Thursday, February 21, 2019

RIP: Peter Tork

Peter Tork, 77, bassist and keyboards for the Monkees, died yesterday of cancer.

Derided unfairly as the Pre-Fab Four, the Monkees nonetheless out-toured and outsold the Beatles at the height of their powers. With characteristic common sense and gentleness, Peter's comment on the group rings through the ages:

"There must have been something to us. We sure sold a lot of records."
Indeed they did. It's time for the prissy prigs to end the travesty, and put the group in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, where they belong, and while surviving band members Mickey Dolenz and Mike Nesmith are still alive to rake in the long-overdue honor.

Enjoy Peter, getting the girl for once.


Wayne said...

Another Daydream Believer took the Last Train to Clarksville on a Pleasant Valley Sunday.

Pat H. said...

Wasn't Tork involved with starting up rock video's on TV?

S. Richard said...

That is one of my favorite tunes. Tork played a double-tracked bass on it. Pat, Michael Nesmith is credited with inventing MTV. He did a show on Nickelodeon called "PopClips" that was later developed into the MTV idea.

Partisan80 said...

Fackin cancer; the slow bullet.

Learned today of an eight year old that lives ten years on after her last marrow transplant. I double that. We survive.

Hendrix Stone Free, our celebration song.

Will said...

NPR claimed that in 1967 they outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones COMBINED. Doesn't seem like they got much of the money they generated, though.

McChuck said...

I remember watching their show way back when. They were way better than Soul Train.

RDB said...

2 Beatles + 2 Monkees = British rock super group.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any Monkee played a single note on any of their records.

Take a look at the ridiculous way Mickey Dolenz' drums were set up.

Like just about every other west Coast band of the era, the LA studio cats called "The Wrecking Crew" gave all of those songs their professional sheen.

Their songs were written by real heavies like Neil Diamond, and I think the only tracks recorded by the Monkee were the lead and some backing vocals.

The only musician with real talent was Mike Nesmith, who went on to make some pretty interesting records post Monkees.

Still, they did have some really good songs, but could never be considered to be in the same league as the Beatles.

billrla said...

I think I had a shirt like that. And bellbottoms. In elementary school, no less.

SiGraybeard said...

Based on the sample of junior high school girls I knew back then(so it must be true!) Peter was like the Marianne of the Monkees.

Allow me to explain. Gilligan's Island put up Ginger (the 'movie star'), expecting she'd be the show "pin up", but all the guys fell for Marianne. The Monkees put up Davey Jones, but all the junior high geek girls fell for Peter.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

I still like their music. Watched the show every saturday. I think Dolenz mom invented whiteout. Have their songs on my phone.

Aesop said...

Nesmith's mom invented White Out.

Aesop said...

@Anonymous 9:08A

Nesmith and Tork were musicians before the group was formed, and Jones had been a singer in show business on Broadway. And Dolenz carried more than his share of vocal work throughout their career.

Yes, the Wrecking Crew played mainly on their first album, like they did for Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, and 150 other "real" musical acts of the period. Were all those other acts "fake"?

The group members played their own instruments on tours and subsequent albums.
Don't confuse what you see on clips from a TV show with music videos from twenty-five years later. Everything on TV at that stage was dubbed from studio track. Most of it (99.999%) still is today, fifty years later. Why risk production time on a live performance, when you have a pristine studio version in the can? You simply don't do that (and if you try, and fail, you get fired as a director or producer. Production time is money, and you've got 100+ people standing around at union rates.)

And neither Elvis nor Frank Sinatra wrote much, if any, of their own music nor played their own instruments for the most part. So the eff what?
Glen Campbell was part of the Wrecking Crew, but couldn't read a note of music. Does that make him a fake guitarist, after playing on 150 other people's albums?

So once again you miss the greater point:

They outsold the Beatles, in albums and concerts, in the Beatles' heyday, and were as legit as any other garage-band-cum-rock-stars from any other era. And always will be.

Four guys meet in a pub in Liverpool.
Four others meet on a soundstage in Burbank.
Both groups fill stadiums and sell millions of records with their music.
Trying to legitimize one and delegitimize the other is stupid and pointless.

Listen to the music, man. That's the point.

Wayne said...

WhiteOut? That’s rayciss!

Roy said...

I don't begrudge anyone their own personal taste in entertainment, but I never thought the Beatles were all that the hype made them to be. I liked some of their songs - from their earlier years, but most of their later stuff I just didn't care for at all.

The Monkees, on the other hand, I liked a lot, and still do.

The Monkees were popular when I was in High School. Their type of music was what the stoner set called "bubblegum". Regardless, I liked it and still have some of the original vinyl that I bought way back then. My favorite is still "Daydream Believer".

Anonymous said...

Yo Aesop,

Who is calling anybody "fake".

I conceded that the Monkees put out some great songs, about three of them that anyone but a Monkees fanatic could remember.

The Beatles wrote, played and sang on every song they produced.

They were probably one of the first bands to do so, and ushered in an era of real musicians in bands taking the place of studio hired guns.

The Beatles changed rock music forever.

The Monkees were a novelty act and a pale imitation.

idahobob said...

IMHO, the Monkees were a no talent group. I did not then, nor now like the "music" that they put out.

Roy said...

Free American citizens are allowed to have different tastes.

Aesop said...

The Beatles main innovation was that they put out an album with 10 songs, not two original singles and 8 rehashed covers of the record company's hot playlist.
This was unheard of at the time.
You get an inkling of this dynamic with Tom Hanks' inside-baseball flick That Thing You Do.

The Monkees "novelty act" both stands the test of time, and outshone the Beatles in the day.

And even John Lennon acknowledged their chops backstage to them at one point.
He, of all people, knew the kind of pressure they were under once they bottled lightning.

What they didn't have was five years working in crappy German clubs polishing their craft and molding into a solid got-your-back group. They were nonetheless full-fledged rockstar badasses, and deserve the props for pulling it off in the most musically dynamic and culturally chaotic era of the past century.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

It's nice to be occasionally reminded of those who become famous and are still able to live a straight life without any scandals or "questionable" episodes.

Peter Tork seemed like quite the quintessential "regular guy".

I never knew he was actually a multi-instrumentalist:
Written by Mike Nesmith
Mickey Dolenz on lead vocals
Peter Tork on harpsichord
...and the end result----one terrific classic song!
Many thanks to Johnny Rabbit on KMOX in St. Louis for providing me with the above information.