Michael Nesmith’s rejected Monkees song for Linda Ronstadt


The Monkees’ race was still young when the late Michael Nesmith had another success with “Different Drum” – as a writer rather than a performer.

The Stone Ponies, Linda Ronstadt’s band at the time, had a No. 13 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with the song in the fall of 1967, a year later. monkeys The TV show has started airing. The Monkees already had four Top 5 singles by that time, and Micky Dolenz recalled that Nesmith – who died on Friday at the age of 78 – first offered the band “Different Drum”.

“It’s so funny,” Dolenz told UCR earlier this year, when he included the song on his song. Dolenz sings Nesmith album. “He went to [Monkees] producers in the early days and brought them “Different Drum”. He played it for them, and they said, “Well that’s good, but it’s not a Monkees tune.” He said, ‘Wait a minute. I a m one of the Monkees. ‘ They said, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know. But no thanks. It’s not really a Monkees tune. So he said ‘Okay’ and gave it to Linda Ronstadt, and look what happened. “

The Stone Ponies version – which featured future Eagles member Bernie Leadon and future Derek and Dominos drummer Jim Gordon on the track – however, was not the first recording of “Different Drum”. Nesmith wrote the song in 1964 and the Greenbriar Boys recorded it a year later while the Monkees were still in training. Nesmith recorded the song for his 1972 solo album And the hits keep on coming, adding another verse that was not part of the Stone Ponies version.

Listen to the Stone Ponies’ version of “Different Drum”

The ability to write their own songs has always been a frustration for Nesmith and his fellow Monkees, although Nesmith may have contributed two songs to the group’s self-titled debut album in 1966: “Papa Gene’s Blues” and “Sweet Young Thing”, the latter co-wrote with Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

“Remember he was thrown in monkeys, but he was not an actor. He was a singer-songwriter, “Dolenz explained.” They said, “Yes, you’ll be able to write and sing songs,” and the Powers That Be, the record company and the Donnie Kirshners and everyone were all involved and didn’t let that happen. He must have been incredibly frustrated, hoping he could use [the Monkees] as a sounding board for its material. “

Nesmith once hit a wall during a meeting with producers, telling one that “it could have been your face” – a caption Dolenz confirmed to be “absolutely correct”.

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