Monkees' Peter Tork Dead at 77

Monkees bassist Peter Tork has died at the age of 77. Peter succumbed to a 10 year bout with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands.

The musician's official Facebook page, moderated by family, friends and colleagues of Tork, published a post Thursday stating that they share "the devastating news ... with beyond-heavy and broken hearts".

Tork was born in Washington, 1942, learning the piano as a child before moving to NY in the early 1960s, where he became part of the Greenwich Village folk scene.

Initially, the Monkees was a band whose members didn't play their instruments or write many of their songs, something that infuriated both Tork and Nesmith. But Tork and his bandmates, all proficient musicians themselves, seized control of the recording process after 1967 album "More of the Monkees" was released.

Tork was a fixture in the hip Laurel Canyon artists scene, and was even tapped by George Harrison to record on his 1968 soundtrack album, Wonderwall. "Then he called me a few days later", finally persuading Tork to try out. "He's never forgiven me", Tork said.

Tork was the first member to leave the group, departing at the end of 1968 following work on a freaky Monkees television special, 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee, although he participated in the band's numerous reunions over the years, most recently for their 50th anniversary tour in 2016.

At age 24, he was also the band's oldest member when "The Monkees" premiered on NBC in 1966. I thought The Monkees were great and Peter will be missed.

But a spokesperson told the Telegraph at the time that he was doing well and was set to begin radiation treatment after a short recovery period. However, the diagnosis didn't stop him from making music, as Tork released his last album Relax Your Mind in 2018.

However, Dolenz and Nesmith, without Tork, announced new tour dates for Australia in 2019. Their other original bandmate Davy Jones died in 2012.

"The TV show had this huge ad campaign, and everybody went for all the hype", Tork told the Los Angeles Times in 2008, when he was participating in a 40th anniversary screening of "Head" at the Egyptian.

  • Gwendolyn Kim