Sorry to be the bringer of bad news on this gloriously sunny and fresh Friday afternoon (Is it spring yet? It feels like it), but Monkee Peter Tork has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that is affecting his tongue.
I am not one for collective solemnity along the lines of politicians declaring that “our thoughts and prayers” are with people they have never met, but I do wish this fella well and hope, for him and his loved ones, that he can pull through without discomfort or pain.
There are few that I wouldn’t wish well in such a situation, but I guess the fact it’s a Monkee, forever young, with all that they meant to my childhood, makes me feel that this is worth bringing to your attention. Tork had to play the twit and with his big smile, Beatle mop and a Stan Laurel look of perplexity he was a big favourite with seven year olds. As we later discovered, he was the best musician and a man of great intelligence.
I was lucky enough to have parents with a fantastic record collection, but a pal of mine had to work it all out for himself. For 40-somethings in the latter category, The Monkees and the Banana Splits would have been your introduction to pop music.
And amazingly, despite being a contrived, made-for-television band, the Monkees were bloody fantastic. I wouldn’t care if I never heard either Daydream Believer or I’m a Believer ever again, but they are both great pop records. However, they cut a whole bunch of songs that I would be desperately upset if I were to never hear them again; Pleasant Valley Sunday, Valleri, Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow), Last Train to Clarksville, She, Stepping Stone and my favourite, Words.
As good as any of them is the song co-written by Tork to close the show; For Pete’s Sake. I couldn’t find a clip of it from the show but that’s by the by, on behalf of everyone at Pop Junkie I’d like to wish him well.