This February marked the 55th anniversary of the Beatles first television appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, truly a defining moment in the history of music. Sadly, during this time of commemoration – this time of 60’s nostalgia – Peter Tork of The Monkees succumbed to his illness on Feb.21, 2019.
By 1966, the music created by the Fab Four became more complex; they also decided to stop touring and strictly be a “studio band.” As “Beatlemania” began to wane in the middle part of the 60’s, the Monkees filled the void. Although intended to be a “fictional band,” the Monkees became one of the most successful musical acts of the 60’s.
“Monkee-Mania” gave us four endearing characters with distinct personalities. Peter Tork played the role of the Harpo-esque, “lovable dummy.” However, that persona was far from reality. Peter Tork was a proficient musician, capable of playing several instruments; and, unlike his band mates, he was allowed to play musical instruments on the first two Monkee albums. Additionally, in 1967, during a trip to London, Peter Tork contributed banjo to George Harrison’s soundtrack to the 1968 film Wonderwall.
The passing of Peter Tork has left a noticeable void in the world of 60’s pop music. In a bizarre way, Peter Tork took a part of the 60’s – the very best part of the 60’s – with him to the “big gig in the sky.” Peter Tork will be sorely missed.
John Di Genio
Albert J. Cupo