In 1977 Michael Nesmith enjoyed a moderate worldwide hit with "Rio," the lead-off track from his eighth post-Monkees album, From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing. During this period, Nez produced a promotional video for the song with director William Dear. That experience helped spur Michael's creation of the first music video television program, PopClips, which originally aired on the Nickelodeon cable network. In 1980, PopClips was sold to Warner/Amex Satellite Entertainment Company, who ultimately developed PopClips into MTV.
After leaving The Monkees in 1970, Michael's interest in production later resulted in the formation of his own corporation in 1974, Pacific Arts, to manage and develop various media projects. In the post-PopClips era, Nez released Elephant Parts on VHS and Betamax, a collection of comedy skits and music videos that won the first-ever Grammy Award for Music Video in 1981. Later in 1985, Television Parts, a comedy-variety series featuring Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Gary Shandling, and many others debuted on NBC. Both productions were hosted and produced by Nesmith. Pacific Arts continued to flourish and by the late 1980s had become a leader in the burgeoning home video market.
As MTV celebrates its 40th anniversary this week, take a look back at the history of the channel and Michael's influence:
Monkees Farewell Tour
Dolenz sings Nesmith