R.I.P. Michael Nesmith of the Monkees

The singer-guitarist was 78.

The Everett Collection

Originally, only three Monkees were given a real name. There was Davy, Micky, Peter and… "Wool Hat." 

That's what producers of The Monkees first dubbed Michael Nesmith and actually did use the nickname on air, intending to call the character that throughout the series run. You can even see it listed in the earliest Monkees promo materials, like in an old TV Guide listing from 1966.

The green wool hat Nesmith wore had an interesting origin story. Despite being in sunny California, Nesmith had donned the wool cap to keep the hair out of his face while riding his motorcycle to his Monkees audition. He had no idea it would become such an integral part of his persona from that point on.

In the end, the reason we don't call Mike Nesmith "Wool Hat" is pretty straightforward — Nesmith didn't like being called Wool Hat. So, the producers dropped it, letting him be known by his real name Mike.

What became of that wool hat? Nesmith hatched a pretty clever scheme to be rid of it for good. At a concert, the story goes that he tossed it out to a fan in the crowd.

Nesmith was a supremely talented songwriter and musician. After he was cast on the sitcom, Screen Gems bought several songs of his for the new band. One of those tunes was "Mary, Mary," sampled by Run-DMC decades later. His music career predated the Monkees. His songs were covered by the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Frankie Laine and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Under the name Michael Blessing, he released a single on Colpix Records, a label that also happened to include Davy Jones on its roster. But Jones and Nesmith did not meet until being cast as the Monkees.

Perhaps it was no surprise then that Nesmith was the first Monkee to bristle at their "manufactured" image and fight to release his own music, to prove his skills. In 1970, Nesmith asked to be released from his contract with three years left.

Born and raised in Texas, Nesmith left high school to join the Air Force. As many know, as it has now passed into legend, his mother invented the typing correction fluid known as Liquid Paper. She built the Liquid Paper Corporation into a multi-million dollar corporation and later sold it to Gillette.

Nesmith did not take part in the Monkees' 20th anniversary reunion in 1986 — though he did rejoin his old pals as Santa Claus for a "Monkees Christmas Melody" seen on MTV later that year. His detente would thaw, and in 1995, all four original Monkees recorded their first album together since 1968's Head.

In recent years, following the death of Peter Tork, Nesmith joined Mickey Dolenz for The Monkees Present: The Mike and Micky Show, their first tour as a duo.

The singer-guitarist died on December 10 of natural causes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 78.

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Matsui 21 months ago
RIP Mike. Only 1 Monkeey Alive.
Grizz 27 months ago
In 1967 Mike Nesmith and John Lennon met and hung out Mike expressed how he really wasn't crazy about the show and felt like it was holding him back. John Lennon expressed to him how great the show is it's his favorite ranked the them right up there with the Marx brothers told him he was a great singer songwriter keep doing it.
They jammed and partied all night.
Grizz 27 months ago
I've listened and owned your music since I was 10 years old.... You were underrated truly I mean truly underrated singer songwriter. You were also funny I truly funny it was a hard blow to the gut when someone said to me"hey that Monkee guy you listen to croaked". R.I.P. Mike Nesmith "What are you doing hanging round" 😢
Love you bro.
57Tbird 27 months ago
When I heard the news I was devastated. As a kid in the 60's, Papa Gene's Blues and so on, were the best songs. RIP Michael Nesmith. I know you are loved and will be missed.
bd64kcmo 28 months ago
Born in Houston, raised in Houston and Dallas. A memorable career as an extremely talented musician, but low key on the show. I believe he wrote much of the music for that Monkees album, "Head". Rolliing Stone top rated the 2 record set. See Wikipedia or google "monkees head album" if this URL gets wiped https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_(The_Monkees_album)
louannmaryanncplboylefan 28 months ago
Too bad that METV forgot (Or didn't know) to write an Article about
The Genie on Pee Wees Playhouse
Who passed away in 2021 .
Meka Meka Hi HIDI HIHI HO-
JAMBI The Genie
Pee Wees Playhouse
Passed Away in 2021
EddieHoldway 28 months ago
Mike had a great talent for writing some great songs and he also had a great voice to sing. I love most of his songs that he sang. The last song that I remember is "While I Cry" and I have that song on CD and it was a very good ballad. RIP Mike. With Davey, Peter and you passing away, that leaves Mickey as "The Lone Ranger" of the Monkees.
VictoriaKennedy 28 months ago
Rest in peace Mike you'll be sorely missed. :(
bagandwallyfan52 28 months ago
MEMO TO LovwMetv22 and
When a character is on a TV
Show and later disappears with
No explanation the writers should and producer Garry Marshall should have an explanation about why a character is no longer on a
TV show.
It is definitely Wrong to have
A character vanish from a
TV.show with no explanation.
A lot of.persons.liked the character Chuck Cunningham
And The 2 actors who played
Chuck Cunningham-Gavan O Herlihy and Randolph Roberts.
A lot.of persons have said that they don't like the way that Chuck Cunningham Vanished
Into Thin Air.
When Ron Howard and Donny Most and Linda Purl
Heather O Rourke and Cathy Silvers left Happy Days there was explanations on what
Happened to their characters.
Chuck Cunningham deserved
An explanation on why the
Fictional character Chuck Cunningham disappeared from
Happy Days with no explanation.
I don't agree with persons who
Think that it is alright for the
Writers of a TV show to have a
Character Vanish from a TV show and not explain what happened to them.
When Sticks started playing
The drums in Richie's band
There should have been a explanation why BAG was
No longer playing the drums
In Richie's band.
When Eugene Belvin and Moose disappeared from Happy Days
With no explanation then there
Should have been an explanatioin whatever happened to Moose and Eugene Belvin
And when Melvin Belvin
Disappeared from HD and when
Spike Vanished from Happy Days
It ea never explained what happened to Spike.
Right after Splke left Happy Days then Chachi Arcola arrived
In Milwaukee .
Maybe Spike owed Chachi money and that's why Spike
Left Milwaukee.
Or maybe Officer Kirk told
Spike to get out of town
By sundown
An Interview done by the Archive for American Television with Marion Ross, about
Chuck Cunningham's character disappearance:

Marion Ross's Quote: "We just didn't need him". End Quote
To refresh your memory Gary Marshall's town style discussion clip:

Gary Marshall Quote: "Sometimes you gotta write people out" End Quote.
No explanations necessary. It's written in the annals of history.
The Disappearance of Chuck is at approximately "7:20" or "7 minutes and 20 seconds" into the clip. for your viewing pleasure.
MichaelDWilson 28 months ago
Micky Dolenzes to his family...
Douglas97633503 28 months ago
I'm gonna lose it every time they show the vid for Daydream Believer, at the end when all 4 dance in a funny sequence. I already get teary eye just thinking about it.
bagandwallyfan52 28 months ago
What does it mean when a TV
Character on a TV Show is.retconned?
Was SPIKE Danny Butch) retconed on HAPPY Days?.
Does a TV character have to
Be a relative of another character on s TV show to be
Retconned or fan a friend of
A character be retconed?
Was Larry Mondello Retconned.
On Leave It To Beaver?
Was Judy Hensler Retcones
On Leave It To Beaver?
Was Corporal Boyle retnoned
On Gomer Pyle USMC and were
Bag Zombroski Eugene Belvin
And Moose Retconed on
Happy Days?
Retconned is a portmanteau of the words retroactive and continuity. or Retroactive Continuity.
Movie goers and tv viewers are sometimes angered by the use of it. It is a simple and common method used in the entertainment as well as other industries to increase their (writers,producers etc....) creative freedom, to rewrite scripts, stories, plot-lines etc.... for their purposes.
The whole "Without Explanation" phrase makes no sense- These people don't need to explain anything Period.
bagandwallyfan52 28 months ago
Please add the following shows
To MeTv s Schedule :
1 The Monkees
2 Marx Brothers Movies
3 The Little Rascals
4 Laurel and Hardy Shorts
5 Love American Style
6The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
7 Three's company
8 I Dream of Jeannie
8 Mayberry RFD
9 Mr.. Ed
10 That Girl
11 Dobie Gilli's
12 I Love Lucy
13 The Lucy Show
14 My Favorite Martian
15 Fractured Flickers
16 Rocky and Bullwinkle
17 Pee Wees Playhouse
18 Pee Wee Herman Movies
19 Joe Penner Movies
20 Eddie Cantor Movies
21 The Real McCoys
22 Blondie and Dagwood Movies
23 Shirley Temple Movies
24 Sanford and Son
25 Lone Ranger
26 The Roy Rogers Show
27 I Married Joan
28 Pete And Glayds
29 Bowery Boys Movies
30 Ma and Pa Kettle Movies
31 Freakazoid
32 Yogi Bear
33 Early Edition
34 Ellery Queen Mysteries
35 Dark Shadows
36 The Edge of Night
37 Quantom Leap
38 F Troop
39 Andy Williams Show
40 Mighty Mouse and Heckle
And Jeckel Cartoons
Load previous comments
Yes on 2, 12, 25, 33, and 37.
Ii would also like to see
Kenner bagandwallyfan52 27 months ago
Sam Benedict (1962), The Lieutenant (1963), The Cara Williams Show (1965), Kaz (1979), To name a few obscure but good ones.
MichaelSkaggs 28 months ago
I thought they were together for the reunion song, "That Was Then. This Is Now." (A suitable title)
MichaelSkaggs 28 months ago
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mdit21 28 months ago
It's always a sad day when another musician from the most terrific era in music passes away, R.I.P. Michael Nesmith.
bagandwallyfan52 mdit21 28 months ago
RIP To Mike Nesmith
David Jones and Peter Tork
Of The Monkees.
Like I said earlier The Slapstick comedy of The
Monkees can be compared
To Marx Brothers Movies
(Groucho Chico Harper and
Zeppo ) . The Slapstick Comedy of The Monkees
Can be compared to The
Three Stooges also(More
Larry Curly Shemp Joe
Besser and Joe DeRita.).
The Monkees that Passed
Away and Mickey Dolenz
FILM.I believe in the Afterlife (Heaven) and if
There is an Afterlife Monkees fans Marx Brothers fans and 3 Stooges Fans will be
Reunited with loved ones(Relatives and Friends)
And get to meet The Monkees 3 Stooges and
Marx Brothers In the Afterlife.
TheDavBow3 28 months ago
Mike was a monster talent! A true pioneer in the blending of rock and country music. Even before The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. A great song writer, singer, guitarist. He was my favorite Monkee. "The Kind Of Girl I Could Love" was my 1st favorite Monkees song because of Nez's vocal. Many new favorites were to follow. "The Girl I Knew Somewhere", "Papa Gene's Blues", "You Just May Be The One" are early Monkee faves of mine. I love the song, "Love Is Only Sleeping" because of Mike's vocal and guitar riff. "Tapioca Tundra", "Writing Wrongs", "Magnolia Simms" are great out-of-the-box songs. "While I Cry", Circle Sky", "Listen To The Band" are wonder more mature Nesmith/Monkee songs. Not to mention, he could be the 1st person to style with those hairy sideburns before Elvis and Engelbert. A true genius, he was. Rest In Peace, Nez.
geatornez82 TheDavBow3 28 months ago
Nez does not get the credit he deserves. He is a major underrated talent, and a genius.
cperrynaples TheDavBow3 28 months ago
Interesting fact: Stephen Stills auditioned for the Monkees, and might have been in Mike's place if it wasn't for his bad teeth!
WandaBaker cperrynaples 28 months ago
Didn't they have crowns in the 1960s?
Matton511 28 months ago
Matton511 28 months ago
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Pacificsun 28 months ago
This comment has been removed.
Michael stephaniestavr5 28 months ago
Yes. Liquid Paper was in a round bottle, I recall a black and white label. I used it when I started typing in 1974, though later I moved to the tape that you typed on to erase (well cover) the mistakes.

I never used White Out. And I've not used a typewriter since 1984, when I got my third computer and it was good enough to use for text editing.
Golferths3 Pacificsun 28 months ago
Betty invented Liquid Paper, I know because I worked for her for several years.
LoveMETV22 Golferths3 28 months ago
So you were one of her 200 Employees after she moved her operations from her home in 1968, and prior to her selling to Gillette in 1979? That's interesting.
WandaBaker stephaniestavr5 28 months ago
Yes, we knew that.
jaelinsmith40652 28 months ago
Rest In Peace Mike Nesmith, MeTV I hope you would like to bring this show back to us. I've enjoyed a wonderful Sunday.
RebeccaWescoat 28 months ago
Another sweet part of my childhood gone! I liked all 4 of them, but Mike was my favorite! I could listen to "Papa Gene's Blues", "You Just May Be the One", and "Sweet Young Thing" all day! He will be sorely missed!😥(Would you please put this great show back on your schedule please!!)
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