When I was a kid, Peter was my least favorite. For the record my favorites in order were Mickey, Davy, Mike, and Peter. Now that I'm older I see that I was somewhat manipulated to feel this way: Mickey and Davy were the "actors," so of course they had more lines and more episodes written for/around them. They were "performers," so got the lead roles as well as the lead vocals. Conversely, Mike and Peter were the "musicians," so they didn't have the weight of the series on their shoulders and thus didn't have the spotlight on them nearly as much. In one early episode I remember Peter was held as a captive of gypsies, and all he got to do was sit around while the other three Monkees had to steal a diamond or something. This was typical of many of the episodes, so of course I didn't think as highly of Peter as I did the others.
Now, of course, I see that he was in a difficult spot. He had musical integrity but maybe not the same forcefulness that Mike had. He wrote a few songs (again, not as many as Mike) such as "For Pete's Sake" and he did lead vocals on a few other songs such as "Auntie Grizelda" and "Shades of Gray." As time went on he got the most frustrated with the "business" and was the first to quit.
He was also the first to come back. He and Mickey Dolenz recorded "That Was Then, This Is Now" in 1986 for the 20th anniversary of the group's formation. It went Top 20 and lead to the semi-regular reunion tours that continue to this day.
I have never had the pleasure to meet any of The Monkees. I missed the chance to see them in concert in December 2011, a decision I will never forget. I would be honored to meet any of them, including and perhaps especially, Mr. Peter Tork.
Happy Birthday, Peter Tork!
A photo from the same session as their album HEADQUARTERS,
probably their all-time best album.
Here are The Monkees on the Rosie O'Donnell Show in 1996 (without Mike).
You can see Peter obviously playing...and enjoying it. ;-)