'Monkees' Peter Tork dies at 77

'Monkees' Peter Tork dies at 77”

Veteran musician Peter Tork, better known as a member of the pop group The Monkees, is dead. In 2009, he was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, cancer that affects the tongue.

He was born Peter Halsten Thorkelson on February 13, 1942, in Washington, D.C., to parents John and Virginia Thorkelson.

Watch a 2011 Tork performance from the Paste archives below.

Peter Tork of The Monkees performs live on stage at Town Hall on June 1, 2016 in New York City. The band was notoriously mischievous. He became good friends with Stephen Stills, who auditioned for the Monkees. He was accomplished on guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, banjo and other instruments. He could also hold a tune, and all four members of the band contributed lead vocals in rotation.

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"A band no more - and yet the music plays on - an anthem to all who made the Monkees and the TV show our private - dare I say "secret" - playground".

The group's broadly comic TV series "The Monkees" (1966-1968) was a short-lasting sensation, but also an Emmy victor.

The band released nine albums between 1966 and 1970, after which they disbanded, but they have come back together in various combinations over the years.

The Daydream Believer hitmakers surged in popularity, far beyond the likes of the Beatles and Rolling Stones in 1967 with their album selling 35 million copies, double that of their rivals combined. He would go on to join them for major reunion tours about once each decade, beginning in the mid-'80s.

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All along, Tork and the others defended the band's musical integrity and rejected the criticism that the Monkees were only a fabrication of older TV producers seeking to capitalize on 1960s youth culture. Tork played the "Ringo" role in the group, as a charming and goofy comic foil. Tork had had enough.

The Washington Post noted that for much of the 1970s, Tork struggled on his own as an artist.

He later worked as a high school teacher.

Dolenz and Tork in Australia in December 2016. On his own, he released the positively reviewed solo album "Stranger Things Have Happened" (1994). "There was a magic to that collection". Tork wrote the song "For Pete's Sake", which was used for the closing credits during the Monkees second season. "Please know that Peter was extremely appreciative of you, his Torkees".

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He was married four times and also had a daughter from another relationship.

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