Today in Music History: Remembering Peter Tork on his birthday

Peter Tork takes the mic with the Monkees in London, 1967.
Peter Tork takes the mic with the Monkees in London, 1967. (Mike McLaren/Central Press/Getty Images)

History Highlight:

Peter Halsten Thorkelson, known professionally as Peter Tork, was born today in 1942. He was best-known as the keyboardist and bass guitarist of The Monkees. Tork was a proficient musician before he joined The Monkees, and though other members of the group were not allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums, he played what he described as "third chair guitar" on "Papa Gene's Blues" on the group's first album. Tork recorded his debut solo album Stranger Things Have Happened in 1994, and later toured with his blues band Shoe Suede Blues. He passed away on February 21, 2019.

Also, Today In:

1961 - Frank Sinatra started his own recording label, Reprise.

1967 - The Monkees announced that from now on they would be playing on their own recordings instead of session musicians.

1967 - The Beatles released the double A sided single 'Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane' on Capitol Records in the US. The single spent 10 weeks on the chart peaking at No.1.

1969 - Bob Dylan recorded versions of "Lay, Lady, Lay" at Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. The song was originally written for the soundtrack of the movie Midnight Cowboy, but wasn't submitted in time to be included in the finished film. The song has gone on to become a standard and has been covered by numerous bands and artists over the years, including The Byrds, The Everly Brothers, Neil Diamond, The Isley Brothers, Duran Duran, and Isaac Hayes, to name a few.

1970 - Black Sabbath released their debut self-titled studio album on Vertigo records in the U.K. Peaking at No. 8 on the charts, the album has been recognized as the first album to be credited with the development of the heavy metal genre.

1971 - The Osmonds started a five-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "One Bad Apple".

1980 - Police raided the home of former Sex Pistols John Lydon who greeted them waving a ceremonial sword. The only illegal item they found was a canister of tear gas, claimed to be for defence against intruders.

1981 - Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of Moon became the longest-running rock record on the Billboard album chart, concluding its 402nd week.

1996 - The Fugees release their landmark and final album, The Score.

2002 - Country music maverick and American icon Waylon Jennings died from diabetes-related health problems. He was 64. Although he disliked the term, Jennings had been one of the major figures in the so-called "outlaw country" movement — artists who bucked the commercial trends of 1970s Nashville, who also included Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.

2004 - Led Zeppelin were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys. Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham all attended. Robert Plant did not, since he was working on a new album and tour.

2011 - Arcade Fire's The Suburbs won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards, beating Eminem's hotly tipped comeback, Recovery. Many had not heard of the Canadian band, prompting the internet meme, "Who Is Arcade Fire?" In the same ceremony, Esperanza Spalding beat out Justin Bieber for Best New Artist, becoming the first jazz artist to win the award.

2012 - Adele won all six categories she was nominated for at the Grammy Awards, making her the second female artist in Grammy history, after Beyonce, to win that many categories in a single night. That 2012 awards ceremony also featured her live comeback after having throat surgery and canceling two tours. And quite the comeback it was, as her album 21 achieved the biggest weekly sales increase following a Grammy in recorded history.

2013 - Lady Gaga was forced to postpone her world tour after sustaining an injury which left her unable to walk. The singer had severe inflammation of the joints, known as synovitis.


Peter Gabriel is 70.

Peter Hook, bassist for Joy Division and New Order, is 64.

Henry Rollins is 59.

Freedom Williams of C+C Music Factory is 54.

Robbie Williams is 46.

Leslie Feist is 44.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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