Remembering Peter Tork, who Monkee-d around in Morristown

Peter Tork takes a cue from Micky Dolenz at Monkees show in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Peter Tork takes a cue from Micky Dolenz at Monkees 2015 show in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Peter Tork, who brought echoes of his 1960s fame with the Monkees to Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center in recent years, has died. He was 77.

“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,” his Facebook page announced on Thursday.

Tork was diagnosed a decade ago with a rare form of cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma.

“There are no words right now…heart broken by the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork,” former Monkee Micky Dolenz tweeted.

micky dolenz tweet on peter tork death

Though derided by critics as the “Pre-Fab Four”– made-for-TV knockoffs of the Beatles–the Monkees scored a string of hits (I’m a Believer, Daydream Believer, Last Train to Clarksville) and four No. 1 albums in the late ’60s.

Tork was touted for the Monkees by his pal Stephen Stills, who didn’t pass the audition. George Harrison invited Tork to play banjo on his Wonder Wall soundtrack.

With Monkee mates Dolenz and Davy Jones, Tork played MPAC in 2011. Jones died the next year, of a heart attack at age 66. Tork and Dolenz carried on, returning to Morristown in 2015.

Peter Tork, the late Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in 2011. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Peter Tork, the late Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in 2011. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“For those with us from the start, remember one thing,” Peter deadpanned at that show. “Any one thing.”

 

Peter Tork of The Monkees, at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, June 9, 2011
Peter Tork of The Monkees, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown in 2011. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

The other Monkee, Michael Nesmith, started playing reunion shows after Jones’ death. Nesmith, Dolenz and Tork last performed together in 2016, in Hollywood.

The Monkees held a special place in this fan’s childhood, and one of my first celebrity interviews as a cub reporter was with an understandably testy Tork.

It took decades, but I finally got another crack at a Monkee. Here is my 2015 podcast with Micky Dolenz.

R.I.P., Peter. Thanks for the memories.

Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork of The Monkees, with Micky's sister, Coco Dolenz, at MPAC in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork of The Monkees, with Micky’s sister, Coco Dolenz, at MPAC in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork of The Monkees, with Micky's sister, Coco Dolenz, at MPAC. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Peter Tork of The Monkees performs at the Mayo in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin for MorristownGreen.com
Peter Tork of The Monkees at the Mayo in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Peter Tork of The Monkees at the Mayo in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Peter Tork of The Monkees at the Mayo in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Peter Tork of The Monkees at the Mayo in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Peter Tork of The Monkees at the Mayo in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Peter Tork of The Monkees at the Mayo in 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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