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Michael Nesmith Biography


Michael Nesmith
Image Courtesy of Videoranch Records


A former member of The Monkees, Michael Nesmith later launched a brilliant country-rock career with his First National Band.

Basic Facts:

Name: Robert Michael Nesmith
Birthday: December 30, 1942
Birthplace: Houston, Texas

Praise from Rolling Stone:

"Loose Salute by Mike Nesmith and the First National Band is one of the hippest country rock albums in some time, certainly the most listenable."

Best Michael Nesmith Songs:

  • "Little Red Rider"
  • "Joanne"
  • "Silver Moon"
  • "Some of Shelly's Blues"

Selected Michael Nesmith Discography:

  • The Wichita Train Whistle Sings (1968)
  • Magnetic South (1970)
  • Loose Salute (1970)
  • Nevada Fighter (1971)
  • Tantamount to Treason Vol. 1 (1972)
  • And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' (1972)
  • Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash (1973)


Michael Nesmith was born in 1943 in Houston, Texas, and after serving in the Air Force became interested in folk music. After a brief stopover in Memphis, Nesmith headed to Los Angeles to take part in the city's music scene.

TV Stardom in The Monkees:

Michael Nesmith had a run of luck when he auditioned for the television show The Monkees, and won the lead part of "Wool Hat." Although the band tended to use material written by others, Nesmith got his foot in the door by convincing the record company to allow them to record original material. Among the songs he wrote for The Monkees are "Listen to the Band" and "The Girl I Knew Somewhere."

Increasingly frustrated with the lack of creative control, Nesmith abandoned the group in 1969.

Solo Career:

Nesmith quickly bounced back in 1970 -- recording two records with his country-rock group the First National Band: Magnetic South and Loose Salute. After performing with "The Second National Band" for the next year's Nevada Fighter, Nesmith began recording and performing under his own name.

At the same time, Nesmith was a prolific songwriter for others artists, most notably penning "Different Drum" for Linda Ronstadt.

MTV and Film Producer:

Into the 1980s, Nesmith became involved with his production company Pacific Arts, which produced many of the music videos of the era.

He also produced the cult movies Elephant Parts and Repo Man.

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