Vintage Video: Michael Nesmith Performs "Joanne"

Today, December 30, is an important day in Monkees history, both good and bad.

It was on this day in 1969 that Peter Tork bought out his contract with the band.

If he were still alive, it would be the 70th birthday of Davy Jones.

It is also the 73rd birthday of the great Michael Nesmith, a man that took his success with the Monkees and turned it into a long career as a songwriter (Different Drum), film producer (Repo Man), successful solo artist and, most importantly, a pioneer of music videos.

Nesmith had a worldwide hit in 1977 with Rio, which included his first foray into music videos. The video for the song contained many of the elements that would become standard in the 80's with the MTV revolution.

His ongoing work in music videos saw him create the program PopClips for the Nickelodeon network and, in 1980, the program was purchased by Time Warner/Amex who used it as the basis for the MTV network.

Nesmith later won the first Grammy for Long Form Video in 1982 for his Elephant Parts. His expertise was also used as a producer on the videos for Lionel Richie's All Night Long and Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel.

If being a pioneer of music videos wasn't enough, Nesmith is also credited as being an early pioneer of country rock with his first three solo albums with the First, Second and Third National Bands. In 1970, his single Joanne went to number 21 on the Hot 100 and 6 on the Adult Contemporary charts.

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