(Gibson) One of rock and roll and pop music's most prolific and successful songwriters committed suicide in Nashville on this day in 1994. Tommy Boyce was 55. Boyce's wife, Caroline, found him dead in the living room of their Nashville condo, where he had shot himself.
One of the most successful songwriters of the'60s, Tommy and his writing partner Bobby Hart played a major role in The Monkees TV show, writing many of the group's early hits.
But the writing success had begun back in the pre-Beatles rock and roll era when the young Boyce, only recently moved to Los Angeles from Arizona, pestered Fats Domino enough for the star to listen to his song "Be My Guest." Fats recorded it and Boyce saw it rise to the top of the charts. Teaming up with Hart in 1959, Boyce and his new pal would pen hits for numerous acts – notably "Come a Little Bit Closer" for Jay and the Americans in 1964.
But it was a TV project that would bring them to mass attention. In 1965, The Monkees TV show producers hired Tin Pan Alley hit man Don Kirshner to oversee the soundtrack for a Beatles-inspirited sitcom. He, in turn, brought in the young and hip Boyce and Hart to produce and pen tracks for the TV series. First they wrote the infectious theme tune and then saw their song, and the group's debut single, "Last Train to Clarksville" become a #1 hit in the U.S. more on this story