The Monkees’ Songwriters Formed a Band to Play on Their 1st Album


  • A whole other band formed to work on The Monkees’ first album.
  • One of The Monkees’ songwriters revealed what he thought about the band.
  • The Prefab Four’s first album became an international hit.
The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork wearing blue
The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Image

The Monkees‘ album The Monkees was a massive success. The Prefab Four’s regular songwriters created a whole other band to work on that album. Subsequently, one of the songs from The Monkees became a No. 1 hit.

An ‘outstanding clique of studio musicians’ worked for The Monkees

Boyce & Hart was a songwriting duo composed of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. They wrote songs such as The Monkees’ “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” and “Valleri.” In his 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles, Hart discussed one of the reasons he and Boyce were able to produce the group’s debut album.

“The second reason was Gerry McGee, Larry Taylor, Billy Lewis, Louie Shelton, and Wayne Irwin, the great recording band that we were lucky enough to bring together,” Hart wrote. “We could have used the outstanding clique of studio musicians who worked around the clock playing on most of the records being produced in L.A., and for many other projects we did.”

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Why Boyce & Hart were part of the band that worked on The Monkees’ 1st album

Hart praised the band. “These studio stalwarts were the musicians who played on the sessions turned out by the record producers that we had competed against for the Monkees project, and by most of those who produced their later cuts,” he wrote. “But instead, during our time in the trenches recording demos, we had assembled a real band.”

Hart saw himself as part of the band “And, in a very real way, this was a band that Tommy and I were a part of,” he continued. “We shared their culture and their lifestyle. We worked with them on the arrangements that would become the foundation of the records we made.”

The Monkees' songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart pointing at each other
The Monkees’ songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart | GAB Archive / Contributor

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How the album and its single ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

The Monkees became a huge hit in the United States. For 13 weeks, it topped the Billboard 200. The album stayed on the chart for 102 weeks. In the same vein, its lead single, “Last Train to Clarksville,” became a hit. It was No. 1 for one of its 15 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Official Charts Company reports The Monkees was also a hit in the United Kingdom. There, it was No. 1 for seven of its 37 weeks on the chart. Meanwhile, “Last Train to Clarksville” reached No. 23 in the U.K. and remained on the chart for seven weeks.

The Monkees was popular even if it took two bands to make it.

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