I'm A Believer

Album: More Of The Monkees (1966)
Charted: 1 1
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  • Neil Diamond wrote this song. He had his first big hit earlier in 1966 with "Cherry, Cherry," which got the attention of Don Kirshner, who was looking for material for The Monkees. Kirshner was sold on "I'm A Believer," and as part of the deal, allowed Diamond to record the song as well. Diamond's version was released on his 1967 album Just For You. The Monkees version benefited from exposure on their television series.
  • This was The Monkees second single, after "Last Train To Clarksville." It was released during the first season of their TV show.
  • The Monkees sang on this, but did not play any instruments. The producers used session musicians because they were not convinced The Monkees could play like a real band. This became a huge point of contention, as the group fought to play their own songs.
  • Monkees drummer Micky Dolenz sang lead on this. Dolenz also handled lead vocals on "Pleasant Valley Sunday," "Mary Mary" and "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone."
  • Neil Diamond had intended the song to be recorded by the Country artist Eddy Arnold, and was surprised when record executive Don Kirshner passed it instead to The Monkees.
  • Monkees guitarist Michael Nesmith didn't believe this would be a hit, complaining to the producer, Jeff Barry, "I'm a songwriter, and that's no hit." Jeff Barry banned him from the studio while Micky Dolenz recorded his lead vocal.
  • A cover version by Smash Mouth was featured in the 2001 movie Shrek and went to #25 in the US. Diamond wrote the song "You Are My Number One" for Smash Mouth's next album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Linda - Oudenaarde, Belgium
  • Mojo magazine July 2008 asked Neil Diamond if he resented at all the Monkees' success with this song at a time when his own recording career was less successful. He replied: "I was thrilled, because at heart I was still a songwriter and I wanted my songs on the charts. It was one of the songs that was going to be on my first album, but Donny Kirshner, who was their music maven, hears 'Cherry, Cherry' on the radio and said, 'Wow, I want one like that for The Monkees!' He called my producers, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich - 'Hey, does this kid have any more?' And they played him the things I had cut for the next album and he picked 'I'm A Believer,' 'A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You' and 'Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow),' and they had some huge hits. But the head of my record company freaked. He went through the roof because he felt that I had given #1 records away to another group. I couldn't have cared less because I had to pay the rent and The Monkees were selling records and I wasn't being paid for my records."
  • The single had an advance order of 1,051,280 copies and went gold within two days of release.
  • British singer-songwriter and Soft Machine founding member Robert Wyatt had a #29 in the UK in 1974 with an intense cover version. His rendition featured Andy Summers (later of The Police) on guitar, and drums by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, who also produced the recording.

    Wyatt told Q Magazine that he wanted to make a point with his cover. "I was very uncomfortable with having fans who said 'Your music is so much better than all that banal pop music,'" he said. "It sounds like a socialist thing to say but pop music is the music of the people. It's the folk music of the industrial age. If you don't respect popular culture. You don't respect people, in which case your political opinion is of no great value."
  • Dolenz has painful memories of performing this on tour. Literally painful. He told Entertainment Weekly in 2016. "I do remember lots of snatches of touring back then. Unbelievable. No monitors. Screaming. Screaming, screaming. [When we played 'I'm a Believer'] I couldn't hear myself. I just had to pound away. Even to this day, I sing with my eyes closed, because I had to close my eyes and hit myself in the leg to keep time on the drums. I had a big bruise. [Laughs]"

Comments: 45

  • Jennifur SunCoy from Texas you are wrong about the Beach Boys Brian did supplement some of their song as they got more popular and were touring like mad with members of the Wrecking Crew, but the Crew really didn''t take over persay untill about 65 as i remember from an article i recently read. and even then quiet often Carl would play along and the Beatles did their own stuff until about Sgt Pepper on then they would only invite certain musicians in to help with some songs. The Byrds did their own music after the first LP. there is sill a big argument about that first LP having read Hal Blaines book and the book about the Wrecking Crew, he states that they played on every track for that LP but others have argued that the Byrds did a few of the songs on it themselves. will take Hal's word for it, although Roger played with them on the recording
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenAs great as this song is, Neil Diamond's early rendition of his own song is even better. Diamond's early stuff was great, but I disliked most of what he did after that.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: www.msn.com/
    Peter Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees*, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died February 21st, 2019. He was 77...
    His death was confirmed by his sister Anne Thorkelson, who did not say where or how he died. Mr. Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his tongue, in 2009...
    May he R.I.P.
    * Exactly fifty-two years ago the Monkees' "I'm A Believer" was in it's fourth of seventh weeks at #1 on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
  • Susan from Atlanta, GeorgiaI have always loved this song from the minute it first hit the airwaves. I love that Micky sings lead, and the organ music still gets to me. it came out just as I was learning to roller skate, and it was a great skating song.
  • Coy from Palestine, TexasWhat's strange is that Neil Diamond has stated he has never met any of the Monkees! Neil said "I would like to meet them, just never did".
    Dolenz's vocals on this song are perfection-he had a great voice and immediately caught the rhythm and tonal quality needed to make this a teen classic. Radio stations were playing it up to 4 times an hours and still flooded with calls. The Monkee's I'm a Believer sold 5 million 45rpm singles. As for playing their own instruments? Neither did The Byrds, The Beach Boys, The Grassroots and on and on. From the beginning of rock and roll, nearly all groups, including the Beatles, used studio musicians for their recordings.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 5th 1967, the Monkees' album 'More of the Monkees' peaked at #1* on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart, and the album remained in the top spot for a total of eighteen weeks...
    Two tracks from the album made the Top 100 chart; "I'm A Believer" peaked at #1 for 7 weeks, while the record's B-side, " (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone", reached #20...
    * The quartet knocked themselves out of the top spot on the Top 200 Albums chart, their album, 'The Monkees', had been #1 for thirteen weeks.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 6th 1963* the original Broadway production of 'Oliver!' opened at the Imperial Theater in New York City; the play ran for 774 performances...
    The role of the Artfulful Dodger was played by future Monkee, Davy Jones; and he received a Tony Award nomination for 'Best Featured Actor in a Musical'...
    A little over a year later on February 9th, 1964 he appeared on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and performed a scene from the play; and this was the same 'Sullivan' show that debut the Beatles live in the U.S.A.
    Davy Jones passed away on February 29th, 2012 at the young age of 66...
    May he R.I.P.
    *And exactly four years later on January 6th, 1967 the Monkees' "I'm A Believer" was in its second of seven weeks at #1 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 27th 1965, teenager* Davy Jones appeared in the 'If You Play Your Cards Right, You Too Can Be a Loser' episode on the CBS-TV medical drama series 'Ben Casey'...
    Exactly one year later on December 27th, 1966 the Monkees' "I'm A Believer" was in its first of seven weeks at #1 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
    And then exactly one year after on December 27th, 1967 the quartet's "Daydream Believer" was at #3 on the Top 100, but the week before it had ended its four week run a #1...
    * Three days after his appearance on 'Ben Casey' he was no longer a teenager; for he turned 20 years old on December 30th, 1965.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 3rd 1966, the Monkees performed in their debut live concert at the Honolulu International Center in Hawaii...
    They opened the concert with "Last Train to Clarksville"; and at the time the song was at #10 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; four weeks earlier on October 31st, 1966 it had peaked at #1 {for 1 week}...
    The 16th and last song that they performed was "I'm A Believer"; and the very next day on December 4th, 1966 it entered the Top 100 at position #44; then just twenty-two days later on December 25th, 1966 it reached #1 and stayed there for seven weeks.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 20th 1971, "I'm A Believer" by Neil Diamond entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #98; eventually it peaked at #51 and spent 8 weeks on the Top 100.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 17th 1966 the Monkees performed "I'm A Believer" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Two weeks earlier on December 4th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on Christmas Day 1966 it peaked at #1 (for 7 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100 (which means almost 50% of the time it was on the chart it was the #1 record)...
    They also performed the record's B-side, "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone", and it also made the Top 100 at position #20...
    R.I.P. Davy Jones (1945 - 2012).
  • Gary from Clementon, NjThe Neil Diamond version is on his compilation CD "Classics: The Early Years". I like both the Monkees and Smash Mouth versions. I have a Various Artists compilation CD titled "New Wave Hits of the 80s: Just Can’t Get Enough, Vol. 1" where track 14 is an interesting version of this song by Tin Huey. Great songs certainly get around.
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlI disagree, GrandpopDk. I think he sings, "Aw..., love was out to get me".
  • Grandpopdk from Odense, DenmarkAlways wondered - now for 46 years - why no one has mentioned - even after 18 takes - that the producer still releases a single with a failure on it. It is obvious that the singer sings "A love was out .." at the wrong place and then suddenly stops. He has however limited the failure as he hits the right key!!! Could that be the reason??
  • Kimberly from Landing, NjIm a believer in the american pride with love on its side.
  • Olivia from Philadelphia, PaNice dancing Davy :)
  • George from Belleville, NjThis is a hit song and a classic from the 60's.I think this song is a good example of what a pop rock song should be.It has a very catchy melody,and why not,because it was written by one of the great songwriters,Neil Diamond.One of my favorite songs in my childhood,and still is to this day.
  • Rick from Belfast, MeSay what you want about the Monkees....but in 1967, they sold more records than the Beatles and Rolling Stones COMBINED! They also had four #1 albums in one year and sold 5 million copies of one album! Not too shabby for a donny kirschner studio produced group....who DID play live concerts....and their OWN instruments!
  • Brian from Boston, MaSay what you want about the Monkees but thier music had some good riffs [inspired of course from beatle songs] but I like that they had guitar in their music Unlike the Partrige family wich came out a few years later' The partrige family producers thought electric guitar was too edgy for a family sitcom. As a result we the veiwers were treated to some killer harpsichord solos.
  • Scarlett from Denver, CoDidn't the Beatles do this song, too?
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesDoug Barber - It had a reputation as a drug song, at least among the paranoid frantic-religious set. I'll repeat here what I said on the "Daydream Believer" page: 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." Leaving me to ask, who is "we"?
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumGood song from the 60's written by Neil Diamond.
  • Miguel from Chico, CaThe way I remember the Star Trek quote... was that *Micky* was quoted as saying the Monkees were actors PORTRAYING a rock band, just as the cast of Star Trek was just a bunch of actors PORTRAYING a starship crew, and then Mike came back (I'm thinking this was all after the breakup...maybe in the 70s, but I could be wrong there) and said Micky was wrong, because the Monkees really did play together...and there was no comparison to Star Trek unless the cast of Star Trek could actually fly a Starship in real life.
  • Tori from New Orleans, Lai do like this song, but, sorry, i like the counting crows version better. 4 sum reason evrytime counting crows makes their own version of a song i wind up likn tht 1 bttr!!
  • Pat from Albuquerque, NmActually, I like both the Monkees and the Smash Mouth versions of "I'm a Believer." Amazingly long lived song for both the Monkees and "Shrek."
  • Louise from Newcastle, United KingdomI like this song- a bit cheesy, but good.
  • Meredith from Wauwatosa, WiThe version by Smash Mouth is pretty darn good, but I prefer the Monkees' version. Love it!
  • Musicmama from New York, NyOK, I know this song is almost the definition of "bubble gum." But I love it. Yes, the song is not the most emotionally complex verse I've ever heard, but it's pretty damned good for what it is. And the organ and guitar work great with each other, and this song. Nothing wrong with listening to something like this before you get back to Nick Drake!
  • Van from Philadelphia, PaCarole King can be heard singing backing vocals on this track (especially near the end).
    She co-wrote several Monkees songs, although not this one.
  • James from Seattle, WaAccording to Andrew Sandoval's Monkees sessionography, 18 takes of the backing track were recorded, the final being the master. Neil Diamond played acoustic guitar on the Monkees' version.
  • David from Wokingham, EnglandBritish rocker Robert Wyatt's 1974 cover was pretty good and worth tracking down.
  • Darren from Hull, EnglandThis was actually The Monkees 1st hit in the UK. It was also their only number 1 too. Topped the charts in January 1967.
  • Garrett from Nashville, TnFWIW, Jeff Barry produced this. On first hearing the finished version, the Monkees despised it, especially Mike Nesmith who declared, "That ain't no hit."
  • Garrett from Nashville, TnDoug,
    I very much doubt that this was at all a drug song. At the time he wrote it, Neil Diamond was a barely-known, struggling act living on Long Island with his schoolteacher wife.
    In fact, he has said he wrote it as a Country song, and was trying to get Eddy Arnold to sing it.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoI have Neil Diamond's rendition on a 45 I got at a yard sale or something and was quite shocked at how badly it wreaked. And I'm a Neil Diamond fan! I think the organ-guitar interplay that forms the main hook of the Monkees' version was more than a little bit influenced by the organ-guitar interplay on The Beatles' "I'm Looking Throuh You."
  • Doug Barber from Jamesville, Nyi heard that this song is about someone getting introduced to herion is that true?
  • Rob from Vancouver, CanadaMy kid sure likes the Shrek version.
  • Scott from Harrisburg, Pa"I'm a Believer" spent an incredible seven weeks atop Billboard's U.S. Singles Chart, from December 31, 1966 to February 11, 1967. The song hit number-8 only 2-weeks after its debut.
  • Brian from Providence, RiI gotta say I was never a fan of this song, and I think it's too bad it's the one they are most known for. If you ever get the chance, check out "All of Your Toys", which wasn't released until the mid 80's as part of Rhino's Missing Links collection. That song would have been the Monkees biggest hit, and it was one of the first songs where they all played their own instruments.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyWhen it was revealed that the Monkees didn't play the instruments on this, or any of their other early hits, Michael Nesmith said "To say that The Monkees are a band is like saying Lenord Nimoy is a Vulcan!"
  • Jessica from Milaca, MnYes, they did eventually get to play their own songs. They were forbidden to do so on thier first couple of albums because of a controling song manager (Don Kirshner). He was eventually fired and the guys got to play their own instruments on their third album "Headquarters"
  • Mike from Seattle, WaStudio wizard Mike Deasy was the member of the wrecking crew playing guitar on this and all of the Monkees hits, they never did play on their own stuff.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesEMF (the English indie act best known for their 1991 hits "Unbelievable" and "I Believe") made No.5 in the UK with a cover version of this song in cpllaboration with the popular comedy duo Reeves and Mortimer. Inclusion of words based on 'believe' in their song titles seemed to be a good omen for EMF, as these three records were their their only big hits over the world!
  • Luiz from Rio De Janeiro, CanadaBrazilian guitarplayer, singer and songwriter Lulu Santos made a version of this song for the Portuguese named Não Acredito, which means "I don't believe"! In other comment I'll try to re-translate it to English.
  • Lisa from A Town In, PaThis is one of Davy Jones's favorite Monkees songs. He said so at the Schuylkill County fair show on August 2, 2003.
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