Monkees Singer-Guitarist Michael Nesmith Dead at 78

Monkees Singer-Guitarist Michael Nesmith Dead at 78

Michael Nesmith, a singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the famed American pop rock band the Monkees, has died, according to multiple reports. He was 78.

Nesmith died Friday at his home of “natural causes,” according to a family statement sent to Rolling Stone magazine.

“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 the statement. “We ask that you respect our privacy at this time and we thank you for the love and light that all of you have shown him and us.”

A Houston native who spoke with a thick Texas accent, Nesmith stood out to his fans with his assortments of wool hats that he frequently wore while performing. He penned many of the Monkee’s most enduring songs, including “Mary, Mary” and “Circle Sky.”

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Nesmith fought for the band to write its own songs and retain creative control of its albums, according to Rolling Stone.

“We were kids with our own taste in music and were happier performing songs we liked – and/or wrote – than songs that were handed to us,” he told the magazine in 2012.

“It made for a 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?”

After the Monkeees broke up in the late 60s, Nesmith’s career foundered for years. The death of his mother, Bette Nesmith Graham, who invented Liquid Paper correction fluid, reportedly left him a substantial inheritance that he used to help finance movies including Repo Man and Tapeheads.

Nesmith was married and divorced three times and had four children, according to reports.

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David Ng