Those Swinging Mortal Singers:

     By Wizzy

In a Harpies Bizarre Message Board poll of featured tunes, the song "Blow You a Kiss in the Wind" was voted Bewitched fan favorite by a large margin. Boyce & Hart's Bewitched appearance alongside "the cutest song-plugger East of Motown" aka 'Cousin Serena' in episode # 192 ("Serena Stops The Show") was an unforgettable and well-loved event for Bewitched fans. Not only did Serena listen to the duo's hit recording of "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" in the episode, but their song "Blow You A Kiss in the Wind" was performed twice, first by Serena and then by "those howling hippies" themselves - Boyce & Hart.

Tommy Boyce (born Sidney Thomas Boyce, September 29, 1939) was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Bobby Hart (born Robert Luke Harshman, February 19, 1939) was born in Phoenix, Arizona.

Tommy Boyce's music career took off when Producer Stan Schulman caught the act of an unknown talent, Curtis Lee, in a Long Beach rock-and-roll show in 1961 and brought him to the Brill Building in New York. Under the guidance of legendary record producer Phil Spector, Lee recorded his only two hit songs -- "Under The Moon Of Love" and "Pretty Little Angel Eyes". Both hits had been written by Tommy Boyce and Curtis Lee.

Bobby Hart had served in the Army after leaving high school, and on discharge travelled to Los Angeles seeking a career as a singer. In 1965, Hart went on tour as a "Dazzler" with "Teddy Randazzo and the Dazzlers". He co-wrote with Randazzo the song "Hurt So Bad", which became the follow-up hit for Little Anthony and the Imperial's "Going Out Of My Head".

By the mid-60s, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart had become friends in California and started collaborating. One of their first writing assignments together in 1965 was to compose the theme song for Days of Our Lives. (This theme song would run on the daytime program for over thirty years).

Their partnership made a breakthrough with their first hit song recorded by Chubby Checker, "Lazy Elsie Molly", in 1964. They went on to write hits for Jay & 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.

Television producers Bert Schneider and Bob Rafelson came up with the idea of casting a rock-and-roll band that could star in its own televison series on NBC. They ran an ad in Variety and selected four young men to serve as members of the band: Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, Davy Jones, and Micky Dolenz. They produced a pilot and called the group The Monkees. It was Boyce and Hart who did the songs for the pilot in 1966, including the singing.

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 spent 78 weeks on the Billboard pop chart. Recorded at RCA Victor - Studio A, Hollywood, on July 25, 1966, "Last Train to Clarksville" peaked at number 1 on November 5, 1966.


The Monkees monkey around on the Bewitched
set in their 1967 episode "Monkees on Tour"


Boyce and Hart embarked on a successful career as A&M recording artists in their own right, releasing three albums (notably Test Patterns in 1967) and several hit singles. The most well-known of these were "Out and About," (which reached #39 on Billboard pop chart), "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight," (#8 on Billboard pop chart), "Alice Long" (#27 on Billboard pop chart) and "I'm Gonna Blow You A Kiss in the Wind". Other well-known Boyce & Hart tunes were "Goodbye Baby (I Don't Want to See You Cry)" and "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows" -- the title theme to the 1968 film sequel of Columbia's The Trouble With Angels.

Besides Bewitched in 1970, the duo appeared on other Screen Gems TV shows, including I Dream of Jeannie (in the 1967 episode "Jeannie, The Hip Hippie") and The Flying Nun (in the 1970 episode "When Generations Gap"). The Partridge Family's 1971 spinoff sitcom Getting Together, starring Bobby Sherman and Wes Stern as two struggling songwriters, was reportedly based loosely on Boyce and Hart's partnership.

During the late 1960s, Boyce & Hart campaigned to support Robert Kennedy in his 1968 run for Presidency and spearheaded the "L.U.V." (or "Let Us Vote") campaign which culminated in lowering the voting age to 18 years.

During the early 1970s, Bobby continued to write with Tommy from time to time, but also wrote with others such as Danny Janssen and Wes Farrell (The Partridge Family, Josie and the Pussycats). During this time, Hart's collaboration with Janssen produced two top ten records in one year: "Keep On Singing" for Helen Reddy, and "Something's Wrong With Me" for Austin Roberts.

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. They toured amusement parks and other venues throughout America, Japan and other locations from 1975 to 1977, including being the first American band to play in Thailand. The group also recorded an album of new material for Capitol Records in 1976. Legally prohibited from using the Monkees name, they released the album and toured as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart. A live album was also recorded in Japan, and was eventually released in the United States on compact disc in the mid 1990s.

In 1979, Tommy 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, and was a professional disappointment for Boyce. However, Tommy Boyce continued to work on songs with Richard Hartley and with artists such as the Darts, Iggy Pop, and Meatloaf. After his stint living in the UK, Tommy Boyce returned to live in Nashville, Tennessee, where he struggled with depression, and later suffered a brain aneurysm. On November 23, 1994, Tommy Boyce died at age 55 of a self-inflicted gun shot wound. He is survived by his widow, Caroline.

Bobby Hart was nominated for an Oscar in 1983 for his song "Over You", written for the film Tender Mercies. He often hears from fans on the official Boyce & Hart MySpace page.


Tommy & Bobby remained the best of friends until Tommy's untimely death.


Two excellent retrospective CDs of Boyce & Hart's catalog are Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart: Anthology, and Boyce and Hart: The Songs of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.




The Monkees screencaps courtesy of Mark Duncan