Beloved Member of The Monkees Passes Away After Decade Long Health Battle

February 21, 2019Feb 21, 2019

Fans of the Monkees are mourning the passing of one of their own. Peter Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, has died.

The Monkees were a made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles. The "prefab four" were selected for their looks more than their musical talent, but TOrk had actual musical abilities.

The goofy and lovable bassist died on February 21. He was 77.

His death was confirmed by his sister Anne Thorkelson, who did not say where or how he died. Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, rare cancer affecting his tongue, in 2009.

Tork could play multiple instruments, but he mostly played bass and keyboard for the Monkees. He also sang lead on a few of their track including "Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again," "Head," and "Your Auntie Grizelda."

The band featured Tork alongside Michael Nesmith, a singer-songwriter who played guitar, and former child actors Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, who played the drums and sang lead, respectively.

"The Monkees" ran for only two seasons. However, they won an Emmy Award for outstanding comedy and the show led to frenzied merchandising, record sales, and world tours that became known as "Monkeemania."

In 1967, according to one report in The Washington Post, the Monkees sold 35 million albums. That was "twice as many as the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined."

In the late 60s, Tork left the group because he wanted to be more serious musically. For much of the 1970s, Tork struggled to find his own way in music and formed an unsuccessful band called Release.

He was even imprisoned for several months in 1972 after being caught with "$3 worth of hashish in my pocket." After, he worked as a high school teacher and "singing waiter."

He also said he struggled with alcohol addiction before quitting alcohol in the early 1980s. By the time he was sober, interest in the Monkees had resurfaced. He joined a reunion tour

Tork is survived by his wife, Pamela Grapes; a daughter, Hallie, from his second marriage; a son, Ivan, from his third marriage; a daughter, Erica, from a relationship with Tammy Sustek; a brother; and a sister.

Please pray for all those who mourn Tork. May God comfort them in their sorrow.