How We Write a Song for The Monkees

Magazine: Flip
Author:
Published:
Publisher: Kahn Communications Corporation
Page: 31

Bobby Hart, Micky Dolenz, Tommy Boyce
Tommy and Bobby talking a future Monkees hit over with Micky.

AN EXCLUSIVE BEHIND-THE-SCENE-SCOOP!

BY TOMMY BOYCE & BOBBY HART (TWO OF THE MONKEES’ FAVORITE SONG WRITERS AND BEST FRIENDS)

Just as the Monkees enjoyed their first vacation since their formation a year and a half ago, we got our first one this last month. For three weeks, we didn’t even think about music.

We wanted to last out the whole month, but it didn’t work—you just can’t not work out an idea for a song when they keep coming at you. So we went back to work on Monkee songs and when they all got together after vacation, we started recording them and you’re hearing them right now.

We didn’t last out a month without seeing the Monkees either. The minute Micky got back from Europe, there he was on our doorstep, just bursting with news of his travels—you can read all about him in Ric’s column.

Then Davy came to our house, full of tales of visiting with his family and the Bahamas and miniskirts. “You can’t believe how short they get over there!” (We’d like the chance to try!)

Davy Jones
Who knows? Maybe one day Davy will drag this complicated instrument to a Monkees recording session and play it. At a Monkees session, anything happy can happen (and usually does!).

Many of you have asked us how the Monkees decide who’s going to sing which song and if there are big fights over who gets which. Well, usually the boys will all listen to the song we’ve written and it will just sound like it’s perfect for Davy or Micky. (Mike likes to do his own songs.)

There have never been any fights, although there have been times when both boys wanted to do the same number. Like with “I Wanna Be Free” Micky just loved the song, but it fitted in with a particular segment of the show which had Davy wandering around all alone, so he sang the song. (By the way, Andy Williams has just recorded it and says, it’s one of his all-time favorites! Needless to say we and the Monkees were thrilled.)

This month, we’re starting a new feature in our column. From now on, each time we’ll tell you exactly how we came to write a particular Monkee song. Since “She” is one of the most popular tunes and since the circumstances were pretty weird (even for us!) we’ll begin with it.

One morning Tommy took his car to a local garage to have the brakes adjusted. While he was waiting; he noticed that the old library that he used to go to in that area had been torn down and a new one built on the same spot. So he wandered over to check it out. He would up staying there for four hours, just looking through the card files, until he came upon “She,” printed on one of the cards. “What a great song title!” he thought. He raced back, picked up his car and by the time he was home he had the song half written. That evening we finished it up and took it to the Monkees’ recording session the next day. The boys flipped out over it (which they do frequently, thank goodness for us) and wham, it was a hit…

Even though the boys are trying to record more and more of their own material now, they’ve asked us to continue writing songs for them and producing the tunes we do, which makes us feel good and will give us more to tell you about our fabulous friends (and yours)—THE MONKEES.

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