A pair of songwriters wrote many of The Monkees‘ songs. They were in the studio when the Prefab Four was supposed to record “(Theme From) The Monkees.” Subsequently, the songwriters decided to force the members of the band to record separately.
The writers of many of The Monkees’ songs thought the members of the band acted like teenage boys
Under the name Boyce & Hart, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart wrote several songs for the Prefab Four. In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart discussed the first attempts to record The Monkees’ theme song. He said the Prefab Four were more interested in goofing around than singing.
“Tommy and I walked back out into the studio and tried to join in on the jokes until we could get their attention and restore order,” he recalled. “But it was obvious that neither Tommy nor I had grown up with brothers or played team sports. To us, they seemed to be acting like teenage boys at summer camp and we weren’t comfortable with trying to be part of their tug of war. Maybe to them we sounded like dorm monitors as we tried to get the energy focused on making a record.”
Boyce & Hart ‘semi-religiously enforced’ a rule while recording songs with the Prefab Four
Boyce & Hart continued to have issues getting the band to take recording their theme song seriously. Subsequently, Boyce & Hart made a resolution. “We walked down the long studio stairway and out onto Vine Street shaking our heads,” Hart wrote. “At that moment, Boyce and I made a command decision.
“As we climbed into Tommy’s car, I put it into words, ‘From now on, only one Monkee at a time will be allowed in our recording sessions,'” Hart remembered. “It was a vow that we semi-religiously enforced throughout our future work with the group.”
How The Monkees’ theme song and its parent album performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom
“Theme From (The Monkees)” was never released as a single so it did not impact the Billboard Hot 100. The track appeared on the album The Monkees. That album was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for 13 weeks, lasting a total of 102 weeks on the chart. None of the band’s other albums lasted on the chart for a longer period of time.
The Official Charts Company says “(Theme From) The Monkees” never impacted the charts in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, The Monkees was No. 1 for seven of its 37 weeks on the chart. None of the group’s subsequent albums were as popular in the U.K.
The Monkees’ theme song was a challenge to record — but it impacted their recording history.