Saturday 23 March 2019

Monkees stars ‘heartbroken’ over death of bandmate Peter Tork

He was known as the slightly goofy member of the hit made-for-TV group of the 1960s.

Monkees stars ‘heartbroken’ as bandmate Peter Tork dies at 77 (PA Archive/PA)
Monkees stars ‘heartbroken’ as bandmate Peter Tork dies at 77 (PA Archive/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone and Craig Simpson, Press Association

Stars of The Monkees have told of their heartbreak following the news of bandmate Peter Tork’s death.

Tork was best known as the keyboardist and bassist in the popular American TV pop quartet, which achieved widespread fame in the 1960s and had hits including I’m A Believer and Daydream Believer.

The American musician and actor “passed peacefully” at the age of 77, a post on The Monkees’ official Twitter page said.

Monkees members Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith paid tribute to their colleague, with Dolenz tweeting: “There are no words right now… heart broken over the loss of my Monkee brother, Peter Tork.”

Nesmith wrote on Facebook: “Just got the news that Peter died. I am heartbroken.”

Tork was hailed an “amazing soul” by those close to him as his death was announced on his official Facebook page.

A statement on the page said: “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.

“Please know that Peter was extremely appreciative of you, his Torkees, and one of his deepest joys was to be out in front of you, playing his music, and seeing you enjoy what he had to share.

“We send blessings and thoughts of comfort to you all, with much gratitude.”

Tork’s death comes seven years after The Monkees’ British-born member Davy Jones died in 2012 at the age of 66.

Carole King, Graham Coxon and Brian Wilson were among the stars paying tribute to Tork on social media.

Singer King simply wrote “R.I.P. Peter Tork”, while Blur guitarist Coxon said that Tork was his “favourite Monkee”.

Beach Boys star Wilson tweeted: “I’m sad to hear about Peter Tork passing. I thought The Monkees were great and Peter will be missed.

“Love & mercy to Peter’s family, friends and fans.”

Songwriter Diane Warren tweeted: “Oh no RIP Peter Tork. Thank U for giving me your love beads (it was the 60s!) when I was a little girl.”

Director and producer Edgar Wright lamented the fact he never got to meet Tork, tweeting: “RIP Peter Tork of The Monkees. Never got to meet the man.”

Tork became part of the thriving folk scene in Greenwich village, before auditioning for a planned series about a fictitious pop four-piece.

The series became The Monkees, and Tork was the slightly goofy keyboard and bass player alongside Dolenz, Nesmith and Jones.

After their formation in 1966, the made-for-TV group had number one hits with I’m A Believer, Daydream Believer, and Last Train To Clarksville soon after they were established.

Following The Monkees, Tork worked in collaboration with several musicians including George Harrison, for whom he played banjo.

There followed an unsuccessful period with band Release, and a spell in prison for drugs possession.

He later took part in reunion tours with The Monkees. 

He was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

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