February 13th is the 77th birthday for Peter Tork of the Monkees. Peter began as part of the folk music scene in Greenwich Village in the early 1960’s, where he met, among others, Stephen Stills. In 1966 Stills auditioned for a new TV show about 4 pop-rock musicians. But the show’s producers felt Stills’ teeth and hair wouldn’t photograph well on camera. He recommended Peter Tork, who got the job and became one of the stars of the sitcom.
The original Monkees lineup put out 6 albums…4 of them went to Number 1. Tork, a proficient musician was frustrated the show’s producers wouldn’t let the group play their own instruments on their first 2 albums. But he subsequently played keyboards, bass guitar, banjo, and other instruments on their albums. Saying he was exhausted, Tork bought out the final 4 years of his contract with The Monkees after filming ended for the 1968 season on December 20th. He embarked on a solo career with mixed success, but then reunited for the Monkees 20th anniversary reunion tour in 1986.
Peter had a tough battle with a rare form of head and neck cancer starting in 2009, but continued to perform and received an all clear late in the year. On Wayback Wednesday, here’s Peter performing solo in 2013, doing one of the Monkees’ big hits. Check out the great guitar work on Pleasant Valley Sunday!