“Come A Little Bit Closer” is undoubtedly Jay and the Americans’ biggest hit.
Videos by American Songwriter
Videos by American Songwriter
The track was released in 1964 along with the B-side “Goodbye boys, Goodbye.” The song secured a comeback for the group who hadn’t had a hit in some time. It wound up peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In the decades since, the song has become a staple in film soundtracks, notable for its earworm chorus and narrative lyrics.
The group has a trio of songwriters to thank for their breakout. Find out who wrote “Come A Little Bit Closer” below.
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Who Wrote “Come A Little Bit Closer”
“Come A Little Bit Closer” was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, alongside Wes Farrell. The song became Boyce and Hart’s first Top 10 hit.
Farrell’s catalog includes close to 500 songs. One of his earliest successes was a track titled “Boys.” The song was first recorded by the Shirelles as the B-side to their hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” but has been performed by a number of artists since. He also penned “Hang On Sloopy,” which remains one of the most performed songs in pop music, per the RIAA.
Boyce and Hart met in 1959. Both had seen varying levels of success as both artists and songwriters. The year after they met they began collaborating. Boyce played on Hart’s single ‘Girl in the Window,” which ultimately failed to chart.
The partnership finally made a breakthrough with a song recorded by Chubby Checker, titled “Lazy Elsie Molly” in 1964. Around the same time, they wrote “Come a Little Bit Closer” and received cuts on songs recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Leaves.
The pair are most notable for their work on The Monkees. They wrote, produced, and performed the soundtrack for the series in 1966. They also helped to flesh out a large portion of the band’s accompanying debut album. Boyce and Hart penned “Last Train to Clarksville,” which would become a huge hit for The Monkees.
After garnering success as songwriters, the pair embarked on their own recording careers. Their most well-known song, “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight” sold over one million copies.
They kept their stint in television going with guest spots on Bewitched, The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeannie.
Boyce and Hart wrote more than 300 songs and sold more than 42 million records as a duo, per the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll.
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Legacy of “Come A Little Bit Closer”
“Come A Little Bit Closer” has been featured in a number of TV shows and films. Those inclusions have allowed this track to remain popular for generations.
Its most recent rebirth came along with the Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy. The Latin-influenced song was included in the film’s accompanying mixtape.
Elsewhere the song was used in episodes of Gilmore Girls and Ray Donovan and the films Shanghai Kiss and The Meddler.
Photo by CA/Redferns