Sadly we lost another music legend today as Peter Tork,guitarist,keyboard player,and background vocalist for the 60’s iconic musical group The Monkees passed away today just one week after his 77th Birthday from complications due to a rare form of cancer. Of course as most of you know The Monkees were NOT organically formed rather they were created by Hollywood TV producers at Screen Gems Productions as they were trying to re-create a TV/Americanized version of The Beatles. Hundreds of people applied for the newspaper ad in both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter magazines including future member of the group Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills and Nash(and Young) Stephen Stills. Producers of this new show Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson rejected Stills because of his looks. He later told his good friend Peter Tork and the rest is history. Soon The Monkees were formed along with bandnmates/c0-stars Mickey Dolenz,Davy Jones and Mike Nesmith. Combined with legendary record producer Don Kirshner and a massive songwriting team which included Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart,Neil Diamond and even band members Mike Nesmith and Peter Tork contributed to the song writing which included massive world wide hit singles such as Last Train To Clarksville,I’m A Believer,Valleri,A Little Bit Me,A Little Bit You,Daydream Believer,Pleasant Valley Sunday and many more only The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were close to them sales wise,in fact The Monkees were the #1 musical act in the world in the year 1967! Peter contributed a lot to the group musically as only he and Mike Nesmith were the only members of the group that were classically trained musically to play instruments. The fact that their first 2 albums they didn’t play hardly any instruments on their own,studio musicians played on all of their hit songs. It wasn’t until all four members demanded to play their own instruments or they would quit the band that they were allowed to play on their 3rd album,Headquarters released in May 1967 it became their 3rd of 4 number one albums and 4th of 5 Top Ten LP’s released from October 1966 to April 1968. Sadly their NBC television series which aired during prime time from September 1966 to March of 1968 for two seasons was cancelled. They won 2 Emmy Awards, one for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1967. The TV series broke new ground as being what many people saw as the fore-fathers to music videos as they would feature 2 new songs to the show with every episode. Although the show was cancelled by NBC the very next year CBS picked the show up and aired it on Saturday mornings where it was even more successful and it ran on Saturdays for years. It is here where I found them and fell in love with their show and their songs. In fact ALL four members of the group said that they were proud that the show aired during that time endeared them to a younger generation of music fans. By 1968 they filmed the motion picture Head, which didn’t do well at the box office. That and being tired of the constant touring and the industry as a whole, Peter resigned from the band in early 1969. The group would go on with just Nesmith,Jones and Dolenz but only until 1970 when Mike Nesmith left the band leaving only Micky and David and soon they decided to disband. Micky,Davy and Peter reunited in 1986 with a new Greatest Hits LP package complete with 3 new songs including “That Was Then,This Is Now”,which became their first Top 20 hit song in nearly twenty years. Actually only Peter and Micky participated in the recording but Davy Jones joined them in a 20 Year Reunion Tour. Peter did release a solo album,in 1994 titled Stranger Things Have Happened which bandmates Mike and Micky contributed on. Peter toured not only with The Monkees but with his own bands, The Peter Tork Project and Shoe Suede Blues. As recently as 2016 Peter toured with Micky and sometimes Mike playing all their hits and a segment during the concert that was dedicated to bandmate Davy Jones who sadly passed away in 2012. Peter leaves a legacy of legitimacy as far as the music of The Monkees are concerned. His most famous song that he wrote was entitled “For Pete’s Sake” which became the TV show’s closing theme during the show’s 2nd season. He will be missed not only by his bandmates but millions of Monkee fans around the world. RIP Peter……..FOR PETE’S SAKE.
~Leslie”LROB”Robinson,Creator/Exec.Prod./Host-DJ-Rewind RADIO NOW