Tommy Boyce (born Sidney Thomas Boyce, September 29, 1939 — November 23, 1994) and Bobby Hart (born Robert Luke Harshman, February 19, 1939, Phoenix, Arizona) were a songwriting duo, best known for the songs they wrote for The Monkees.
Hart's father was a church minister. Hart served in the Army after leaving high school, and on discharge travelled to Los Angeles seeking a career as a singer. In the early 1960s, he met Tommy Boyce, who was already on his way to being a successful songwriter.
Their partnership made a breakthrough with a song recorded by Chubby Checker, "Lazy Elsie Molly", in 1964. They went on to write hits forJay & the Americans ("Come a Little Bit Closer"), Paul Revere and the Raiders ("(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone") and The Leaves ("Words"). The latter two songs provided the Monkees with hit B-sides in 1967. The duo also wrote the theme song to the daytime soap Days of Our Lives.
In late 1965, they wrote, produced and performed the soundtrack to the pilot of The Monkees, including singing lead vocals (which were later replaced, once the show was cast). In 1966, despite some conflicts with Don Kirshner, who was the show's musical supervisor, they were retained in substantially the same role. It was Boyce and Hart who wrote, produced and recorded (with the help of their band, the Candy Store Prophets) backing tracks for a large portion of the first season of The Monkees, and the band's accompanying debut album. The Monkees themselves re-recorded their vocals over Boyce and Hart's when it came time to release the songs, including both "(Theme from) The Monkees" and "Last Train to Clarksville", the latter of which was a huge hit.
When the Monkees began to record and produce their own material for their third album, and Boyce and Hart were ousted as producers, they were not sure how the band felt about them personally. Attending a Monkees show, though, they were spotted in the audience, and singerDavy Jones invited them up onstage, to introduce them: "These are the fellows who wrote our great hits — Tommy and Bobby!" Every original Monkees album (except for the Head soundtrack) included songs by the duo.
Boyce and Hart also embarked on a successful career as recording artists in their own right, releasing three albums on A&M Records: Test Patterns, I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight, and It's All Happening on the Inside (released in Canada as Which One's Boyce and Which One's Hart?). The duo also had several hit singles; the most well-known of these were "Out and About," "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," "Alice Long" and "I'll Blow You A Kiss in the Wind", which they performed on the television show Bewitched. They also appeared on other TV shows including The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeannie ("Jeannie the Hip Hippie").
They also were involved with producing music for motion pictures for Columbia Pictures, including two Matt Helm movies (The Ambushersand Murderers' Row), Winter A-Go-Go and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows.
In 1971 a sitcom named Getting Together appeared on ABC-TV, starring Bobby Sherman and Wes Stern as two struggling songwriters, who were friends of The Partridge Family (and were introduced on their show). The series was reportedly based loosely on Boyce and Hart's partnership. At this point, they decided to work on various solo projects.
In the mid-1970s, Boyce and Hart reunited with Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz, performing the songs Boyce and Hart had written for The Monkees a decade before. Legally prohibited from using the Monkees name, they called themselves Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart. The group toured amusement parks and other venues throughout America, Japan and other locations from July 4th, 1975 to early 1977, also becoming the first American band to play inThailand. Signed to Capitol Records by Al Coury, the group released an album of new material in 1976. (A live album was also recorded in Japan, but was not released in the United Statesuntil the mid-1990s.) The tours coincided with the syndication of the Monkees TV series, and helped boost sales of Arista's The Monkees Greatest Hits.
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart also starred in their own TV special called The Great Golden Hits of the Monkees Show, which appeared in syndication. It featured a medley of other Boyce and Hart songs, as well as the songs they had produced for the Monkees. Strangely, it did not include any songs from their new album.
In 1979 Boyce formed his own band, called The Tommy Band, and toured the UK as support to Andrew Matheson (ex-Hollywood Brats). The tour was largely ignored by the public especially in Middlesbrough where reportedly just one person paid to watch the show. Boyce and Hart reunited during the 1980s resurgence of the Monkees, and performed live.