Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mike Nesmith Week: The Monkees Era

This is something I have wanted to do since the inception of this blog, but I have always envisioned doing it around Mike Nesmith's birthday. He was born on Dec. 30, however, and I always find myself out of town and away from LTL! during the holidays. So, that's the reason I celebrate one of my favorite artists this week. It would be easy to wax poetic about Nesmith's genius. He is, in fact, a visionary... a Renaissance man, of sorts. If this comes as a surprise to you, I suggest you check out his work in film, television, video and literature... for starters.

LTL! is, of course, all about the music. So, let's listen to the work of Nesmith as musician. His career should be examined in three parts, and I will post my five favorite tunes from each era. I have found it tough to choose only five songs during his time as a member of the Monkees. Nesmith wrote many memorable pieces, including "Mary, Mary" and "The Girl That I Knew Somewhere." Both of these songs are worthy of the list. Since he passed them along to Mickey Dolenz for lead-vocal duty, I, too, passed. Let's not forget "Circle Sky" as well. It's the highlight of 'Head.' "Sweet Young Thing" was also considered, but he shared songwriting duties with the brilliant team of Goffin/King, although it sure feels like a Nesmith nugget. There are several others but, in the end, these five songs are a perfect mix of pop, country and anthem. This is also a peek into Nesmith's future vocation. More on the twangy side of Nesmith next time.

The Mike Nesmith Five (Monkees Edition)
The Monkees - What Am I Doin' Hangin' 'Round? (mp3)
The Monkees - Listen to the Band (mp3)
The Monkees - You Just May Be the One (mp3)
The Monkees - You Told Me (mp3)
The Monkees - Papa Gene's Blues (mp3)

All five of these songs can be found on Rhino's excellent two-disc anthology of the band.

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