In this song, a guy goes to Mexico and enjoys the company of a young lady whose boyfriend, Josť, 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.