Michael Nesmith

Michael Nesmith, musician, television idol, video pioneer and Grammy award winner, died at his Carmel Valley home this morning. He was 78.

Nesmith gained fame as one of The Monkees, a band put together for a zany television show in 1966. With an iconic wool cap and calm expression, he became known as the quiet, cerebral member of the crew. 

The show became a pop culture phenomenon and the band—Nesmith, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones—recorded a series of hits. After the demise of the band, Nesmith continued to perform and write songs. In 1977 he recorded “Rio,” turning it into one of the first music videos. It’s creation is cited as the genesis of MTV.

His family issued the following statement:

“With Infinite Love we announce that Michael Nesmith has passed away this morning in his home, surrounded by family, peacefully and of natural causes. We as 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.”

Rhino Record public relations head Jason Elzy told The New York Times that heart failure was the cause of death.

In 2018 Nesmith survived quadruple bypass surgery. A year later he formed a country band with his sons and played tour dates, including one in Sand City, the home of his music and video studio Videoranch3D.

In advance of that performance he told the Weekly that the First National Band’s work represented him at his peak.

“When [son/bandmate] Christian started mixing the live set at the Troubadour, he told me, ‘This sounds unbelievable. It may be your best record yet.’”

Nesmith was a longtime Carmel Valley resident.

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