A Fond Farewell to Peter Tork

Note: The featured image at the top of this article is available full-sized on the Rock Icon Wallpaper by Doctör Ivan page, under the “Images” tab at the top of this blog. Thanks Doc, wonderful job, as usual!

What a major, major bummer…

Peter Tork of The Monkees (and many other bands) passed away on February 21, 2019 at 77 years of age, a victim of cancer.

A multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, Tork was considered the most technically skilled in the group. He was trained classically and played guitar, steel guitar, bass, banjo, and brass, to name just a few instruments. Peter was particularly well-known for his talent on keyboards.

Peter Tork - Keyboards
“Daydream Believer”, from a music video on “The Monkees” TV series.

Peter Tork - Steel GuitarAt least I’m glad I got to see Tork live, 6 years ago at the Paramount in Denver with my daughter and very young granddaughter (who I had converted into a total Monkees nut by then, and it didn’t take much). That show was heartbreaking enough, since it was after Jones‘ death and she kept asking about Davy. Of course, like just about all of their female fans, he was her favorite. Needless to say, kids that age don’t fully understand the finality of death.

They did have video of Jones up on the backdrop big screen during songs like “Daydream Believer” doing that famous boogaloo dance of his, later parroted by Axl Rose. Just watch this video, and I think you’ll agree: Axl Rose vs. Davy Jones

It was apparent that Jones was a true brother to the rest of the band, one that they’ve never forgotten. I’m sure that’s certain to be the case with Tork as well.

Contrary to popular belief, while it’s true that they only performed vocals on their first two albums due to their musical output being tightly controlled by Don Kirshner (who was later fired), they played their own instruments on every album that followed, the first being “Headquarters”.

Peter Tork live

Peter Tork - Banjo

Now, the biggest shame of this all: They’ve still haven’t been inducted into the R&RHoF.

The Monkees were unique in so many ways… Here’s just a few examples:

  • 75 million records sold worldwide.
  • Nesmith is considered one of the fathers of Country Rock.
  • They invented the concept of the TV music video, when Viacom MTV was still a stain on the mattress (as they still are). Just have a look at the end of any episode on their TV show.
  • First Rock band to use a Moog synthesizer in the studio, played by Dolenz on songs like “Daily Nightly” and “Star Collector”.
  • Any musician around my age who says that this band wasn’t some sort of influence on them is simply full of shit. In my case, it was the very first inspiration I had to pick up a pair of drum sticks.
  • At one point, Jimi Hendrix warmed up for them, and later quit the tour as he was constantly and unceremoniously being booed off the stage by fans of the band. I’m certainly not saying they were better than Hendrix, but it’s a great example of just how beloved the Monkees were to their audience.
  • They remain popular with legions of fans worldwide to this very day, including me.

I could go on a long time with points like this, but that should be more than enough considering the pitiful acts and people they continue to induct nowadays. Here’s a great example: Green Day over the Monkees? Remember Don Kirshner from earlier in this article? Well, he’s even in there! Give me a fucking break.

RIP Peter, you’ll be sorely missed by millions man!

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