Come A Little Bit Closer

Album: The Very Best Of Jay And The Americans (1964)
Charted: 3


  • In this song, a guy goes to Mexico and enjoys the company of a young lady whose boyfriend, José, is one bad dude. What could possibly go wrong? The story ends with him escaping out the window, lucky to live to tell the tale. The song is build around a Latin rhythm to fit the cantina theme.
  • This was the biggest hit for Jay & the Americans. Kenny Vance, who is an original member of the group, told Songfacts: "'Come A Little Bit Closer' was recorded in the last probably five minutes of a session where we were trying to record something else that we spent the whole session on. In those days, a session ran three hours, I think the musicians got $65 for a three-hour session. They didn't want to go overtime, and they had recorded this one song and they needed a flip side, and they just said, Okay, boom, let's do it. And we recorded it, and that's it. There it is. It just captured that. Willie Bobo played timbalis and Johnny Rodriguez played conga drums, Gary Chester played drums. 'Come A Little Bit Closer' was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and I think that Jerry Leiber re-wrote the last verse and he never got credit for that. But as I recall, that's how it went down." (Read more in our interview with Kenny Vance.)
  • For the songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, this was their first Top 10 hit. As part of the Brill Building/Aldon Music songwriting scene in New York City, they became a very successful songwriting duo, scoring many of The Monkees' hits.
  • This song was used in episodes of the TV series Gilmore Girls ("The Great Stink" - 2006) and Ray Donovan ("Yo Soy Capitan" - 2014), and also in the movies Shanghai Kiss (2007), The Meddler (2015) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017).

Comments: 9

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 19, 1969, Trini Lopez performed his covered version of "Come A Little Bit Closer" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV Saturday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    One month earlier on March 23rd, 1969 "Come A Little Bit Closer" peaked at #121 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top 100 chart...
    And on the same 'Bandstand' show he also performed "Lalena", the song was track five of side one on his nineteenth album, 'The Whole Enchilada'...
    Between 1963 and 1968 the Dallas, Texas native had thirteen records on the Top 100 chart, one made the Top 10, "If I Had A Hammer", it peaked at #3 {for 3 weeks} on September 1st, 1963...
    He had one Top 20 record, "Lemon Tree", it peaked right at #20 in 1965...
    Trinidad López the 3rd will celebrate his 81st birthday next month on May 15th {2018}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 26th 1966, Jay and the Americans performed "Come A Little Bit Closer" on the week-day afternoon ABC-TV Dick Clark produced program 'Where The Action Is'...
    {See the next two post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 21st 1964, Jay and the Americans performed "Come A Little Bit Closer" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!' {Five months later they would perform it again on 'Shindig!', see next post below}...
    At the time of this appearance on 'Shindig!' the song was be at #16 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; twenty-five days later on November 15th, 1964 it peaked at #3 {for 2 weeks}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 3rd 1965, Jay & the Americans performed "Come A Little Bit Closer" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Six months earlier on September 6th, 1964 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #86; and on November 15th it peaked at #3 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on November 30th, 1964 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on the Canadian RPM Singles chart...
    In 1978 the duo of Janie Fricke and Johnny Duncan covered it; their version peaked at #4 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart...
    It was Jay & the Americans highest peaking record on the Top 100, they had three other Top 10 hits; "She Cried" (#5 in 1962), "Cara, Mia" (#4 in 1965), and "This Magic Moment" (#6 in 1969)...
    R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neill (Shindig's host; 1940 - 2013).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyJohn 'Jay' Traynor passed away January 2nd, 2014 at 70...
    He was the original 'Jay' of the group Jay & the Americans...
    He sang lead on the group's first Top 10 record, "She Cried", which entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart on March 11th, 1962, and on May 13th it peaked at #5 (for 1 week) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkWhat a rocker of a song! I still love it. And weren't there some brass instruments on it too? I think so. It really accentuated the beat. And that plot-line! Almost like "El Paso," but rocking. Way back when, I was a fan of Jay & The Americans' hits. I always thought their biggest hit was a "toss up" between either "This Magic Moment" or "Cara Mia." Guess I was wrong. "Come a little bit closer, you're my kinda guy, so big & so strong - and the night is so long!" Fun!
  • Maggie from St Paul, MnThis has the same "plotline" if you will, to "Gimme Three Steps" ! (or, if you want to go in the other direction plot-wise, there's always Marty Robbins' "El Paso"!:)
  • Vonbowda from Sunrise, FlOpinion: I don't know if it's true or not, but "Smokey Joe's Cafe" by Buddy Holly has nearly the same lyrical content as this song. I can't help but think this song was written after hearing Buddy Holly's song.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhThis is an excellent song to sing along to, and the final verse should come as no surprise, I get a chuckle out of it every time I hear it. Also, the instruments stand out in a terrific way, adding the right dimension to this fun tune.
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