Photo via Flickr

One of the first pieces of Dallas trivia that I learned after moving here in 1987: The inventor of Liquid Paper was from here, and she was the mother of a guy from The Monkees.

Just odd and specific enough to be true.

We didn’t know then that Mike Nesmith had just released “Dr. Duck’s Super-Secret All-Purpose Sauce.”

Nesmith, who died last week at age 78, was a pioneer in music videos. “Dr. Duck’s,” which contains music and comedy, is just one example.

Better known is his 1981 video album Elephant Parts. It was first released on VHS, Betamax and LaserDisc, but Nesmith put his video work on YouTube in the 21st century.

This one from Elephant Parts is a classic about how to deal with your neighbors. As we all know, “even the nicest neighborhood can be spoiled by … neighbors.”

Nesmith, who grew up in Dallas and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, was weird and hilarious, and as often happens with artists who are funny, underrated. He was most famous for The Monkees, a boy band that made fun of the world’s most overrated boy band, The Beatles. He wrote and produced some of The Monkees’ songs. He also wrote “Different Drum,” which became a hit for Linda Ronstadt’s band the Stone Poneys in 1967. His own First National Band had a hit with “Joanne” in 1970.

But then in the ’80s, it was like he did whatever he wanted, in the most epic way. If you’ve never seen “Cruisin’,” also on Elephant Parts, you are in for a real treat.

Nesmith’s last solo performance was at The Kessler theater in 2018. Here’s a fan video from that night.


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