"Stranger Things Have Happened"
May 03 - 09, 2020
Year of Release: 1994
Stranger Things Have Happened
Get WHat You Pay For
Higher And Higher
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Peter Tork only had one solo album -- Stranger Things Have Happened, released in 1994. Unfortunately, Peter Tork passed away on February
21, 2019. He had just turned 77 years ago. Stranger Things Have Happened may have been credited as a Peter Tork album, yet he did record with
others: James Lee Stanley (a proud member of our WSVNRadio Hall of Fame, and with Shoe Suede Blues. But of course, he will always be remembered as
a member of The Monkees. Tork and Michael Nesmith were familiar with music than that of Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz. The story is that the Monkees
were put together from an ad: Madness!! Auditions. Folkl & Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles in new TV series. Running parts for 4 insane
boys, age 17-21. Want spirited Ben Frank's types. Have courage to work. Must come down for interviews. Many have said the resulting 4 members
that would become the Monkees had no musical training. This was not true; both Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork had musical experience. Micky Dolenz
would learn to become a drummer, and Davy Jones mostly played the tambourine as his main instrument.
The Monkees TV show lasted only two seasons. A reunion in the 1980s would bring back Jones, Dolenz and Tork. Nesmith would return later, as the
original members would be reunited once again. Recording albums as the Monkees from 1966 to 1968 (all four members). From 1969 to 1970, the Monkees
became either a three or two member band. (Tork and Nesmith would leave the band during this period.) 1987 saw the reunion of Jpnes, Dolenz and Tork.
The Monkees TV show would bring back attention, as the show was in reruns on MTV at the time. A Monkees Revival... 1996 saw the return of all 4 members
again on their new studio album, Justus. By 2016, Davy Jones was the first to pass away, on February 29, 2012. Good Times was released,
with songs by the surviving Monkees, with recordings adding Jones' vocals. Two years later, a Christmas album was released Christmas Party with
new songs recorded by Nesmith, Dolenz and Tork, with posthumous contributions from Davy Jones.
Throughout the decades since the Monkees were no longer a group, all four members have had their shares in recording solo albums. The most, was from
Michael Nesmith, with his country-flavored albums. He would spark the video concept to audio songs that would lead to the invention of MTV. "Rio"
would become one of the first videos based on a recorded song.
In 1994, Peter Tork released his first solo album -- Stranger Things Have Happened. The title does have a particular meaning. Stranger things
have happened throughout the decades. Tork had left the Monkees in 1969, and by 1970, he was trying to pursue a solo career. That move didn't do so
well. He attempted into movie production, and that also failed. An arrest for possesion of hashish was on his record in 1972. He joined a shuffle blues
band called Oscelola, as a guitarist. He became a teacher of music, social studies, math, French and history, and coached baseball. In 1976 Tork joined
up with Dolenz and Jones, along with Boyce & Hart for a concert tour and album. He and Dolenz recorded a Christmas single that same year. In 1980, he
was recording for Sire Records, recording a six-song demo, with other musicians. Some of those demo songs would appear on the Monkees reunion album in
1987, Pool It. Unfortunaely, Sire Records rejected the six-song demo. He would lip-sync the demos on the Uncle Floyd Show in New Jersey.
In 1981, a single was released with "The New Monks." He would perform in clubs and live TV appearances, including a "Win A Date With Peter Tork" bit
on Late Night With David Letterman, in 1982. (Throughout Tork's life, he was married four times, and had three children.)
So, the title of his first solo album would become fitting, by 1994. And, for Monkees fans, all of the songs are definitely not sounding like any
common Monkees songs. In fact, this album is quite good, showing Tork's skills in songwriting, singing, and musicianship.
The title track has a more serious sound, than that of a Monkees song. This song could have been recorded by either The Moody Blues or a solo song
by Michael Nesmith. A more harder rock approach has the next track, "You Get What You Pay For." This album by Peter Tork was reviewed as having
folk and pop songs. Pop gets the nod on "Sea Change." And, it also could be another song recorded by his fellow Monkee, Michael Nesmith.
"Giant Step" is a remake of the Monkees tune, "Take A Giant Step." Tork's remake has the folk song, and different than it's original.
"Milkshake" is an impressive tune, with both Dolenz and Nesmith helping out. It's also has a novelty'sih approach. is a song that
will grow on you, with it's Pop style. "Miracle" is a far different sounding song from the others. Progressive Rock? Maybe, and it definitely
fits Rock in general. Not MOnkees Rock, just Rock. "Pirates" has a more Broadway approach. And other different-sounding song, has a slight
comparison to the Talking Heads -- "Gettin;' In." Just as Broadway'ish as "Pirates," a theatrical and different-sounding track, "Tender
Is." The album closes with another remake, and different than the original, Jackie Wilson's "Higher And Higher." Another impressive track,
with Tork's arrangement with the banjo, and making this song his own.
Impressive is certain. Peter Tork's Stranger Things Have Happened" is a fine, impressive album. It took him may years to achieve his first
solo album, in 1994. Although he did record with others, this album would be his only credited solo release. Both Davy and Peter are gone, yet they
leave behind great music with the Monkees, and solo. Davy Jones released two solo albums of his own. Many by Michael Nesmith. And Micky Dolenz has
his as well. We will review those along the way. A fine album by Peter Tork, Stranger Things Have Happened -- It would have been great to hear
more of his solo works, if they would have been accomplished.
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