When Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart made their long-playing debut as a recording duo with the 1967 release on A&M Records of Test Patterns, it was clear that the duo had the goods. They were singers, writers, producers, and musicians, and showcased all of those talents on the album. It was the culmination of a relatively short but prolific period of time that saw them - individually and collectively - behind some of the most enduring hits of that era or any other: "Last Train to Clarksville," "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone," "Come a Little Bit Closer," "Hurt So Bad," "I Wanna Be Free," "Valleri," "Pretty Little Angel Eyes," and of course, "Theme from The Monkees."
While their first single on A&M, Test Patterns' "Out and About," made the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, Tommy and Bobby scored their biggest hit as a duo with the lead single and title track of their second LP, 1968's I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite?. Crackling with youthful abandon, energy, and a killer AM radio-ready hook, the pop nugget kicked off the strongest of their three A&M sets. Tomorrow, July 21, 7a Records will return I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite? to print with a new 55th anniversary deluxe edition on CD and limited edition LP. This title follows 7a's recent collection dedicated to the 1970s studio and live recordings of supergroup Dolenz, Jones, Boyce, and Hart.
Released in March 1968, I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite? had the same high level of pop craftsmanship that had manifested itself in Boyce and Hart's recordings for The Monkees and countless others. The album melded Boyce's knack for bubblegum-sweet melodies with Hart's blue-eyed soul inclinations, while their easy rapport and camaraderie shone through in the delivery of each tune. Artie Butler and Don McGinnis contributed arrangements, and the Wrecking Crew A-list including guitarist Louie Shelton and bassist Joe Osborn showed up to play on it.
A couple of songs on the album will be familiar to Monkees fans. The touching "I Wanna Be Free" appeared on The Monkees' debut album in 1966 while the rocking "Tear Drop City" would show up on 1969's Instant Replay, the first LP from the Peter Tork-less lineup of Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith, and Micky Dolenz. ("I Wanna Be Free," in particular, stands out here in a lovely new arrangement.) The album's original songs are of the same caliber. "Pretty Flower" is in the baroque pop mold (with a dash of experimentation at the song's end) while "I'm Digging You Digging Me" is the kind of effortlessly catchy pop tune that Boyce and Hart seemingly could crank out at will. "Love Every Day" is a gentle, billowy ballad. On the other end of the spectrum, "Population" reflects Tommy and Bobby's protest leanings. (Active participants in the sixties' political revolution, Boyce and Hart would conclude their A&M singles discography with "L.U.V. (Let Us Vote)," advocating for the right of teenagers to vote and the voting age to be reduced to eighteen.)
Boyce and Hart were very much ubiquitous around the time of the album's release; the team wrote music for such motion pictures as The Ambushers and Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows. On the small screen, the duo also had a high profile. Not only were they The Monkees' favorite and most recorded songwriters, but the telegenic tunesmiths made appearances on I Dream of Jeannie (opposite Phil Spector!), The Flying Nun, and Bewitched. On the latter sitcom, Tommy and Bobby played what was arguably their grooviest concert ever - at The Cosmos Cotillion, the otherworldly affair for the elite "in crowd" of witches and warlocks. Elizabeth Montgomery even joined them during the episode to perform their 1969 single "A Kiss in the Wind" as good witch Samantha's deliciously scheming cousin Serena. Samantha hoped to send those "howling hippies" back to Earth, but even she couldn't help dancing along.
Now's the time to revisit I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite?, one of the sixties' most underrated pop gems. 7a's CD reissue features a 28-page booklet with liner notes by Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval as well as full lyrics and previously unpublished photos by Henry Diltz. The vinyl edition is pressed on 180-gram red vinyl and is limited to just 500 units. It's housed in a gatefold sleeve with Diltz's photos and song lyrics.
The CD version of I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite? is due from 7a Records on July 21. Amazon U.K. is currently showing the LP as available on July 28. North American dates are one week later. The CD and LP releases are available for pre-order now at the links below.
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite? (A&M LP SP-4143, reissued 7a Records 7A045/7A046LP, 2023)
- I Wonder What She's Doing Tonite?
- Pretty Flower
- Teardrop City
- Love Every Day
- Two for the Price of One
- Goodbye, Baby (I Don't Want to See You Cry)
- I'm Digging You, Digging Me
- Leaving Again
- The Countess
- I Wanna Be Free