About Michael Nesmith
Critics and older listeners weren't impressed with the transformation, however, and the album ended up as something of an artistic peak instead of the beginning of a gradual ascent. Nesmith soothed his wounds in 1968 by recording his first solo album, Wichita Train Whistle Songs, which featured new arrangements of his best-known Monkees songs. He continued with the Monkees for one more year, but then left the band in 1969. Nesmith's first act independent of the Monkees was the formation of the First National Band, with old friend John London on bass, John Ware on drums, and one of country music's best steel guitarists, Red Rhodes.The First National Band signed to RCA Victor and released two albums in 1970, Magnetic South and Loose Salute. The single "Joanne" hit the pop Top 25, and "Silver Moon" also charted later in the year. Nesmith added several members for 1971's Nevada Fighter, and credited it to the Second National Band. The title track skirted the bottom of the charts for several weeks, but Nesmith proved his pop savvy yet again by providing the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with their hit, "Some of Shelly's Blues." The following year, the National Band released Tantamount to Treason.Nesmith dropped the group credit later that year, recording And the Hits Keep Comin' as a solo artist -- though Red Rhodes continued to play with him. Nesmith's 1973 album Pretty Much Your Standard Stash was his last for RCA Victor, as he formed the music/communications label Pacific Arts in 1974. The following year he released The Prison and co-wrote Olivia Newton-John's hit "Let It Shine." Nesmith re-entered the charts with 1977's From a Radio Engine to a Photon Wing; the single "Rio" was a hit in the U.K., and a filmed version of the song helped develop the concept of music video.In 1977, Nesmith furthered his efforts in the field of music video by creating a TV chart show called Popclips. When Warner bought the idea from him several years later, the company then developed it into MTV. A stop-gap live album (Live at the Palais) appeared in 1978, while Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma, Nesmith's last solo album for 13 years, was released the following year. During the '80s, Pacific Arts became the most important video publishing company in America, and Nesmith moved into film and TV production as well, winning the first video Grammy award in 1981 for Elephant Parts. He returned to the music business in 1989, appearing with the Monkees once on stage during their reunion tour. Nesmith also released a compilation of rare solo tracks called The Newer Stuff for England's Awareness Records. Rhino Records followed two years later with the best of his early-'70s material, The Older Stuff. In 1992, Nesmith released his first album of new material in 13 years, ...Tropical Campfires... Four years later, he reunited with the Monkees again to record Justus, the first Monkees album since 1968 to feature all four original members.