country leanings. Joanne .
I find Joanne way too twangy for my tastes. Hang out and listen to the end where they interview Nesmith about Country. He claims that he doesn’t like twangy Country…
He did, even when he was with the Monkees (Click on “Different Drum”).
BTW, Nesmith was also executive producer of the film Repo Man.
His mother invented liquid paper.
The only people who put down the Monkees are those who weren’t around (or were the wrong age) to experience them in 1966. They were an excellent band. Nesmith was writing fine songs even on their first album. By the third album, they were playing all their instruments and writing most of the songs, with some good song selection from other fine writers.
Yes, of course, their popularity was enhanced by the tv show. But take all the American Idol winners combined and how do their post-show careers compare to what the Monkees accomplished by themselves, while doing two full seasons of a funny sitcom and touring in their off days? Every other group of the day would have been destroyed by that experience, and probably before the Monkees cratered.
Yeah, Nesmith was a talented country rocker, who had been in a group with Michael Murphy two years earlier. Peter was a talented folk musician who could play seven instruments. Davy was a lifelong actor and singer that the Powers that Be wanted to promote into stardom even before the Monkees. Mickey was a solid actor and comedian who picked up competent drumming as fast as anyone could given the circumstances.
Their first four albums are all still completely listenable to, and that will be true for how many of today’s bands in 40 years? You probably won’t need two hands to display all the fingers.
Check out this video of the song.
I just…have no idea. (totally work safe, just totally odd)
Not to mention Nesmith’s pioneering work in video - Elephant Parts.
My band is debating throwing “Carlisle Wheeling” or (more likely) “Pape Gene’s Blues” into the mix. Not that anyone would notice or care, we just think Nesmith deserves a country-rock nod and they are great songs.
I agree that the Monkees first bunch of LPs hold up pretty well.
I was late to the party and only got to see them sans Nesmith. It was still a great show. Definitely the most teeny-screaming I’ve ever heard in a concert.
Watching the shows nowadays is bittersweet. Mike has a pained look on his face much of the time. It sure didn’t seem like he was having as much fun as everyone else in the band.
As Lillian Roxon put it, after the first year, putting down the Monkees among people in the music business was Not Done. Sure, they did nothing but sing on their first album, but they worked to reach the point where they could tour and actually put on a show. People like Frank Zappa said to knock off the criticism (Zappa even appeared on the show and in their movie).
The songs were nothing deep, but were pretty good overall (it helped to have top-notch songwriters), and the show was good enough to win a best comedy Emmy.
Speaking of Monkee respect, here’s some trivia:
The first song R.E.M. learned to play together was (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.
And, of course, they brought Hendrix to America.
Another Monkees fan - as has been said, Nesmith and Tork were actually accomplished musicians, and, unless I’m mistaken, the boys wrote all the songs on their third album, Headquarters, themselves. They also wrote one of the best songs in their discography (“Goin’ Down”, B-side to “Daydream Believer”). And though Dolenz and Jones never became great musicians, Mickey had a damn fine (and largely unappreciated) voice.
scout1222, I didn’t click on your link, but I assume it’s the version from 33 & 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, without a doubt the most bizarre prime-time special ever aired on network TV.
Really, I can’t find a thing wrong with the Monkees. In fact, I just downloaded some of their songs. Most of them are very, very good.
Actually, it’s the regular song set to Dukes of Hazzard scenes.