Kassner Music is delighted to announce the acquisition of the song catalogue of prolific songwriter Tommy Boyce for the territory of the United States from his widow Caroline, in partnership with long-standing client Cherry Red Songs.
Best known for a hugely influential songwriting and artist partnership with Bobby Hart, Tommy was the co-creator of an extraordinary catalogue of songs covered by important acts such as Fats Domino, Jay & The Americans, The Sex Pistols and, most notably, The Monkees.
Boyce’s breakthrough as a songwriter came in 1959. He wrote his first big hit, “Be My Guest”, for rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Fats Domino, whose recording reached #8 in the US Billboard Chart and #11 in the UK Singles Chart. Released on Imperial Records, the song sold over a million copies and was one of Domino’s most successful records. To this day, the rhythms of “Be My Guest” are widely recognised as a key influence in the development of Jamaican ska music.
Further hits came as Boyce struck up a songwriting collaboration with Curtis Lee, an artist recently signed to Dunes Records who was working with Phil Spector. The result was the major hit “Pretty Little Angel Eyes”, which reached #7 in the US Billboard Chart in 1961, and “Under The Moon Of Love”, which would be covered by Showaddywaddy in 1976 and reach #1 in the UK Singles Chart.
It was while at the recording studio working with Lee that Tommy Boyce was introduced to Bobby Hart. They first wrote together in 1960 but it was not until 1964 that they achieved their first chart hit, a Top 40 record titled “Lazie Elsie Molly” that was performed by Chubby Checker. Later that year they joined forces with songwriter and producer Wes Farrell to write “Come a Little Bit Closer”, recorded by rock band Jay & The Americans. The track peaked at #3 in the US Billboard Chart, making it the group’s highest-charting single and the duo’s first Top 10 hit together. “Come A Little Bit Closer” has since been placed in many advertising campaigns and TV and film productions, including the 2017 blockbuster film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Boyce and Hart capitalised upon these and other successes by landing the opportunity to write and produce much of the soundtrack for the TV series The Monkees, such as the theme tune for the show, which was produced by Screen Gems and aired on NBC for two seasons from 1966 to 1968. Alongside Hart, Boyce contributed songs to nine of The Monkee’s original albums and co-wrote some of the group’s biggest hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville” (1966 – US #1), “Valleri” (1968 – US #3), “Words” (1967 – US #11) and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” (1967 – US #20).
At the same time as penning hits for The Monkees, Boyce and Hart launched their own artist career. After the 1967 debut single “Out & About” reached the Top 40, the pair scored their greatest hit as performers the following year when “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite?” reached #8 on the US Billboard Chart, going on to sell over a million copies and being awarded a gold disc. The duo would attain further success with the single “Alice Long (You’re Still My Favourite Girlfriend)” and release a total of three studio albums before pausing their collaboration.
Tommy continued to work as a writer and producer throughout the 1970s and 1980s on various projects such as his 1973 release “Blown Away” under the pseudonym Christopher Cloud. He sadly suffered a decline in his health in 1993 and passed away a year later at the age of 55.
David Kassner said of the deal: “I had long been an admirer of Tommy Boyce’s prodigious songwriting talent when I had the pleasure of working with him early on in my career. His light shone very brightly but was extinguished far too soon. We will be doing all we can to look after these fabulous songs and to keep his memory alive through his music.”
Caroline Boyce commented: “I am thrilled to have Kassner Music in partnership with Cherry Red Songs as USA custodians of Tommy’s music and I’m excited for the myriad of possibilities they offer in keeping his legacy alive.”
Listen to more of Tommy’s music via our Spotlight playlist above.