In Memoriam: Peter Tork (1942 – 2019)

February 21, 2019
Editor In Chief

Peter Halsten Thorkelson (February 13, 1942 – February 21, 2019), better known as Peter Tork, was an American musician and actor, best known as the keyboardist and bass guitarist of the Monkees.

On March 3, 2009, Tork reported on his website that he had been diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare, slow-growing form of head and neck cancer. A preliminary biopsy discovered that the cancer had not spread beyond the initial site. “It’s a bad news / good news situation,” explained Tork. “It’s so rare a combination (on the tongue) that there isn’t a lot of experience among the medical community about this particular combination. On the other hand, the type of cancer it is, never mind the location, is somewhat well known, and the prognosis, I’m told, is good.” Tork underwent radiation treatment to prevent the cancer from returning.

On March 4, 2009, Tork underwent extensive surgery in New York City, which was successful.

On June 11, 2009, a spokesman for Tork reported that his cancer had returned. Tork was reportedly “shaken but not stirred” by the news, and said that the doctors had given him an 80% chance of containing and shrinking the new tumor.

In July 2009, while undergoing radiation therapy, he was interviewed by the Washington Post: “I recovered very quickly after my surgery, and I’ve been hoping that my better-than-average constitution will keep the worst effects of radiation at bay. My voice and energy still seem to be in decent shape, so maybe I can pull these gigs off after all.” He continued to tour and perform while receiving his treatments.

On September 15, 2009, Tork received an “all clear” from his doctor.

Tork documented his cancer experience on Facebook and encouraged his fans to support research efforts of the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation.

Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died Feb. 21. He was 77.

The death was announced by his official Facebook page.

Artist Countdown: Monkees Top 30 12p ET @RadioMax

December 28, 2013
Editor In Chief

MonkeesThe Monkees are an American pop/rock band that released music in their original incarnation between 1966 and 1970, with subsequent reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. Formed in Los Angeles in 1965 by Robert “Bob” Rafelson and Bert Schneider for the American television series The Monkees, which aired from 1966–1968, the musical acting quartet was composed of Americans Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork, and Englishman Davy Jones. The band’s music was initially supervised by producer Don Kirshner.

Described by Dolenz as initially being “a TV show about an imaginary band that wanted to be The Beatles, [but] that was never successful”, the actor-musicians soon became a real band. As Dolenz would later describe it, “The Monkees really becoming a band was like the equivalent of Leonard Nimoy really becoming a Vulcan.”

For the first few months of their almost five-year initial career, the four actor-musicians were allowed only limited roles in the recording studio. This was due in part to the excessive time spent filming the television series, which in turn limited the amount of time available to the group to rehearse and coalesce as a band. Nonetheless, Nesmith did compose and produce some songs from the beginning, and Peter Tork contributed limited guitar work on the Nesmith-produced sessions. They soon fought for and earned the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band’s name. Although the sitcom was canceled in 1968, the band continued to record music through 1971.

In 1986, the television show experienced a revival, which led to a series of reunion tours and new records. Up until 2011, the group has reunited and toured several times, to varying degrees of success. Despite the sudden death of Davy Jones in February 2012, the surviving members reunited for a tour in November–December 2012, and again in 2013 for a 24- date tour.

The Monkees had international hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville”, “Pleasant Valley Sunday“, and “Daydream Believer”. At their peak in 1967, the band outsold both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. As of 2012, their albums and singles have sold over 65 million copies worldwide.  (Source: Wikipedia)

1 I’m a Believer
2 Daydream Believer
3 A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You
4 Valleri
5 Pleasant Valley Sunday
6 Last Train to Clarksville
7 D. W. Washburn
8 Alternate Title (a.k.a. “Randy Scouse Git”)
9 Tear Drop City
10 That Was Then, This Is Now
11 (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone 
12 Good Clean Fun 
13 Listen to the Band 
14 Porpoise Song
15 Words
16 Tapioca Tundra
17 It’s Nice To Be With You
18 Someday Man
19 The Girl I Knew Somewhere
20 Daydream Believer (remix) 
21 As We Go Along
22 Oh My My
23 (Theme From) The Monkees 
24 Mary, Mary
25 She 
26 I Wanna Be Free
27 Goin’ Down
28 Heart and Soul
29 Mommy and Daddy
30 Take a Giant Step
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