In Memoriam|

Photo: Michael Nesmith (from NBC Television) | Robert Michael Nesmith (12/30/1942 – 12/10/2021) was an American musician, songwriter, actor, producer, and novelist. He was best known as a member of the pop rock band the Monkees and co-star of the TV series The Monkees (1966–1968). His songwriting credits include “Different Drum”, which became a hit for Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys.

After the break-up of the Monkees, Nesmith continued his successful songwriting and performing career, first with the seminal country rock group the First National Band, with whom he had a top-40 hit, “Joanne”, and then as a solo artist. He often played a custom-built Gretsch 12-string electric with the Monkees and afterwards.

Nesmith founded Pacific Arts, a multimedia production and distribution company, in 1974, through which he helped pioneer the music video format. He created one of the first American television programs dedicated to music videos, PopClips, which aired on Nickelodeon in 1980. He was asked to help produce and create MTV, but had prior commitments with his production company. In 1981, he won the first Grammy Award for Video of the Year for his hour-long television show, Elephant Parts. He was also an executive producer of the film Repo Man (1984).

Read more about Michael’s life here:

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Les Emmerson, Writer of “Signs”, Dies

Robert Leslie Emmerson (9/17/1944 – 12/10/2021) was a Canadian musician and singer. He was the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Five Man Electrical Band, and their predecessor band The Staccatos. He also recorded as a solo artist, charting three top 40 hits in Canada, including the #5 hit “Control Of Me”.

Emmerson was best known for writing the song “Signs”, which was a hit for Emmerson’s Five Man Electrical Band in 1971 and also a hit for the band Tesla in 1990. Both versions of the song sold approximately 1.5 million copies at the time of each respective release. In 2004, the song was sampled by Fatboy Slim in the platinum-selling song “Don’t Let the Man Get You Down”.

Particularly as a result of the Fatboy Slim sampling, Emmerson earned enough money from royalties on “Signs” that he could support an average lifestyle without working.

Emmerson died from complications of COVID-19 in Ottawa on 10 December 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa. He was 77 years old.


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Mexican Super Star Vincente Fernandez Passes

Vicente Fernández Gómez (2/17/1940 – 12/12/2021) was a Mexican singer, actor, and film producer. Nicknamed “Chente” (short for Vicente), “El Charro de Huentitán” (The Charro from Huentitán), “El Ídolo de México” (The Idol of Mexico), and “El Rey de la Música Ranchera” (The King of Ranchera Music), Fernández started his career as a busker, and went on to become a cultural icon, having recorded more than 50 albums and contributing to more than 30 films. His repertoire consisted of rancheras and other Mexican classics.

Fernández’s work earned him three Grammy Awards, nine Latin Grammy Awards, fourteen Lo Nuestro Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He sold over 50 million copies worldwide, making him one of the best-selling regional Mexican artists of all time. In 2016, Fernández retired from performing live, although he continued to record and publish music

Read more about Vincente’s life here:

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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…

If you want to know more about any of the musicians we lost this past week, please check out http://www.wikipedia.com

December 2021
14: Phil Chen, 80, Jamaican bassist (Manzarek–Krieger, Butts Band, Rod Stewart), cancer; Ken Kragen, 85, American music manager and producer (“We Are the World”), founder of Hands Across America.

13: John Nolan, 55, Australian punk rock guitarist (Bored!, Powder Monkeys); Joe Simon, 85, American soul and R&B singer (“The Chokin’ Kind”, “Get Down, Get Down (Get on the Floor)”, “Power of Love”).

12: Vicente Fernández, 81, Mexican singer (“La Derrota”, “Estos Celos”, “El Último Beso”) and actor, multiple Grammy Award winner, complications from a fall.

11: Serghei Boboc, 44, Moldovan drummer, traffic collision.

10: Les Emmerson, 77, Canadian singer (Five Man Electrical Band), complications from COVID-19; Mensi, 65, English punk rock singer (Angelic Upstarts), COVID-19; Michael Nesmith, 78, American musician (The Monkees) and songwriter (“Different Drum”, “Joanne”), Grammy winner (1982), heart failure.

9: Garth Dennis, 72, Jamaican reggae musician (Black Uhuru, The Wailing Souls); David Lasley, 74, American singer-songwriter; Slim 400, 33, American rapper, shot.

8: Gil Bridges, 80, American musician (Rare Earth), complications from COVID-19; Barry Harris, 91, American jazz musician, complications from COVID-19; Chandidas Mal, 92, Indian musician; Phú Quang, 72, Vietnamese composer, complications from diabetes; Robbie Shakespeare, 68, Jamaican bassist (Sly and Robbie, Black Uhuru) and record producer, complications from kidney surgery; Ralph Tavares, 79, American singer (Tavares).


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