Another one gone, another one gone, another one bites the dust. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Peter Tork of The Monkees passed away earlier this week at age 77.
I was a Monkees fan from the get-go, and Peter was always kind of my favorite. The part he played on TV was kind of the dumb guy (not type casting), which of course was hilarious, at least to a 9-year-old kid. I was around 9 when the TV show premiered the first of its only two seasons. The weird thing is, as a band, The Monkees were sort of an accidental success. A couple of them actually took lessons to learn how to play the instruments they were pretending to play on the show! On the records, it was mostly studio musicians, but it’s obvious that those were actually their voices.
Recently, I’ve had occasion to watch reruns of the TV show, and I’m pretty surprised at how terrible it is — no disrespect intended. I can’t believe it actually won an Emmy! Maybe I just caught a couple of bad reruns. Back in the day, I was in front of the TV at 6:30 every Monday like clockwork! I used to buy these things from the candy store — instead of trading cards, they made “Monkee Movies” — little flip books that would give you a motion picture of about 3 seconds of the show. And of course, each Monkee Movie came with a stick of stale bubble gum.
They made 5 albums while all 4 of them were together. And unlike my opinion of the TV show, I still love the albums! The least successful one (meaning it stayed at #1 for the least amount of time), Headquarters, was the one where they were personally more involved with the music than any of the others. My favorite song with a Peter lead vocal, “Shades of Gray” is on that album.
I find it ironic that they were a “band” created by TV producers simply to piggy-back on the success of The Beatles. And now, just like The Beatles, there are only 2 out of 4 Monkees left.
Farewell, Mr. Tork. Here are some more details about Peter and The Monkees: https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/peter-tork-of-the-monkees-dead-at-77-report-says