Daydream Believer

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"Daydream Believer"
The Monkees single 05 Daydream Believer.jpg
US single cover
Single by The Monkees
from the album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
B-side "Goin' Down"
Released October 25, 1967
Format 7"
Recorded June 14 & August 9, 1967
RCA Victor Studios
Hollywood, CA
Length 2:54
Label Colgems #1012
Writer(s) John Stewart
Producer(s) Chip Douglas
Certification Gold (RIAA)
The Monkees singles chronology
"Pleasant Valley Sunday"
"Daydream Believer"
The Monkees singles chronology
"That Was Then, This Is Now"
"Daydream Believer (remix)"
"Heart and Soul"

"Daydream Believer" is a song composed by John Stewart shortly before he left the Kingston Trio. The song was originally recorded by The Monkees, with Davy Jones singing lead vocals. The single hit the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1967, remaining there for four weeks, and peaked at number five in the UK Singles Chart. It was the Monkees' last number one hit in the U.S. In 1979, "Daydream Believer" was recorded by Canadian singer Anne Murray, whose version reached number three on the U.S. country singles chart and number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been recorded by others including a 1971 version by John Stewart.

The Monkees version[edit]


Producer Chip Douglas was friends with John Stewart and ran into him at a party at Hoyt Axton's home in Hollywood's Laurel Canyon. Douglas told Stewart that he was now producing the Monkees and asked if he had any songs that might work for the group. Stewart offered "Daydream Believer" (which had already been turned down by the We Five and Spanky and Our Gang). The song had originally written by Stewart as part of a suburban trilogy of songs in a folk style. When Douglas heard the song he knew it could be a hit, but, according to Stewart, RCA Records (Colgems Records distributor) had a problem with the word "funky" (the original lyric in the second stanza was: "You once thought of me as a white knight on a steed, Now you know how funky I can be"). RCA wanted to change the word to "happy" and Douglas asked Stewart if he could live with that. Stewart initially refused because the change made no sense in the context of the song, but relented after realizing it could well be a hit recording.

"Daydream Believer" was recorded during the sessions for their 1967 album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., but was ultimately included on their 1968 album The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees. All four Monkees appear on the track, with Michael Nesmith on lead guitar, Peter Tork on piano (he created the catchy piano introduction; the orchestral arrangement was created by noted jazz trumpeteer and composer, Shorty Rogers, who included the same seven-note phrase preceding the chorus that can be heard on the Beach Boys' "Help Me, Rhonda") and Micky Dolenz on backing vocals. Davy Jones was not sure of the song's potential at first, and admitted later that he had recorded the vocal with a hint of annoyance at the ongoing takes.[1] His feelings changed when the song became a hit.

In 1986, three of the four Monkees (Dolenz, Jones, and Tork) mounted a successful reunion tour and had a major hit with the newly recorded "That Was Then, This Is Now." Arista Records, which owned the Monkees' masters at the time, re-released "Daydream Believer" as a follow-up single, remixed with a heavier drum track by Michael Lloyd who had produced "That Was Then, This Was Now".

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 2
Austrian Singles Chart [2] 7
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[3] 8
German Singles Chart 4
Irish Singles Chart 1
Japanese Oricon Singles Chart 4
Norwegian VG-lista Singles Chart [2] 2
Swiss Singles Chart [2] 10
UK Singles Chart 5
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 1
Chart (1986) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 79
Preceded by
"Incense and Peppermints"
by Strawberry Alarm Clock
Billboard Hot 100
number one single

December 2–23, 1967
Succeeded by
"Hello, Goodbye"
by The Beatles

John Stewart version[edit]


Although he had written the song, John Stewart did not release a version of his own until 1971, when he recorded it for his solo album The Lonesome Picker Rides Again. He had previously attempted to record the song in 1969 during sessions with Chip Douglas for an ultimately unreleased album.

Stewart's version of the song stood in stark contrast to the popular Monkees single: it was slower and more folkish, and contained many lyrical differences. Most notably, it restored "funky" to where "happy" had been inserted, and referred to the shaving razor as "old" rather than "cold". Also, in refrains near the end, he repeatedly substituted words to mock the established lyrics, beginning with " a Lonesome Picker and a homecoming queen," then " an old surfer drummer and a homecoming queen," then " old Nashville Carter and a homecoming queen," and ultimately " a daydream deceiver and an old closet queen."

In interviews, Stewart described that he originally envisioned the song as demonstrating the process of a relationship where at the start, both parties are in an idealistic haze, but later artifice falls away and each are confronted with their real selves, thus it's this point where love is really proven. Hence his initial insistence on the adjective "funky," as if to suggest his lover has grown to accept his less-pleasant aspects.

Anne Murray version[edit]

"Daydream Believer"
Single by Anne Murray
from the album I'll Always Love You
B-side "Do You Think Of Me?"
Released December 1979
Format 7"
Recorded 1979
Genre Country pop
Length 2:26
Label Capitol
Writer(s) John Stewart
Producer(s) Jim Ed Norman
Anne Murray singles chronology
"Broken Hearted Me"
"Daydream Believer"
"Lucky Me"


Anne Murray recorded a cover version of "Daydream Believer" and included it on her Platinum-certified 1979 album, I'll Always Love You. The following year, Murray's single became her eighth number 1 hit on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart, and number twelve on the pop chart.[5] In addition the Anne Murray version peaked at number three on the country chart.[6] She re-released the song as a duet with Nelly Furtado on her 2007 album, Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends.

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 17
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 12
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[9] 1
Preceded by
"Give It All You Got" by Chuck Mangione
Billboard Adult Contemporary (chart) number-one single
March 1, 1980
Succeeded by
"Give It All You Got" by Chuck Mangione
Preceded by
by Barbara Mandrell[10]
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

March 22, 1980[11]
Succeeded by
"My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys"
by Willie Nelson[12]

Other versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "You can tell from the vocal that I was pissed off!" Davy Jones, The Monkees Tale, Last Gasp Press, 1986
  2. ^ a b c The Monkees - Daydream Believer
  3. ^ "The Monkees - Daydream Believer". Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  4. ^ "The Monkees – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for The Monkees.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 176. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 242. 
  7. ^ "Anne Murray – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Anne Murray.
  8. ^ "Anne Murray – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Anne Murray.
  9. ^ "Anne Murray – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Anne Murray.
  10. ^ "RPM Country Tracks for March 15, 1980". RPM. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "RPM Country Tracks for March 22, 1980". RPM. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 
  12. ^ "RPM Country Tracks for March 29, 1980". RPM. Retrieved 24 November 2010. 

External links[edit]