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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain