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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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