As I mentioned on my social media yesterday, my older brother and I have been texting about music. Single artists, bands you name it. We somehow ended up on women vocalists, and one of my all-time favorites, Linda Ronstadt, I had posters of her on my bedroom walls as a teenager. (Along with Anne & Nancy Wilson of Heart).
Then while browsing through YouTube I found this video of Linda and her first band The Stone Ponys.
After reading the Stone Ponys Wikipedia page I learned that “Different Drum” was written by Michael Nesmith before he became a Monkee.
Micheal was always my favorite Monkee. I watched the show every chance I got. Not only was the humor perfect for an 8-year-old, I really enjoyed the music too. It was later in life when I went back and listened to their music that realized that Micheal’s music was far better than the polished pop songs they also sang. Now those pop songs were written by some of the finest songwriters of the early sixties. Carol King & Gerry Goffin to name but two.
But it was Michael’s rawer edge that stood out to me. Plus the fact on most of his songs, he insisted that the Monkees actually played on the recordings and just not studio musicians (although they made extensive use of studio musicians on every recording).
A few interesting notes about The Monkees. Stephen Stills (of Crosby, Stills, Nash with or without Young fame) auditioned but didn’t make the cut. He did, however, recommend his friend Peter Tork to be auditioned. Peter was the only band member other than Michael that could actually play an instrument. The reason Michael wore a wool hat? It kept his hair out of his eyes while riding his motorcycle. And Michael’s mother invented what was later marketed as “Liquid Paper”.
So here is my favorite Monkee song of Michael’s. The video sucks, sorry. But you get two renditions of the song. The first part, take care to watch the studio musicians listed. The late Glenn Campbell is playing backup for The Monkees! Michael is producing this version, which was used on the show over the version produced by Don Kirschner.
Hope you enjoy it! Leave a comment or two, please.