The Story Behind Michael Nesmith’s Hit Song For Linda Ronstadt
via Risjah / Youtube
Writing original songs were always been a source of frustration for The Monkees. Even so, Mike Nesmith had a hit with a Linda Ronstadt classic “Different Drum,” a song he’d written that he had given to the singer.
Just a year after the iconic The Monkees TV program, Linda Ronstadt made waves when she garnered the 13th spot on the Billboard 100 with her band The Stone Poneys. While it was a successful year for The Monkees, who also happened to garner 5 spots on the charts, Mikey Dolenz admitted that “Different Drum” would’ve also been a part of the band’s repertoire, had it not been rejected by the producers.
Speaking with Ultimate Classic Rock, Dolenz revealed how Nesmith got frustrated with how the way things were run before. “He went to the [Monkees] producers in the early days and brought ‘em ‘Different Drum.’ He played it for them, and they said, ‘Well, that’s nice, but it’s not a Monkees tune,” Dolenz recalled. “He [Nesmith] said, ‘Wait a minute. I am one of the Monkees.’ They said, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know. But no thanks. It’s really not a Monkees tune.’ So, he said, ‘Okay,’ and gave it to Linda Ronstadt, and look what happened.”
The Ronstadt version wasn’t the original, either. It was written by Nesmith in early 1964 and was recorded by the Greenbriar Boys in 1965. After the two versions, Nesmith used the material for his solo album, which included a never-before-heard verse.