RIP Michael Nesmith

In 1966 I was at a difficult age.  I was a little too young to have ridden the Beatles wave, but old enough that I knew I wasn’t a little kid anymore and wanting to connect with the rock `n roll world.  When the Monkees hit the scene, they were just my speed.  Like most of my girlfriends, I loved the pre-fab group (although at the age of 11, I didn’t really understand that part to begin with).  Since most of my friends adored Davy, I resisted that tug and settled on Peter Tork.  I knew he was the oldest Monkee, but he played a lovable goof who came off as the youngest, most vulnerable.  I was a loyal Monkees fan until the band broke up 1969 (if you are a fan, you might protest this date, but I count the breakup as early `69 when Peter resigned.)  I won’t go so far as to say that I went to Carleton because Peter has also attended, but it would be a lie to say I wasn’t aware!

I was sad to see that Michael Nesmith passed away on Friday.  He was never my favorite but I did like the “twang” that was in the songs that he penned and sang.  His signature wool cap came about when he wore it to the first audition for the tv show and one of the producers remembered it.  It was also said that he was very calm at that audition, giving off an air of not caring whether he got a part or not.  He carried that aloofness with him throughout his Monkees’ career; there were a few times that he did not appear with the group in later reunion gigs, although he had just finished on a tour a few weeks before his death.   He wrote many of their songs; my favorite is probably “You May Just Be the One”:

In a side note, I found out many years later that his mother was the inventor of Liquid Paper.  In this day and age of the computer and word processing software you might not know what Liquid Paper is, but if you were a secretary or typist during the 70s and 80s, you certainly do.  It was a lifesaver back then. 

With Michael’s death, there is only one Monkee left – Mickey Dolenz.  Davy passed away in 2012 and my Peter passed away almost 3 years ago now.  I know that their music is now considered a little on the bubblegum pop spectrum, but they are still my first love.  I got out all their CDs and played them over the weekend.

Did you have any hero worship when you were younger?

54 thoughts on “RIP Michael Nesmith”

  1. I think probably Joni Mitchell comes as close as anyone – in my early 20s I just idolized her, and bought each new album as it came out – until she veered to more of a jazz sound. Now I wish I’d stuck with her and explored that side… still could I suppose. Last album I bought was Hissing of Summer Lawns.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I was always prone, as a child and young adult, to hero worship. But then there were some people who were so helpful to my family during the onset and progression of my dad’s MS, that they were heroic. A neighbor, my aunt and uncle, and our church’s minister are all on that list. Rock musicians generally were not on that list. At one point I developed a huge crush on Jerry Lewis. Jerry Lewis? Later I realized what a problematic person he was and I still look at that and wonder. Oh, well, I was probably 8 years old and going through my own difficulties. But really, Jerry Lewis.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was sad to hear about his death. I enjoyed the TV show, and we had one LP which, if I remember right, had a pretty good size chunk out of the edge so you had to start the needle in an inch and a half. No idea what songs I missed. The album cover had pictures from the TV show on the back. I was the right age to find it delightfully silly and fun. As a guy, of course David didn’t do much for me, Peter and Mickey were silly, and Michael was the calm rational one. Maybe that’s what attracted me to him. RIP Michael.

    I’ll keep thinking about the figures from my childhood. To think who I really looked up to.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I idolized baseball players: Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Sany Koufax, Jim Kaat, Roberto Clemente.

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

    I also thought my dad was pretty cool too. 🙂

    Neutral on the Monkees. I more or less liked the music, thought the show was way too silly.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Had an English prof who talked about how the jumps and cuts and repitions fit the current style of more literary authors. He told us to watch it. It did. Watched about 6 episodes to watch the directing and editing.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. In high school I once in social studies objected to the use of the word hero for celebreties. Idol maybe, but not heroes.
    Some newspaper over several years asked senior high stuodents to name their hero. In the early 50’s they were people like Lincoln, Churchill, Jesus, Jonas Salk. All men of course. Then in 60’s women appeared in the list. Then it drifted to sports stars and entertainers.
    50 years ago I taught a unit in Jr. High English on heroes. We read about heroes in literature. Then the sudent were divided into teams to select and run a campaign for a real life hero. Boys had trouble with female heroes and the idea that sports stars were not heroes. But the class had to accept their candidate by the defintion we had written. They accepted women to the list and rejected stars as such. Two parents wrote letters to the principal objecting to the unit and the rejection of stars. It died there.
    Then we did a unit on superheroes. Each student had to create a superhero by the definition we wrote. That one was fun.
    I was the new young punk who came into a conservative town and shook things up in 7-8th grade English, to the dismay of many of my colleagues. I left after one year because I got the chance to move back to Lake Superior and to work for a principal who wanted me to shake up English. The stodgy old coach/soc. teachers and others were always upset with me.
    Hero worship in my youth? No. Idols to honor, yes. My difficult and angry father was in many ways my idol, some aspects of his character I wanted. Bernt Bachen very much. Never joined the Kennedy cult. Lincoln. Marie Curie. Antoine LaVoisier. (I read a lot of science history then, and still do). Alfred Wallace, who if you don’t know also discovered much of evolution, was about to publish, Darwin rushed into print to beat him out. Wallace always gave him first credit. But Wallace’s life traveling the world was astounding.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I can understand the idea of a hero in the sense of an individual who does something selfless and often brave for the sake of others or for a greater good. They are public heroes and I honor them as such but they are not my personal heroes. I haven’t singled them out.

      I can understand Jacque’s respect and gratitude for those people who went above and beyond to help her family. She has a right to regard them as heroes.

      I’m not sure how to parse idols. Are they simply people you admire for some reason or are they people you wish to emulate? Can you admire certain things they said or did without taking them whole cloth? At what point does someone who did something or many things admirable tip over into being an idol?

      It’s not in my nature to idolize, I guess.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. È una Them the Francy LinkedIn hai Rose and Heroes period. (The preceding sentence brought to you by my Italian voice recognition. In English I said “and I’m all for differentiating between idols and heroes”.)

          Liked by 3 people

    2. I parsed my idols, picked traits and lives they led. I was aware of their faults, such as LaVoisier, who was beheaded in the French RevolBernt Balchenution because he was a weathy landowner and apparently gave little thought to the peasants who gave him the time and money to do science.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Strictly speaking, I guess, a hero is anyone who does something heroic. He or she doesn’t have to be a good or admirable person.

        What constitutes something heroic is another matter. “Hero” gets thrown around pretty loosely these days.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. In a way, children before about the 70s or so were lucky in that we rarely heard about the private lives of our “heroes” so we (or at least I) compartmentalized my heroes’ sports abilities against their private lives because we weren’t barraged with their personal life indiscretions as we are today.

      But from all accounts (I don’t speak from personal experience of having met any of my childhood sports idols) Harmon Killebrew, Roberto Clemente, Tony Oliva, and Rod Carew were/are people worthy of high esteem as all-around humans.

      That said, I DO have issues with our obsession with finding every little fault possible in celebrities merely to knock them down a peg and remind us of how flawed they are and why we shouldn’t “like” them. NO ONE IS PERFECT! So in a way, celebrities are held to a higher standard because they aren’t allowed to make mistakes for fear of ruining their careers.

      I’m not saying let them get away with murder and don’t punish them, just cut ’em a little slack when they screw up. What bothers me most is when someone is overheard uttering a “bad word” in a private setting or off camera or off mic and some snitch blares it to the media, which gets the “sinner” in deep trouble.

      As George Carlin famously observed, “There are no bad words, only bad thoughts.” Maybe dig a little deeper into someone’s life before you label them as a racist for uttering a racial slur in a private moment (and which may have been taken out of context, to begin with.)

      Glass houses and stones and sins and all that.

      Chris in Owatonna

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Re: The Monkees. I liked their music – had 3 or 4 of their albums, but thought the show was kinda dumb. Davy was my favorite because he was cute and just my size! My first music idols were The Beatles. Paul was most every girls favorite but I gravitated to George.

    Sports-wise, my first idols were the 1960s Twins: Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Zoilo Versailles, Tony Oliva, Cesar Tovar, Earl Battey, Bob Allison, etc. I tried to mimic their batting stances when playing softball – even sort of learned to hit left handed. Now my sports idols are the MN Lynx (former and current) – especially Sylvia Fowles, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen (now Gopher Wm coach), Seimone Augustus.

    I idolized (and still do to a certain extent) my cousin Rodger. Having only sisters, he was and still is my “big brother”.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. The place where I do my exercise, a senior citizen center, plays music in the pool and fitness center. It is always r & r of that era, often the Monkees. Did not like the r & r of my youth. Still don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I differentiate between heroes, idols, and crushes.

    One of my early heroes was Albert Schweitzer. I admired that in addition to being a doctor who built a hospital in Lambaréné in Gabon, Africa, he was an accomplished musician, philosopher, philanthropist, and a missionary. He was one reason I wanted to become a nurse so I could go to Africa and work in his hospital. My year at Kinderspital in Basel cured me of that notion.

    Crushes, I had lots of them, sometimes several at the same time, and it was an ever changing array of pretty faces. That’s until I fell – hard – for Tommy Steele. That crush lasted several months – until I discovered that he had gotten married. By the time the Beatles came along I was pretty much over crushes on celebrities (mostly musicians and actors but with a couple of sports figures in the mix), I had moved on to exploring my own more realistic prospects.

    Not sure I’ve ever had idolized anyone. No one comes to mind at the moment.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I admired John and Bobby Kennedy. I’ve been told by Q that JFKjr faked his plane crash death and will be returning soon to reinstall Trump as president. Strange.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. OT: Sandy pulls out her hearing aids so we gave up on them. I have 72 312 batteries. If anyone wants them, let me know. Would be easy and cheap to mail


    1. I bet they hurt her ears, I know mine do. They’re specifically molded for my ears, so they shouldn’t, but after a while they do. I just can’t get used to them. Besides, I spend most of my time alone, and I have no difficulty hearing what I’m thinking. Glad I don’t have to contend with dentures, yet.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. The Monkees bring to mind such fun it reminds me of my friends at the time Shyam Senate Bill McCarthy and Bill Henderson and we for had a glorious trip together through 1969 and I remember watching the monkeys at Shaum‘s house and I didn’t think about or care that their music was trite
    I love the music written by Neil diamond and Bobby Hart and later the tune is written by Michael and Mickey and Davey and Peter we’re all just enjoyable each and every one when I met Debbie one of our running jokes was that I thought the Beatles was the best musical group ever and she thought the Monkees was the best musical group ever we did go see them play down at the Orpheum when they came around with three of them I believe it was Davey and Michael and Mickey and that was a fun concert
    as for hero worship I don’t think I thought a Bob Dylan is a hero but he was certainly my musical pinnacle and I wore out a whole fist full of LPs from his early years until he finally came out of hiding with Nashville skyline rag and I was able to plug into his new stuff
    my hero worship at the time was along the lines of Gandhi Martin Luther King Malcolm X. the Kennedys and the people who are trying to make a difference at the time when we were all trying to make a difference
    it felt like we did it the world has changed not enough but certainly in the directions that we had all hoped for back in the day which is why I still fight for the same causes and admire the same type of individuals Joe Biden Barack Obama included

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Monkees TV show, nor owned any of their records. I have, of course, hear at least some of their songs. When I think of Michael Nesmith is think of him not as part of the Monkees, but as a singer/songwriter and his later work. I like this song:

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It’s an interesting discussion heros vs Idols. When I was young, I really looked up to a brother in law. There was a lot going on in the family I was too young to understand, I just thought he was pretty cool. (He was the first serious boyfriend around and he was dating the youngest daughter so he was fighting an uphill battle to start with. He won mom and dad over eventually.)
    And there were a couple uncles who I always looked forward to being around. And my brother; if you count how much I was in his room and messing with his stuff, I must have admired him, we just didn’t call it that.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. This topic cannot pass by without a reference to Joseph Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces.
    I lost my copy somewhere.
    Bill Moyers extensive interview with him is must see TV.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. It’s sort of surprising that the Monkees were as successful as they were, considering the group’s origins. They could easily have just chosen four boys with pretty faces, and the group could have capsized quickly. Davy Jones was probably the most conventionally goodlooking of the group, but the other three had more charm than looks, plus enough creativity to produce some original material, and that saved the enterprise.

    My younger niece saw Mickey and Mike live pretty recently. She said Micky Dolenz pretty much carried the show. Mike Nesmith looked tired and took frequent breaks. He was not well.

    Liked by 3 people

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