The Monkees fans would agree that Mike Nesmith was indeed the heart and soul of the band. They continue to process his death eight months after and realize just what a tremendous contribution he made to the music world. However, Nesmith didn’t see himself in that way. In a 2019 interview, Nesmith deadpanned his talent, saying, “Micky [Dolenz] is a great frontman, and I’m OK.”
Mike Nesmith was adamant The Monkees write and record their material
In a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, Nesmith explained why he was so adamant the Monkees write and record their material.
Key songwriters include Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Carole Bayer Sager, Neil Diamond, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Neil Sedaka, John Stewart, Harry Nilsson, Jack Keller, and Michael Martin Murphey contributed to the stable of Monkees hits.
However, Nesmith said it was more about being happier with the finished product.
He told Rolling Stone, “We were kids with our taste in music and were happier performing songs we liked – and/or wrote – than songs handed to us. It made for better performance. It was more fun. That this became a bone of contention seemed strange to me, and I think to some extent to each of us — sort of “What’s the big deal, why won’t you let us play the songs we are singing?”
Touring with Micky Dolenz gave Mike Nesmith a new appreciation for the band’s legacy
Let's travel Down Under for today's edition of our #VirtualConcertSeries! ??— The Monkees (@TheMonkees) June 26, 2022
Here are @TheMickyDolenz1 & Nez performing the gorgeous "Me & Magdalena" from the 'Good Times!' album at the Sydney Opera House on June 18, 2019.?
(via @rogerdilernia / YouTube) pic.twitter.com/GHcjThuKER
During the last year of his life, Nesmith toured with Dolenz for The Monkees Farewell Tour. The twosome drew on a wealth of songs to entertain audiences of all ages.
Throughout the tour, Nesmith realized just how intense The Monkees fandom was.
“The legacy is Monkees fandom,” he told music journalist Bernard Zuel.
“We explored a lot of musical avenues when we were working in the ‘60s and ‘70s. The guys went out on their own in the ‘80s and ‘90s, taking many different paths, as you probably know. I still have a very active presence with my First National Band and that approach to music,” he said of the type of songs the twosome played throughout the tour that concluded at the Greek Theater In LA in Nov. 2021.
Nesmith believed the variety of music the twosome played at each concert appealed to every age, along with another caveat. He joked, “Micky is a great frontman, and I’m OK.”
Nesmith was one of the key songwriters of the four Monkees
Mike Nesmith penned “Papa Gene’s Blues” for the band’s first self-titled album, released in 1966.
In his book “Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff” Nesmith said he was allowed to write two songs for the band’s self-titled first album.
“I recorded some music for the show, ‘Papa Gene’s Blues’ and ‘The Kind of Girl I Could Love,’” Nesmith said.
“I was told they’d up them in the show and on the record,” Nesmith wrote.
“Grateful and happy I was. But, I was also wary and disconcerted. I heard the songs in my head differently from the way the session guys played them. I had no idea how to convey my musical ideas to them. The arrangements drifted into what the session guys intuitively knew,” he concluded.
The finished song would have a significant mistake upon the debut of the episode “Monkees in a Ghost Town.” It read “Papa Jean’s Blues” in the credits.
The song was also misspelled on early pressings of the album, reported The Monkees Wiki.