Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: The Birds, The Bees and The MonkeesReleased: 1967Charted:
A folk singer named John Stewart wrote this song. Stewart was a member of The Kingston Trio from 1961 to 1967, and he wrote this shortly after leaving the group and teaming up with a pre-famous John Denver. In 1968, Stewart became the official musician of the Democratic party, which involved traveling with Senator Robert Kennedy during his Presidential campaign. In 1979 he had a Top 5 US hit with "Gold."
This was the Monkees' last #1 single before they drifted apart. It was soon knocked out of #1 by The Beatles "Hello Goodbye
John Stewart died on January 19, 2008 from a massive stroke. In a letter posted on the Kingston Trio site, Stewart's close friend Tom Delisle wrote: "John Stewart leaves a compilation of musical excellence unparalleled in his time. He recorded over 45 solo albums following his seven years in the Kingston Trio, 1961-67. He worked all the way up to the time of his death, having recently completed his latest as-yet untitled album. It is estimated that he wrote more than 600 unique and highly personal songs, many of them constituting a modern musical history of his beloved America."
The song was covered by Anne Murray in 1979. Her version reached #3 on the US Country chart and #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song returned to the Hot 100 for a third time in 1986 when a re-tooled version by the reunited Monkees peaked at #79.
A version by Olivia Newton-John appears in the 2011 movie A Few Best Men
, in which she also has a role.
To appease their record label, the Monkees had to make one small change to Stewart's lyrics. The group's drummer Micky Dolenz explains: "As we sing it, there's a line 'Now, you know how happy I can be.' John wrote 'Now, you know how funky I can be.' But the music department said, 'The Monkees are not singing the word 'funky.'' [Laughs] Funky meant oily, and greasy, and sexy - and they weren't going to have us say it."
Lead singer Davy Jones named this as his favorite Monkees song.