Permit a Monkees fan to cry a little about the passing of Michael Nesmith last week at age 78. Yes, the Monkees came and went before I showed up, but they never really completely left: I used to watch reruns of the original Monkees show at lunchtime when I came home from kindergarten, and that was in the early 80s. A few years later the group, minus Papa Nez, made a reunion album and began touring, on and off, in various combinations, until this very year’s Farewell Tour. All four did notable things outside the band, too; Peter Tork was an accomplished folk musician, Micky Dolenz had a second career as a director for TV and movies, Davy Jones continued to sing and act (and even solved a mystery with the Scooby Gang), and Nesmith invented MTV and country rock. Not exactly the lightweights they were so often accused of being.
The Monkees made a couple holiday-themed records during their first run – “Riu Chiu” in particular is an absolute gem – but let’s not forget their 2018 release Christmas Party. (Like the outstanding Good Times! record a few years earlier, Christmas Party was largely produced by the also-much-missed Adam Schlesinger.) One of the tracks Nesmith sang on that release was the old Claude Thornhill tune “Snowfall,” an inspired choice for Papa Nez.