Songwriter/singer Tommy Boyce co-wrote with Bobby Hart some of the most enduring pop hits of the '60s, including those by the Monkees. Boyce also co-wrote Fats Domino's "Be My Guest" and Lee Curtis' "Pretty Little Angel Eyes."
Born September 29, 1939, in Charlottesville, VA, Boyce recorded for RCA Records and had one self-written charting single, "I'll Remember Carol" b/w "Too Late for Tears," which peaked at number 80 pop on Billboard's charts in fall 1962. He began writing with Bobby Hart, with their first success being "Come a Little Bit Closer," a 1964 number three pop smash for Jay and the Americans. Signed as staff songwriters for Screen Gems Music, the music publishing arm of Columbia Pictures' TV production arm, Screen Gems, they began to write songs for the soundtrack of the studio's hit TV show The Monkees airing in primetime on NBC-TV: "Theme From the Monkees," "Last Train to Clarksville" (gold, number one pop, fall 1966), "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (the charting B-side of "I'm a Believer," also recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders on their 1966 LP Midnight Ride), "Words" (the B-side of the million-selling number three pop hit "Pleasant Valley Sunday"), "Valeri" (gold, number three pop, early 1968), and "Tear Drop City." The gentle ballad "I Wanna Be Free" is another popular Monkees track written by Boyce & Hart. The duo appeared on other hit TV shows produced by Screen Gems, ABC-TV's Bewitched and NBC-TV's I Dream of Jeannie.
Boyce & Hart became a recording duo signing with A&M Records. Their first charting single was "Out & About" b/w "My Little Chickadee" (number 39 pop in summer 1967). Their biggest hit was "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" b/w "The Ambushers" (number eight pop, late 1967). Other Boyce & Hart singles were "Goodbye Baby (I Don't Want to See You Cry)" b/w "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows" -- the title theme to the sequel to The Trouble With Angels -- and "Alice Long (You're Still My Favorite Girlfriend)."
Boyce & Hart toured with the Monkees in the '70s and recorded with some of the group's members on albums as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce, and Hart. Boyce wrote and produced for Iggy Pop, U.K. band Darts, Del Shannon, and Meat Loaf. Boyce, who appeared on TV talk shows sharing his travails with depression, succumbed to the illness, committing suicide at his Nashville residence in 1994.
Boyce-related releases are Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart: Anthology, Boyce and Hart: The Songs of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart from Uni/Varese, Sarabande, and Concert In Japan. ~ Ed Hogan