OBITUARIES : Tommy Boyce

Pop-song writing became an accepted art-form during the hit-hungry Sixties. Due reverence had long been shown the composers of popular songs that had become the "standards" of previous decades. However the age of Rodgers and Hart was rapidly supe rseded by equally celebrated partnerships, like Goffin and King, and Lennon and McCartney. The new writers provided songs that suited the times, and a new generation of wildly disparate and highly individual performers. One of the most prolific and succe ssful songwriters of the Sixties was Tommy Boyce, who provided the television stars the Monkees with some of their greatest hits.

Boyce formed a song-writing, singing and production partnership with Bobby Hart, and they had hits in their own right as well as providing material for a wide range of bands and artists.

Tommy Boyce was born in 1944 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Developing an early talent for singing and writing, he teamed up with Hart, from Phoenix, Arizona. In 1966 they wrote "Last Train to Clarksville" and "The Monkees Theme", for the young American band then being groomed for a ground-breaking situation comedy television series.

The Monkees were designed to provide America's alternative to the Beatles, and the best available talent was assembled to boost their chances. Boyce and Hart were appointed music producers of the show The Monkees by Don Kirshner, head of Screen Gems. Among other celebrated composers who worked on the project were Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Neil Diamond.

The television series, featuring Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz, was a huge success, both in the United States when it was launched on NBC and on networks around the world. "Last Train to Clarksville", the Monkees' debut single, became a No 1 hit in the US, and earned the group their first Gold Disc. The Monkees' cry of "No, no, no!" seemed a direct answer to the Beatles' "Yeah, yeah, yeah!"

The single also hit the UK charts, in February 1967, when it climbed to No 23. Boyce later wrote "Valleri", which became the Monkees' sixth million- selling single. It was No 3 in the US and No 12 in the UK charts in March 1968.

At the same time Boyce and Hart enjoyed their own record successes. They had a Top 40 hit in the US with "Out & About" in August 1967, followed by "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite", which reached No 8 in the Billboard chart in January 1968. In August the same year another Boyce and Hart collaboration, "Alice Long (You're Still My Favorite Girlfriend)", peaked at No 27.

Boyce later worked with the composer Curtis Lee and they wrote "Under the Moon of Love", a big hit for the British rock revivalists Showaddywaddy. Among other million-selling, award-winning songs Boyce composed with his partners were "Pretty Little AngelEyes", "Come a Little Bit Closer", and "Peaches 'n' Cream".

The Monkees' career had foundered in the early Seventies as various members began to quit the group, but in 1975 the group discussed reforming. Eventually Davy Jones and Mickey Dolenz got together with Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart to start a two-year tour commemorating the Monkees' career. They also signed to Capitol records and released an album, Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart. Throughout the Eighties there was a great revival of interest in the Monkees television shows and their records.

Chris Welch

Tommy Boyce, songwriter: bom Charlottesville, Virginia 29 September 1944; married; died Nashville, Tennessee 23 November 1994.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence