Happy Birthday Peter Tork!
Today marks the 72nd birthday of one Peter Halsten Thorkelson – better known to most folks as Peter Tork – and, unlike a couple of his bandmates, he doesn’t have to share it with another Monkee. (In case you didn’t realize it, Michael Nesmith and Davy Jones both entered the world on December 30, albeit in different years.)
Born in Washington, DC, the eventual Mr. Tork started his music career in earnest in the early ‘60s as part of the Greenwich Village folk scene, where he met and established a friendship with fellow folkie Stephen Stills which would ultimately lead him to an audition for The Monkees. Although Tork’s formidable musicianship was limited in the early days of the group, he was able to flex his playing skills a bit more once the Monkees began to record without the influence of music producer and publisher Don Kirshner. Unfortunately, the group dynamic soon began to splinter, resulting in Tork making the decision to buy out his contract in December 1968 and go it alone. Although Tork’s solo career never resulted in any significant chart success, he found his way back into the Billboard Hot 100 when he reteamed with Dolenz and Davy Jones for a Monkees 20th anniversary reunion tour, with the trio recording a new album (Pool It!) and, a few years later, reuniting with Nesmith for one more album as a quartet (Justus).
Although Tork battled through a bout with adenoid cystic carcinoma, his doctors declared him cancer-free in late 2009, and he’s continued to tour ever since, keeping the music going both on his own as well as with his fellow Monkees. In turn, we’ll keep the music going, too, and offer a playlist dedicated to the birthday boy.