If Test Patterns was a bit of a disappointment coming from two of the biggest hitmakers of their day, “I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite?” more than made up for it. The title track, released in 1967, went to #8 and remained a staple of oldies stations for years. Maybe it still is. Then the album knocks out one pop-rock gem after another. There’s one bow to the requisite socially conscious song to remind us this came out in 1968 (“Population”), but the rest of it has its feet firmly planted in the earlier spirit of the ‘60s.
The best song behind the title track is “Two For The Price of One.” The most problematic song they ever performed, seen through a 2020 lens, is “Two For The Price of One.” Interesting, then, that it’s actually a cover of sorts, though of course they made themselves the subjects. Since someone did the courtesy of actually writing down the lyrics, I’m gonna go ahead and give you a taste:
BH: Lemme tell you about Tommy Boyce, he’s a gangster of love—
TB: Ah, don’t tell ’em that, Bobby!
BH: Wanted by the girls all over the world for the crazy things he does—
TB: I’ll never get outta trouble!
BH: Be public enemy #1 if making love is a crime
He drives a 1967 XKE, he’s a legend in his own time!
TB: Now let me tell you about my man Mr. Bobby Hart, he’s a son of a gun—
BH: Don’t tell everybody that!
TB: When it comes down to messing up those little cutie-pies’ minds
Ha ha!—I ain’t the only one
BH: My reputation!
TB: He’ll swoop down on one of those little miniskirt-wearers
Before she understands it
Swish Shazam a puff of Jaguar smoke, he’s an old love bandit!
BH: Now girls all over the world
Gather round when Tommy Boyce is on the scene
Flowered shirt, a string of beads around his neck
He’s looking pretty clean-
TB: Now wait a minute!
All you girls who love Bobby Hart, they just love him to death
All he has to do is act like he’s gonna call somebody’s name
They can’t control themselves!
In unison: So all you pretty girls better come down to the show tonight,
have a lot of fun, and get two for the price of one!!!
Just try to remember that The Beach Boys were singing about “two girls for every boy,” and that Gary Puckett was singing the creepiest lyrics ever recorded about a much too young girl, and no one batted an eye as those songs topped the charts. So, if you can get past that, this is actually a swinging fun song. If it came out today, they’d either be burned at the stake or be rappers.
This was my first Boyce & Hart record; I picked it up around 1980, at my beloved Desert Shore Records, knowing full well they were the creative force behind The Monkees and also knowing the title song pretty well. The label on the back indicates that someone, somewhen, wanted $7 for this, but the label on the front shows that I got it for $3, which was about what I paid for records then.
It may seem like I was wildly inconsistent about whether I left pricing stickers on my records or not. That would be true, although there was something of a method to it. Usually, if the record was newer and had a glossier cover (less “tooth,” as they say in the paper industry), then I’d feel like I had a better shot at getting the sticker off without tearing or leaving gum behind. When the price sticker was on a paper with more tooth, or a dirtier, more worn album cover, sometimes I just wouldn’t bother, because the chance of tearing was worse to me than living with the sticker. (I promise a screaming fit when we finally get to my copy of “London Calling.”)