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Michael Nesmith 12/21

December 30, 1942 – Robert Michael Nesmith was the only child of Warren and Bette Nesmith, who divorced when he was four. Bette remarried and relocated to Dallas where, as executive secretary at Texas Bank and Trust, she developed her own typewriter correction fluid. In 1979, a few months before her death, she sold her Liquid Paper Corporation to Gillette for $48m. Her son and heir finally acquired financial freedom.
Rewind 20 years to find a teenage Nesmith dabbling in music and drama at school before enlisting in the US Air Force in 1960. Two years later he was honorably discharged at his own request, swapping mechanics for music. Cutting his teeth in touring folk, country and rock’n’roll bands, he moved to Los Angeles.

A publishing and recording deal followed, yielding a handful of underperforming solo singles. Nesmith joined the queue of 437 hopefuls to audition for a part in a new TV show, inspired by The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, about a co-habiting pop band. The producers wanted Nesmith and his hat for their Prefab Four, The Monkees.

Admiring Jimi Hendrix chops in a shared bedroom

Monkeemania ensued but Nesmith was quick to push back against the bubblegum material selected by the show’s musical director Don Kirshner. Nesmith negotiated alongside his bandmates for greater control of their output and image. Their subsequent psychedelic film and soundtrack, Head, was a flop (though later lauded as a cult favourite). Still the piece of the puzzle that didn’t fit, he bought his way out of his contract several years early, forfeiting future royalties.

Robert Michael Nesmith was raised by his mother, Bette, who supported him by working as a secretary. Frustrated creating mistakes on her electric typewriter, she developed a typewriter correction fluid. The invention later became Liquid Paper. Bette Nesmith sold the Liquid Paper Corporation to Gillette in 1979 for $48 million. She died a few months later, at age 56, with Michael inheriting the fortune.

Mike Nesmith, the beanie-hatted quiet man of The Monkees, was an accidental trailblazer from a family of accidental trailblazers. He came late to music-making, only picking up a guitar in his early twenties. Yet in a matter of years he was a (somewhat ambivalent) pop star and TV celebrity, then an unsung country rock pioneer and then the man who invented MTV for the guys who invented MTV. Not bad, and maybe not surprising, for the son of an imprecise typist who created Tipp-Ex to cover her errors.
Nesmith never quite made a commercial killing from his almost clairvoyant creativity. While his own songs were hits for the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Run DMC, Frankie Laine and Lynn Anderson, he struggled with fame in a fictional band whose best-loved tunes flowed from the pens of other writers.
The Monkees’ TV show ran for two series from 1966-68 but acquired pop immortality through school holiday repeats. The band members – Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Nesmith – played fictionalised versions of themselves. The Monkees struck popular music with hit songs like “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Daydream Believer” and “I’m A Believer.” The group was created for television, starring in their popular TV sitcom and later spin off motion picture “Head.”
The Monkees broke up in 1969, after which Nesmith formed his First National Band. He also wrote the song Different Drum, which became a major hit for singer Linda Ronstadt.

Nesmith founded Pacific Arts, a multimedia production and distribution company, in 1974. Pacific Arts pioneered the home video market, but collapsed in a dispute with PBS over licensing rights. A federal jury eventually awarded Nesmith $47m in 1999. After filming a music video for his 1977 single Rio, Nesmith came up with the idea of a TV program consisting entirely of music videos. Nesmith called his idea PopClips, which aired on Nickelodeon in 1980. He later sold the PopClips intellectual property to Time Warner, who used it to develop and launch MTV. Intrigued by the promotional possibilities of the embryonic format, Time Warner bought the rights and used it as a template for MTV. 

In 1981, Nesmith 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).

Nesmith’s involvement in various Monkees reunions was sporadic, however, he did rejoin his three amigos in 1996, marking the band’s 30th anniversary with the Justus album and accompanying TV special ‘Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees’, before contributing to the 50th anniversary album Good Times!
The Monkees continued with occasional reunion tours despite the loss of original members Peter Tork and Davy Jones. Remaining members Nesmith and Micky Dolenz ended a tour just weeks before Nesmith’s death. The final date of the tour was held on November 14, 2021, at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

Michael Nesmith crossed the rainbow on December 10, 2021

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Graeme Edge 11-21

Life long drummer for the Moody Blues

Born on March 30, 1941  in Rocester, Staffordshire, Edge co-founded The Moody Blues in 1964 in Birmingham, England, along with original band members Denny Laine, Clint Warwick, Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas.

His mother worked in silent movies as a pianist whilst his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all worked as musical hall singers.

He first moved into the music industry himself as the manager of the Blue Rhythm Band and whilst he did try his hand at the drums from time to time, he only started playing the instrument professionally when he was forced to step in for the drummer, who had quit the group.

In 1964 he formed the original blues-rock band the Moody Blues with Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas, Denny Laine, and Clint Warwick who in January 1965 produced the smash cover hit “Go Now”. (Bessie Banks original)

In the years following, Edge’s influence as a poet who happened to be a drummer as well, moved the band towards the prog rock genre, which they defined as no other group, giving direction to later outfits such as Yes, Barclay James Harvest, Electric Light Orchestra and others. Justin Hayward, who joined with John Lodge in 1966, credits Edge as the one who kept it all together for so may years.

“Graeme and his parents were very kind to me when I first joined the group, and for the first two years he and I either lived together or next door to each other,” Mr Hayward said. “We had fun and laughs all the way, as well as making what was probably the best music of our lives.”

“In the late 1960’s we became the group that Graeme always wanted it to be, and he was called upon to be a poet as well as a drummer,” said Hayward; “He delivered that beautifully and brilliantly, while creating an atmosphere and setting that the music would never have achieved without his words. I asked Jeremy Irons to recreate them for our last tours together and it was absolutely magical.”

Edge’s drumming and spoken word poetry was instrumental to the band’s biggest hits in their “classic” era of the ’60s and into the ’70s, including “Nights in White Satin,” “Tuesday Afternoon,” and “I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band).”

When The Moody Blues went on hiatus from 1974 to 1977, Edge traveled around the world on his yacht and also recorded two solo albums, “Kick Off Your Muddy Boots” (1975) and “Paradise Ballroom” (1978), inspired by his visit to the Caribbean.

In 1978, the band reunited for the album “Octave,” after which they pivoted from prog-rock to a more synth-pop sound in the earlier ’80s. Around this time, Edge linked with a jazz-combo group formed of various musicians from London’s club scene, called Loud, Confident and Rong.  In my opinion, he was one of the most consistently solid British ‘60’s music drummers who continued to perform and record original music right up until late 2017 when The Moody Blues performed a special “Days of Future Passed” concert in Toronto, Ontario, Canada , which was recorded at The Sony Centre Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Graeme composed many of the songs and wrote poetry for The Moody Blues albums along with his fellow band mates Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas and Denny Laine and along with Adrian Gurvitz (Baker-Gurvitz Army), Graeme wrote the songs, recorded the music and performed with his own band..”The Graeme Edge Band”.

After suffering a stroke in 2016, Edge retired from touring in 2019. Yet he remained an official member of The Moody Blues until his death, nearly 60 years after its founding.

“When Graeme told me he was retiring I knew that without him it couldn’t be the Moody Blues anymore,” said Hayward in his statement. “And that’s what happened. It’s true to say that he kept the group together throughout all the years, because he loved it.”

In 2018, The Moody Blues was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their last album was released in 2003. They have sold more than 70 million albums to date. Overall, Edge recorded 16 studio albums with The Mood Blues, ending with 2003’s Christmas-themed “December.”

Graeme passed away from metastatic cancer on November 11th, 2021 at the age of 80 at his home in Bradenton Florida. He had been living there for more than 20 years as he called the area, the last hold out of hippiedom.

Edge, who has married and divorced twice, is survived by his wife, as well as his daughter, Samantha Edge; his son, Matthew; and five grandchildren.

Several fans, musicians and musical institutions paid tribute in the wake of Edge’s passing.

“Graeme was one of the great characters of the music business and there will never be his like again,” Hayward concluded. “My sincerest condolences to his family.”

“Edge’s mystical poetry on the Moodies records created flights of fantasy and otherworldly journeys for generations of fans,” the The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame posted on their official Facebook page with a video of Edge’s speech at The Moody Blues’ induction ceremony.

Rod Argent of The Zombies, The Moody Blues’ rock contemporaries, also shared a statement on the “very sad” news. “Way back in the mid sixties we were invited to a couple of the legendary Moody Blues parties in Roehampton – where the original band had a house – and we particularly remembered how much Graeme, along with the rest of the band, was just so welcoming and hospitable,” he reminisced. “That quality was something Graeme never lost.”

Kiss frontman Paul Stanley tweeted “RIP Graeme Edge” and shared a memory of an “EPIC” performance he attended in 1970. “Sounded just like their recordings. NOBODY could touch them at what they created and to this day you know them as soon as you hear them.”

Bassist John Lodge posted a statement of his own on the band’s official website. “To me he was the White Eagle of the North with his beautiful poetry,” he wrote. “His friendship, his love of life and his ‘unique’ style of drumming that was the engine room of the Moody Blues. … I will miss you Graeme.”

I was fortunate enough as a young kid, to see the original Moody Blues perform Go Now live in the studio in 1965 and was totally blown away. Seven years later I witnessed their genre metamorphosis with an unbelievable concert at Hammersmith-Odeon in London where they performed their perennial hits Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band, Tuesday Afternoon, Nights in White Satin, The Story in your Eyes and all the rest. And even though in my deepest heart I am a blues-rocker, I have always kept a soft spot for the Moody Blues, Supertramp and several of the progressive rock and underground formations.

Home

Buddy Holly
Bar Reunion in Rock and Roll Paradise
Robert Johnson - Sold his Soul at Crossroads in Clarksdale, MS
The Day the Music Died - RIP Buddy Holly @ Ritchie Valens
Jimi Hendrix Memorial near Seattle, WA
Jim Morrison at Pere Lachaise in Paris
Duane Allman - Allman Brothers Band
Elvis - Gravesite at Graceland in Memphis
John Lennon Wall In Prague, Czech Republic
Bob Marley - One Love; made reggae music a world music
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Prince - Brilliantly Extravagant
Chuck Berry - Rollover Beethoven really started the Rock and Roll Era
Stevie Ray Vaughan - His every note became a lightning strike
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Bar Reunion in Rock and Roll Paradise
Robert Johnson - Sold his Soul at Crossroads in Clarksdale, MS
The Day the Music Died - RIP Buddy Holly @ Ritchie Valens
Jimi Hendrix Memorial near Seattle, WA
Jim Morrison at Pere Lachaise in Paris
Duane Allman - Allman Brothers Band
Elvis - Gravesite at Graceland in Memphis
John Lennon Wall In Prague, Czech Republic
Bob Marley - One Love; made reggae music a world music
Freddie Mercury - Superstar Showman/Singer/Songwriter
Prince - Brilliantly Extravagant
Chuck Berry - Rollover Beethoven really started the Rock and Roll Era
Stevie Ray Vaughan - His every note became a lightning strike
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Rock and Roll Heroes. I started this website sometime in 2013 as a legacy site to pay tribute to the many wonderful musicians, singer frontmen and songwriters that paved the soundtrack of my life with their music. As an amateur rocker, who did not only listen to the music, but also played in many coverbands, duos and trios over the decades since rock and roll exploded into our lives, I realized later on in life, as I’m reluctantly entering the supposedly quiet years, that rock music between the mid 1950s and the 1990s, drove our entire culture. More than ever before in history was a global generation defined by music, as Rock and Roll and Rock/Pop became the soundtrack of our lives. It changed and over time defined politics, commerce, industry, transportation, communication, social interaction and education.

For 40 years it guided our sense of values, what was waste, what was cool and what was not. The electric guitar was cool. Rock and Roll was driven by the advance of the electric guitar. It demanded attention, even if only because of the volume and reach. It guided the best educated, revolutionary generation in history into adult hood.

But when our generation and our rock and roll heroes became corporate,  too overly self important and self indulgent, Rock lost its driving cultural influence and handed it over to new genres like Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music (EDM).

By the 1990s, as one generation handed the musical torch to a new generation, rock had been bent and bullied into new music genres, promoted by different music distribution platforms and rapidly advancing entertainment technology outlets, and we kind of turned away from rock as if it were a youthful indiscretion.

And then, as history usually goes, we turned old enough to remember the power of rock in our younger years and we created niche markets for rock to live in, at least for the remainder of our years. As we are entering the third decade of the 21st century, I am noticing that a lot of young females guitarists across the globe are picking up the rock and roll torch, aided by marketing online resources such as youTube, Patreon and Vimeo video channels. It gives me hope for the future of rock and roll. But for now it’s still a derivative of what we did fifty years ago. Give it time and they will make it their own and select new directions for rock and roll.

This website serves most as a tribute to our rock and roll heroes, and a little bit as a reminder to all of us baby boomers and rock music lovers, who picked up a guitar or kicked a drum in our formative years, and gained an understanding of how music transformed us and was our global language.

Johan Ramakers

IN 2021 WE SAID GOODBYE TO:

• Gerry Marsden – singer/guitarist for Gerry and the Pacemakers (September 24, 1942 – January 3, 2021) – blood infection – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Marsden

• Tim Bogert – Bassist/singer for Vanilla Fudge a.o. (August 27, 1944 – January 13, 2021) – Cancer – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Bogert

• Mary Wilson – Singer with the Supremes  (March 6, 1944 – February 8, 2021) – Heart Disease – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Wilson_(singer)

• Sylvain Sylvain – born Sylvain Mizrahi, guitarist for the New York Dolls (February 14, 1951 – January 13, 2021) – cancer – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvain_Sylvain

• Bunny Wailer – Bob Marley and the Wailers (April 10, 1947 – March 2, 2021) – complications of a stroke – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunny_Wailer

• Michael Stanley – Michael Stanley Band (March 25, 1948 – March 5, 2021) – cancer – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Stanley

• Dusty Hill – Bass player/vocals  for ZZ Top (May 19, 1949 – July 28, 2021) – unconfirmed – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dusty_Hill

• Joey Jordison – Drummer/founder of Slipknot (April 26, 1975 – July 26, 2021) – transverse myelitis   – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Jordison#

• Robbie Steinhardt – Violinist/frontman for Kansas (May 25, 1950 – July 17, 2021) – acute pancreatitis – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robby_Steinhardt#

• Charly Watts – Drummer for the Rolling Stones  (2 June 1941 – 24 August 2021) – heart disease – https://rockandrollparadise.com/charlie-watts-8-2021/

• Don Everly – Everly Brothers (February 1, 1937 – August 21, 2021) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Everly_Brothers

•  Jay Black – Jay & the Americans (November 2, 1938 – October 22, 2021) – pneumonia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Black

• Astro – Terence Wilson founding member of UB40 – (24 June 1957 – 6 November 2021) – unknown – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UB40

• John Goodsall – Atomic Rooster guitarist ((15 February 1953 – 11 November 2021) – pneumonia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Goodsall

• Graeme Edge – founding, life-long drummer for the Moody Blues (March 30, 1941 – November 11, 2021) – cancer – https://rockandrollparadise.com/graeme-edge/

• John Miles – Singer/Guitarist – (23 April 1949 – 5 December 2021) – short illness – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Miles_(musician)

• Michael Nesmith – guitarist for the Monkees (December 30, 1942 – December 10, 2021) – heart failure – https://rockandrollparadise.com/michael-nesmith-12-21/

For all the heroes we lost in rock’s history, dating back to the early origins in the late 1930, all the way to the present day, click HERE