AXS TV will air an encore broadcast of The Monkees’ debut live TV concert on March 16, to honor the life and legacy of Peter Tork, the band’s late legendary bassist. Tork died Feb. 21 after losing a 10-year battle with cancer. The special will air at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT, followed by a special airing of “Rock Legends: The Monkees” at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Tork’s family shared the news of his passing in a heartfelt statement on his Facebook page saying, “We are all saddened to share the news that Peter Thorkelson -- friend, father, husband, grandfather, philosopher, goofball, entertainer -- died peacefully this morning at a family home in Connecticut. Peter succumbed to a 10-year bout with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer of the salivary glands.”
Tork’s prolific music career launched in the ‘60s as a member of The Monkees. The Los Angeles native rockers formed a large, loyal fanbase in the wake of the huge success of the sitcom named after the band. The hit series aired on NBC from 1966 to 1968 and followed The Monkees' wacky adventures. The beloved music-themed sitcom picked up two Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 1967.
Though he primarily played bass for The Monkees, Tork was a proficient multi-instrumentalist who also played guitar, keyboards, harpsichord, and banjo. His notable songwriting credits included co-writing the closing theme song of “The Monkees” second season “For Pete’s Sake." He also composed the unforgettable piano intro for one of the band’s biggest hits, “Daydream Believer.”
AXS TV’s broadcast of The Monkees’ live TV debut performance features Tork and the group’s vocalist and drummer Mickey Dolenz delivering a long roster of hits. The performance was filmed in 2016 during the band’s 50th Anniversary Tour. Beloved songs on the setlist include “Last Train to Clarksville,” “Daydream Believer,” and more.
Furthermore, the “Rock Legends” episode will highlight the incomparable rise of The Monkees from a fictional TV band at the center of a hit TV sitcom to real-life chart-topping rockers. Music experts and critics will offer commentary on the band’s unique and indelible music journey during the program, which also contains a selection of classic, original Monkees videos.
In their social media message, Tork’s family thanked his global fans for their “attentive energy and dedication,” adding, “We want those fans to know with absolute certainty that your spirit and goodwill fed Peter with continued energy and force (and of course humor).”
Tork toured with his former Monkees band mates Mickey Dolenz and Michael Nesmith in honor of the 45th anniversary of their album Headquarters in 2012. During the tour, they paid tribute to late member Davy Jones, who died on Feb. 29 that same year. Tork performed with Dolenz as recently as 2016, using the name The Monkees. Nesmith joined them for select shows.
Tork’s family is requesting contributions be made in his honor to The Institute for The Musical Arts, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit which provides young women with music education, music recording, and music community. Find out more about making a donation here.
Tune into AXS TV on Saturday, March 16, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET to watch the special Monkees tribute programming block. Find AXS TV on your TV and stay tuned to AXS for programming news and updates.