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Daydream Believer by The Monkees

Album: The Birds, The Bees and The MonkeesReleased: 1967Charted:
1
5
  • 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." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
  • This was the Monkees' last #1 single before they drifted apart. It was soon knocked out of #1 by The Beatles "Hello Goodbye." (thanks, Tommy - flower mound, TX)
  • 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." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • The song was covered by Anne Murray in 1979. Her version reached #3 on the U.S. country singles 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.
  • Olivia Newton-John recorded a dance version of this song for the 2012 movie soundtrack CD A Few Best Men. (thanks, James - Minneapolis, MN)
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Comments: 65

"My shaving razor's cold" sounds better than "old". A cold razor does "sting". And changing "How funky we can be" to "How happy we can be" also makes sense. "Funky" dates the lyrics. Whatever, the opening intro and the entire song, especially Peter Tork's piano playing...it is a pop classic.Coy - Palestine, Tx
John Stewart's version also has the line "shaving razor's OLD and it stings" which makes WAY more sense then it being cold. And old razor is blunt and this more likely to sting. I wonder why the Monkee version had this altered?Ethan - London, United Kingdom
Hi. Daydream Believer was marketed, before release, when the album was barely finished, as a single under the name, "Cheer Up, Sleepy Jean". When it was released, suddenly it was "Daydream Believer". ("16 Magazine", an American teen zine (I was in L.A.), had a running story where one of their young male reporters was hanging out with Davy and he got "advance notice of the song from Davy", and girls flooded the record company with requests!!)
The conversation with producer Chip Douglas (Douglas Farthing Hatlelid in album credits) goes like this:
Chip--"S-s-s-seven A."
Davy--"What number is this, Chip?"
Chip, Peter, Mickey and Mike)--SEVEN..A."
Davy--"Alri', alri' (all right, all right) , there's no need to get excited, man. 'S jus' 'cause I'm short, I know."
This line was a HUGE hit with fans and was REPEATED by Davy in a scene in the show BUT HAS SINCE BEEN CUT OUT IN RERUNS, and short jokes happened other times in the show, so Davy was just poking fun at himself this time. It was a recording studio incident, and had NOTHING to do with any apartment door scene in the show.

I could make my friends laugh for weeks afterward by saying this..."it's just cuz I'm short, I know." whenever I messed up. I think I'll try it again and see if it still works...

These posts are not dated, so no one may ever see this, but it is April 18, 2013, "and that's the way it was."
Nicki - Anywhere, Ca
This was their last hit. I always liked it, but Anne Murray should have been slapped for the vanilla remake she did of it. Of course, most of her songs sound vanilla.Esskayess - Dallas, Tx
The conversation at the beginning ends with Davy saying "OK...don't mean, I mean, like don't get excited, man. It's 'cause I'm short, I know." I'm unsure of the first few words but he is DEFINITELY saying it's because he's short. I just listened to it at high volume (remembering to pause it before the music started, of course.)Harold - University Park, Pa
The Monkees weren't to keen on this song, and clowned around for the film clip. Then they turned down Sugar, Sugar after they recorded this tune. Oh well....Jim - West Palm Beach, Fl
I heard an interview with John Stewart and he talked about this song. The song is in the voice of a guy, Gene, who is living with his girlfriend. One key to understanding the lyrics is to go back to Stewart's original line, "...You once thought of me as a white knight on a steed, but now you know how FUNKY I can be." The two have been together for quite a while, since they were poor, but they had their love to get them through. And they know each other very well by now. The suits who handled the Monkees insisted on a lyric change, and they substituted the lame "...now you know how HAPPY we can be."Al - Baltimore, Md
* The accurate opening conversation to Daydream Believer:
Chip: 7A
Davy: What number is this Chip?
Chip & Other 3 Monkees: 7A!
Davy: Ok, don't mean to tell me excited man, cause I'm sure I know.
Lisa B - St. Petersburg, Fl
* Just wanted to hear Daydream Believer again, and in doing so I believe Davy said "excited" rather than "exciting" as I previously quoted. The truth is the others were being exciting when they sarcastically repeated "7A". You all can hear it for yourselves and come to your own conclusion. :-)Lisa B - St. Petersburg, Fl
RIP Davy Jones! <3 U.Lisa B - St. Petersburg, Fl
Oh Please, I LOVE Daydream Believer and heard it a zillion times! I've also been to both England and Scotland and heard some of the hardest to decipher of accents. This is what I hear and if you listen for yourself, you will know BOTH of the earlier quotes of what Davy says in the opening is WRONG! Opening conversation to Daydream Believer controversy:
Chip: 7A
Davy: What number is this Chip?
Chip & Other 3 Monkees: 7A!
Davy: Ok, don't mean to tell me exciting man, cause I'm sure I know.
Lisa B - St. Petersburg, Fl
As John Lennon once said: "Most of the time the words of the songs don't mean anything. They are just words that went together well to make a song."Jim - Los Angeles, Ca
the lyrics are "And our good time starts and then, Without dollar one to spend"... They spend their money on fun and they're broke.Jack - Mesa, Az
BUT... no-one has yet offered an explanation as to the meaning of the song. Or is the key lyric, "Oh what can it mean?"?Romy - London, United Kingdom
Davy isn't a scouser...Adam - West Palm Beach, Fl
This is a classic 60's hit single.This is great pop song writing.Music was better back then.It was more inventive.This song is so catchy and melodic.George - Belleville, Nj
What I need to know is...what difference did it make to Davy what number it was?? All he needed to do was sing the song....Sean - Chicago, Il
Davy does not say "Dont get excited 'cause I'm sure by now" He says OK Don't mean it man, just 'cause I'm short, I know!.John - Seattle, Wa
Never thought about the Davy/Axl similarity but can picture both in my mind and have to agree...how funny they are so opposite in music styles. As to Daydream Believer...a wonderfully warm and romantic song that is always a treat to listen to. Everyone wants to believe love is always gonna be enough to get you through anything.Camille - Toronto, Oh
I am starting to wonder whether in fact Davy was the factor that broke up (or catalyzed the breakup) of the Monkees? Ok, he was short, but that did not necessarily mean he HAD to have a chip on his shoulder and an inferiority complex about this. Does anyone know whether he possibly inadvertently "inspired" the title Randy Scouse Git, by perhaps BEING the original "randy scouse git"? (Micky must have heard this epithet somewhere, to label his song with it!). If so, his inadvertent "inspiration" of the title Randy Scouse Git ("Alternate Title" in the UK... lol!) was possibly the best thing he ever did for the Monkees?
Shared birthday with Nez notwithstanding, and Nez might have always SEEMED the "moodier, broodier" one in their public style, maybe Davy was the REAL "moody, broody" one? ;-P
Claire - Melbourne, Australia
According to Dr. David Noebel of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, an interview with Mrs. Judith Kutch in the Columbus, Ohio Citizen-Journal for 5/9/1967 reveals the following: "Better than half of all pop music is inspired by LSD experience. The Monkees' number, 'I'm a Believer', is ostensibly a love song, but we all know it refers to drugs." BS, or was the lady on (to) something?Ekristheh - Halath, United States
Hilarious, all these people arguing over what DJ says at the beginning when it's embedded right on the page. Just play it people. Cheese n rice!Cerph - Earth, Fl
If you watch the video for "Daydream Believer", and then watch the video for Guns n Roses "Sweet Child O Mine", you will notice that both Davy and Axl, dance pretty similar. I think it's funny.Mary - Phoenix, Az
The whole verbal intro go like this.

Chip: 7A
Davy: What number is this Chip?
Chip & Other 3 Monkees: 7A!
Davy: Ok, you know what I mean, like don't get excited man, it's because I'm short I know.

Chip Douglas is the name of the producer speaking at the beginning. The first one to say 7A.

Davy jokes that he didn't hear Chip and needed to ask again as a problem of his being short.
Jim - Everett, Ma
One of my favorites from the 60's.Rich - Wall , Nj
"Davy Jones conversation goes "What number is this Jim" He is answered with a shout of "7A",Davy Answers "Ok Man, I mean it, dont get excited cause I'm sure by now"!!!!
- Paul, London, United Kingdom"

I have that version on my Ipod! My sis cracks up when she hears that part.
Alexis - Memphis, Tn
I think I've found the Davy Jones comments that Heather of Alexandria, MN was referring to. I did read it in _Monkeemania: The True Story of the Monkees_ (first U.S. edition, page 75), as I thought: "We'd done twelve songs and the thirteenth was Daydream Believer. I said,'That's terrible.' I was a baritone and it was in the wrong key for my voice. I'd been in the studio all day, I was tired and I'm singing these words about twelve times...Hank Cicalo, the engineer, had his own way of numbering takes so he could find them, he'd call them 1A or 2A, like that. Anyway, all of a sudden he says '7A' over the talkback and I wasn't listening so I said 'What number is this?' and they said '7A!' in unison. That kicked me on a bit and I got it down but you can tell from the vocal that I was pissed off."Jon - Denver, Co
I have a cassette copy of _Then and Now: The Best Of the Monkees_, which has a remixed version--probably the version on the 45 Darren of Hickory, NC mentioned. However, for some reason, I played someone else's copy of _Then and Now_, and it had the original version on it. Whether or not the "7A" part was intact, I don't remember--it's been 20 years. There's also a slightly different mix on the TV show. I also read Davy Jones's comments about being in a foul mood when it was recorded, and the "#A" numbering system--I think it was in the book _Monkeemania: The True Story of the Monkees_, by Glenn A. Baker, with Peter Hogan and Tom Czarnota. My copy is packed away, so I can't provide a definite on that, no less a page number.Jon - Denver, Co
Anne Murray does not need to sing this, leave that to Davy, he did an amazing job. This song is one of my favorite Monkees songs.Lyndsey - Corinth, Ms
Davy Jones conversation goes "What number is this Jim" He is answered with a shout of "7A",Davy Answers "Ok Man, I mean it, dont get excited cause I'm sure by now"!!!!Paul - London, United Kingdom
While this is another favorite of mine, I never understood what they were singing about.

Also, I have the "Then & Now" album and it doesn't seem to have the whole conversation on it, I'll have to check again though.
Pmcountry - Small Town, Pa
Rest in peace John Stewart. Great song!Malicious Matt - Squatney, -
Davy said when he first heard the demo, he had no clue what a "homecoming queen" was, there was nothing comparible in England where he grew up. He also said he was unfamiliar with the American idiom "without dollar one", meaning broke.Ken - Louisville, Ky
I believe Davy says, "It's because I'm short, I know." jokingly in response to the fact he didn't hear Chip just say that it was number 7A.
He was just saying a short joke on himself, like I didn't hear it because I'm short. He must have gotten a lot of short jokes, so he just decided to say it first.
J - Everett, Ma
I read this morning online that John Stewart passed away. His song "Gold" is a classic, with Stevie Nicks solidly backing him up on vocals. But I hope that more people will discover that he wrote "Daydream Believer", and he will be recognized for his contributions to pop music, as well as those in rock and roll.Don - Indianapolis, In
If you listen to "Daydream Believer" on headphones, pay attention to the four bars after the final chorus and before the extended outro. Davy's microphone is still on and you can hear him breathing and moving around. Usually, the vocalist's track would be off during such a quiet section.Earl - Elkhart, In
Kathryn said:



===



If you listen carefully, you will hear an alarm clock ringing at the beginning of the song. It was set off as a joke to throw Davy Jones off in his sining. This was never intended to be on the actual recording, but they could not remove it from the track.



===



I know, the alarm clock in a recording of the song I have on a CD of mine. (Man, the timing of it is really good; it fits the song like a charm!) However, I don't think that the version I have was by the Monkees... I think it was covered by someone else. I'll have to take a look at my iPod to be sure.
Matthew - Milford, Ma
Very good song... very good song...Matthew - Milford, Ma
On his 1971 version, John Stewart refers to the "old surfer drummer". This refers to Russ Kunkel who drummed on the song on Stewart's album "The Lonesome Picker Rides Again". Kunkel was part of the "LA Mafia" who appeared on most LA recordings in the 70s. Stewart was never a drummer.Dave - Scottsdale, Az
I am SHORT and i was A HOMECOMING QUEEN......so I can relate.......Davy is short and he knows it!!Donna - Mooresburg, Tn
I always thought of sleepy Gene, as being the singer, talking to himself.John - San Antonio, Tx
The John Stewart version, which I used to have on 45, had additional lyrics including an "old beach boys drummer". This refers to Stewart actually being fill-in drummer for the Beach Boys.
You won't find this on internet lyric sites as they just write down the Monkeees version.
Richard - Sydney, Australia
In 1986, during the height of the Monkees Renaissance, a slightly remixed version of this was released as a new 45. I still have my copy. It features new drum and bass tracks, although I don't know who the performers were. I actually like this version almost as much as the original.Darren - Hickory, Nc
Chip Douglas was a bass player for The Turtles. Michael Nesmith drafted him to produce The Monkees' third and fourth albums. When Nesmith shanghaied him, Douglas protested "I don't know how to produce an album." Nesmith replied "You'll learn". The implications being that the Monkees didn't know how to be a "real group" either, so Douglas fit right in. This was The Monkees first album that they had complete control over.Ken - Louisville, Ky
Davy says, "It's because I'm short, I know" because of a scene in the series right before they sing the song. They walk up to an apartment door and Davy says, "What number is this chaps?" (Not Chip), and the rest of them say in unison, "7 A" And Davy replies, "Okay no need to get excited man, it's because I'm short, I know." The whole conversation can be found on "Then and Now: The Best of the Monkees".

-Dee, Smyrna, GA
Dorinda - Smyrna, Ga
and wasn't Chip Douglas one of the kids in My 3 Sons???Pete - Nowra, Australia
Sleepy Jean wasn't really sleepy at all, she was a party animal and liked to stay up all night, and she wasn't really a homecoming Queen, as she was homeless, how can you be a homecoming queen and not have a home ????????Pete - Nowra, Australia
Why does Davy say "It's because im short, I know"?Shane - St. Charles, Mo
John Stewart's original lyric in the 2nd verse was "Now you know how funky love can be." The show's producers had never heard the word, thought it might be dirty, and had it non-sensically changed to "happy."Garrett - Nashville, Tn
A pause for reflection: What does it tell us that the real "creator" of this music is still around, doing his craft, while the mere singers on the record have vanished into history?Dirk - Nashville, Tn
FYI, if you like this song independently of the Monkees, the guy who wrote it, John Stewart, is still turning out colorful music. In 2003 he put out a CD called Havana. It's the sound of a mature songwriter who knows what he wants to sound like.Dirk - Nashville, Tn
The song's writer, John Stewart, did a much better version! At the end he varied some of the lyrics of the chorus, for instance '...to a daydream believer and an old closet queen!'John - Guildford, England
Yes. Anne Murray did record a cover version of Daydream Believer.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
The alarm clock mentioned by Kathryn comes in around 31 seconds.Evan - Schererville, In
One of the most frequently covered songs by the Replacements, who were famed for their drunken covers of oldies and have been alternately called the greatest/worst live band of the 80's.John - Levittown, Ny
7a. Ha ha, great number system. Only the people that were actually at those sessions know what really happened. Unfortunately they arn't all that reliable for remembering those times.Matt Ford - Buffalo, Mn
sorry, it wasn't an engineer - it was Chip Douglas. What number is this Chip?Heather - Alexandria, Mn
On the commentary track on Season 2 of the series Davy states that he didn't like the song originally and thought it should be cut from the album. He's now glad that it stayed and that it has since brought him a lot of joy. I wish I could remember where I heard him talking about how he was angry going into the session because he didn't like the song and thought it was in the wrong key, however, in that same interview - whatever it was - he said that the conversation at the beginning of the track was him talking to an engineer who had a funny way of numbering the takes.Heather - Alexandria, Mn
so whose the guy at the start ...with the 7 a bit?Pete - Nowra, Australia
Actually, the whole wrong-key-I-hate-this-song thing came from a recent documentary "Daydream Believers" and is not necessarily true.Jessica - Milaca, Mn
I heard that Davy Jones originally thought this was a stupid song and that it was in the wrong key for him to sing. Thankfully, he sang it anyway and the rest is Monkees history.Heather - Alexandria, Mn
If you listen carefully, you will hear an alarm clock ringing at the beginning of the song. It was set off as a joke to throw Davy Jones off in his sining. This was never intended to be on the actual recording, but they could not remove it from the track.Kathryn - Portland , Or
Mary Beth Maziarz did a cover of this, singing with piano only. I like it better than original version; this one is very tranquil and dreamy..great!Honzin - Prague, Czech Republic
Was "sleepy jean" a real gal?, and was she really homecoming queen?Natasha - Chico, Ca
I think Anne Murray did a cover of this.
-Davy Jones sang this for the Monkees.
Rich - Elkins, Wv