In Memoriam: Peter Tork

Peter Tork

Sad news to report: Peter Tork of the ’60s band The Monkees has passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 77 years old. The news was shared by his family on his official website.

“We are all saddened to share the news that Peter Thorkelson – friend, father, husband, grandfather, philosopher, goofball, entertainer – died peacefully this morning at a family home in Connecticut,” a statement read. “Peter succumbed to a 10-year bout with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands. Peter’s energy, intelligence, silliness, and curiosity were traits that for decades brought laughter and enjoyment to millions, including those of us closest to him. Those traits also equipped him well to take on cancer, a condition he met with unwavering humor and courage.”

Tork was born in 1942 in Washington, DC. By the time he joined The Monkees at 24, he had already been a working musician in the budding Greenwich Village folk scene. The band was put together by TV executives to create a rival to The Beatles, and as such had their first two albums already recorded by studio session musicians (later known as The Wrecking Crew). Tork was against the idea and pushed to have the band members perform their own music, which they did starting with their third album, Headquarters. Their first four albums all went to number one in the U.S and top five in the UK with hits like “Daydream Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” and “I’m a Believer.”

Tork quit the band in 1968. He would go on to start his own group, Peter Tork And/Or Release, and start a production company. Neither venture stuck, although he would join the Monkees on several subsequent reunions. Tork also took small acting roles through his life.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Peter Tork.

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