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Album: The Feel Of Neil DiamondReleased: 1966Charted:
Neil Diamond is the only credited songwriter on this track, but he got some help from Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who worked with him after he signed with Bang Records and produced the song. Barry and Greenwich were part of the Brill Building songwriting community, and had written many major hits, including "Be My Baby
" and "Chapel Of Love
." They mentored Diamond early in his career and helped him create this Pop nugget, which helped make him a star.
This started out with a guitar lick Diamond came up with that caught Barry's ear. He and Greenwich loved it and encouraged Neil to finish the song.
In an interview with Melody Maker
, Jeff Barry said that this song was originally "Money, Money," but that he and Bang records owner Bert Berns convinced Diamond to make it lighter and more teen-friendly. They were on to something with the original title: In 1968, Tommy James & the Shondells released Mony Mony
Ever notice that there are no drums in this song? That's because the version you hear was intended as a demo, with hand claps providing the drum beat. Diamond recorded the demo with Barry and Greenwich on backing vocals and Artie Butler on piano and Hammond organ. When they recorded the song in an official session complete with horns and drums, they couldn't capture the exuberance of the demo. The drum and horn version was included on Diamond's 1996 anthology In My Lifetime.
When this became a hit, Diamond's songs were in demand. This led to The Monkees recording of Diamond's "I'm A Believer
," which was the biggest hit of 1967.
Ellie Greenwich was not just a premier league songwriter, she was a fine backing singer too and she and Jeff Barry often did the backing vocals for the songs they wrote. Neil Diamond recalled to Rolling Stone
her contribution to this song: "Ellie was the best background singer ever. She did all the background parts on my early Bang records, 'Cherry Cherry,' 'She Got the Way to Move Me,' 'Kentucky Woman
' - all of those records were Jeff and Ellie. They just had this great knack of singing all kinds of background parts and they were great at it. She invented the background parts to 'Cherry Cherry.'"
Diamond made his TV debut performing this song on American Bandstand in 1966. Said Diamond, "American Bandstand was the holy grail of television shows for any Rock and Roll artist at that time."