Peter Tork, the bassist for the ’60s teen-pop band The Monkees, passed away Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. He was 77 years old.
While the cause of his death has not yet been reported, Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare tongue cancer, in 2009, according to Variety.
“It is with beyond-heavy and broken hearts that we share the devastating news that our friend, mentor, teacher, and amazing soul, Peter Tork, has passed from this world,” Peter Tork’s Facebook page shared late Thursday morning.
Tork played multiple instruments for the band but mostly played bass and keyboard. He also sang lead on tracks like “Long Title: Do I have to Do This All Over Again.”
The Monkees was created for a television show that aired on NBC in 1966 by producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider. The idea was to create an American version of The Beatles as depicted in their debut film “A Hard Day’s Night.”
Other members of the band included Michael Nesmith on the guitar, Micky Dolenz on the drums and the lead singer Davy Jones, who passed away in 2012.
To say that the show (and the band) was a success would be an understatement.
“The Monkees” saw incredible box-office and chart numbers with hits like “Day Dream Believer,” “Me & Magdalena” and “I’m A Believer.”
After the group matured and began to desire to be taken more seriously, they split from the fabricated television show to record the album and film the movie, “Head” in 1968. It wasn’t received well and the band split not too long after.
That hasn’t stopped the musicians from reuniting from time to time for various shows including for the 50-year anniversary of “Head.”
After learning of Tork’s death, a number of people have expressed their condolences on Twitter, including Micky Dolenz, one of Tork’s fellow Monkees band member.
— Micky Dolenz (@TheMickyDolenz1) February 21, 2019
Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys also expressed his sadness over the news.
I’m sad to hear about Peter Tork passing. I thought The Monkees were great and Peter will be missed. Love & mercy to Peter’s family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/NquzjTmtFx
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) February 21, 2019
Pulitzer Prize winner Seve Silberman even shared a piece of uncommon knowledge in the wake of Tork’s death.
Many folks don’t know that Peter Tork and Stephen Stills came up in the Greenwich Village coffeehouse scene together. Stills even auditioned for the Monkees, but was rejected for having bad teeth. RIP Peter, you seemed like a gentle soul. [Photo by Nurit Wilde] pic.twitter.com/lmV0BBFKTm
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) February 21, 2019
“We want to thank each and every one of you for your love, dedication and support of our ‘boss,'” Tork’s family and friends wrote on his Facebook page.
“Having you in our world has meant so very much to all of us. Please know that Peter was extremely appreciative of you, his Torkees, and one of his deepest joys was to be out in front of you, playing his music, and seeing you enjoy what he had to share.”
Tork’s friends and family have asked for respect as they grieve and process the heartbreaking news. Our prayers are with them as they do so.
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