Peter Tork

Rest in Peace

Peter Halsten Thorkelson
February 13, 1942 - February 21, 2019

Peter Tork is remembered and best known as the keyboardist, singer and bass guitarist of the Monkees.

Peter passed away today at the age of 77 after a long battle with cancer. Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his tongue, in 2009.

Tork was born at the former Doctors Hospital, in Washington, D.C - He began studying piano at the age of nine, showing an aptitude for music by learning to play several different instruments, including the banjo and both acoustic bass and guitars.

He attended Carleton College before he moved to New York City, where he became part of the folk music scene in Greenwich Village during the first half of the 1960s. While there, he befriended other up-and-coming musicians such as Stephen Stills.

Stephen Stills had auditioned for the new television series about four pop-rock musicians but was turned down because the show's producers felt his hair and teeth would not photograph well on camera.  They asked Stills if he knew of someone with a similar "open, Nordic look," and Stills suggested Tork audition for the part. Tork got the job and became one of the four members of the Monkees, a fictitious pop band in the mid-1960s, created for a television sitcom written about the fictitious band. Tork was the oldest member of the group.
If the Monkees were a manufactured version of the Beatles, a “prefab four” who auditioned for a rock-and-roll sitcom and were selected more for their long-haired good looks than their musical abilities, Mr. Tork was the group’s Ringo, its lovably goofy supporting player.

The Monkees only ran for two seasons, but won many awards, and their songs were at the top of the charts. In 1967, the Monkees sold 35 million albums — “twice as many as the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined” — on the strength of songs such as “Daydream Believer,” “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” which all rose to No. 1 on the Billboard record chart.

The greatest songwriters of the day wrote songs for the band such as Neil Sedaka, Neil Diamond and Boyce/Hart. The band scored a total of six Top 10 songs and five Top 10 albums,

Post Monkees, Peter continued on with many musical projects and The Monkees continue to tour in one form or another to this day. 

An entire generation grew up on The Monkees, and for many it was their first exposure to Rock n Roll. They were a loveable bunch and Peter especially, with his wide grin and infectious smile. 

It is a very sad day. Another icon of our generation, another symbol of our youth taken. Everyone knew and loved Peter Tork of The Monkees. 

 Thank You for the music Peter Tork! We Love and Miss You!

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