Monkees Peter Tork Turns 70

(Gibson) The bass-playing Monkee, Peter Tork, was born on this day in 1942. He was the folkie of the group, an east coast multi-instrumentalist who played with such Greenwich Village luminaries as John Phillips, Steven Stills and Dave Van Ronk.

In 1965, he landed in Hollywood, along with every other folkie musician looking to play a part in the Troubadour/Whiskey/Sunset Strip musical revolution that was happening in Los Angeles.

Bob "Five Easy Pieces" Rafelson was working on a cutting-edge new TV show loosely inspired by The Beatles' movies and music. Steven Stills chatted with Rafelson at a social function but was told he wasn't photogenic enough for TV. But he liked the concept and told old Greenwich Village buddy Tork about the gig. Tork went along, auditioned and came up with the "dummy" character. "That was my creation," he told Mojo magazine in 1998. "They liked it and that was the role I played on the series."

The Monkees of course became a pop phenomenon, outselling The Beatles in 1967 with an infectious brew of bubblegum and rock and roll. Shot on 35mm film with fast edits, and two free-form music video clips every week, their Emmy-winning show was innovative and different. more on this story

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