Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were once somewhat famous for writing hit songs. Then Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart were famous for writing and producing hit songs for the Monkees. Now Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart are famous for writing and producing hit songs for Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.
Tommy and Bobby were quite rich when they were just somewhat famous. Why then did they want to become richer and famous-er? Greed? Ego? Yes. But more, too.
“We wanted the immediate response of a live audience,” explained Tommy. “As a writer you have a response in the form of record sales and royalties, and maybe some mail eight months later, but it’s a secondhand response. We wanted the applause of real people right there.”
“Applause is an important kind of response in any kind of communication, which is what it’s all about,” added Bobby.
“But that’s really only one part of it,” Tommy said, changing his mind a little. “When someone we like and admire records one of our songs, that’s a kind of appreciation we dig too. Like when Floyd Cramer did a whole album of our songs—that really freaked us out. Just listening to him playing our stuff is like 10,000 kids screaming.”
Tommy and Bobby should know whereof they speak regarding “screaming kids.” They recently completed several promotional jaunts across the country, where they were greeted at airports and hotels by newly ardent fans. Tommy and Bobby loved every minute of it (they say), and so, apparently, did the fans. (Tommy and Bobby got the full star treatment wherever they went—their arrivals and departures were announced on local radio, limousines drove them hither and yon, and different stations sponsored Tommy and Bobby contests, the winners of which got to spend some time with… Tommy and Bobby.)
Songwriting and recording will remain their most time-consuming effort for awhile, but eventually they “want to do club work and television, things directed to the other age groups.” Other, in this case, means older. “We’re younger than the Beatles but older than the Monkees,” quipped Bobby, referring to their age group appeal, not necessarily their chronological age. According to publicist Derek Taylor, no one knows how old Tommy and Bobby are because “they lie about their age.”
But that’s alright; most pop musicians lie about their age. It’s nice to meet two who are honest liars.