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"
ReleasedOctober 25, 1967
RecordedJune 14, 1967
August 9, 1967
StudioRCA Victor Studios
LabelColgems #1012
Songwriter(s)John Stewart
Producer(s)Chip Douglas
The Monkees singles chronology
"Pleasant Valley Sunday"
"Daydream Believer"

"That Was Then, This Is Now"

"Daydream Believer (remix)"

"Heart and Soul"
Music video
"Daydream Believer" on YouTube

"Daydream Believer" is a song composed by American songwriter John Stewart shortly before he left the Kingston Trio. It was originally recorded by the Monkees, with Davy Jones singing the lead. The single reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1967, remaining there for four weeks, and peaked at No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart. It was the Monkees' third and last No. 1 hit in the U.S.

In 1979, "Daydream Believer" was recorded by Canadian singer Anne Murray, whose version reached No. 3 on the U.S. country singles chart and No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been recorded by others, including a 1971 version by Stewart.

The song title was featured in the name of the 2000 biopic about the band, Daydream Believers: The Monkees' Story.[2][3]

The 2022 American drama Women Talking features this song.[4]


John Stewart wrote "Daydream Believer" as the third in a trilogy of songs about suburban life,[5] recalling: "I remember going to bed thinking, 'What a wasted day — all I’ve done is daydream.' And from there I wrote the whole song. I never thought it was one of my best songs. Not at all".[6]

The song was turned down by We Five and Spanky and Our Gang. While attending a party at Hoyt Axton's home in Hollywood's Laurel Canyon, producer Chip Douglas told Stewart that he was now producing the Monkees and asked if Stewart had any songs that might work for the group. Stewart offered "Daydream Believer."[5] The song was recorded during the sessions for the Monkees' 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; in addition to the lead vocals by Jones, Michael Nesmith plays lead guitar, Peter Tork plays piano and Micky Dolenz sings backing vocals. Tork created the piano introduction, and the orchestral arrangement was created by jazz trumpeter 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."[citation needed]

Jones claimed he had been "pissed off" recording the song, with his lead vocal showing a hint of annoyance at the ongoing takes.[7]

According to Billboard Hot 100 chart historian Joel Whitburn's mid-1980s book The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, the recording was originally scheduled to be the B-side of the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song "Love Is Only Sleeping" (from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.), featuring lead vocals by Michael Nesmith. However, a week before release, it was discovered that the European single masters for "Love Is Only Sleeping" were not ready, but the masters for "Daydream Believer" were. A last-minute switch meant that "Daydream Believer" now became the A-side and "Goin' Down," a song written by all four Monkees with Diane Hildebrand in the style of Mose Allison, became the flip side. Nesmith would not be given a lead vocal on a Monkees single A-side until 1969's "Listen to the Band." Allegedly, Colgems Records did not like Nesmith's voice, preferring the voices of both Dolenz and Jones, and was further aggrieved when Nesmith insisted on the inclusion of at least two of his songs per album.[citation needed] Previously, Nesmith's lead vocal version of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" was replaced with Dolenz on lead vocals for the B-side of the single "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You".

Billboard described the single as a "well written easy beat rhythm ballad" with a "clever opening."[8] Cash Box said that it has "fascinating arrangements that develop from a simple piano opening to a compelling ork ensemble and the hypnotic repetition of a very catchy refrain."[9] According to Variety, the song's lyrics focus on the endgame of a comfy but increasingly distant relationship, with the narrator "caught in mid-gaze before the bathroom mirror, reflecting on the quiet dissolution of his materialistic marriage – a union between 'a daydream believer and a homecoming queen,' now curdled, driven more by money than by romance."[10]

RCA Records did not like the song as written by Stewart, and insisted on changing a critical word. Stewart originally wrote: "Now you know how funky I can be," but RCA wanted to change it to "Now you know how happy I can be," as one meaning of "funky" is "smelly." Stewart initially objected because the change would completely reverse the meaning of the line and would not make sense in the context of the song. He relented because RCA was adamant and Stewart realized that the song could be a hit. In 2006, Stewart said that the proceeds from "Daydream Believer" "...kept me alive for all these years."[5]

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, rereleased "Daydream Believer" as a followup single, remixed with a new and heavier percussion track by Michael Lloyd, who had produced "That Was Then, This Is Now."


The Monkees

Additional personnel

  • Chip Douglas — bass, percussion, producer
  • Bill Martin — bell
  • Eddie Hoh — drums
  • Nathan Kaproff, George Kast, Alex Murray, Erno Neufeld — violin
  • Pete Candoli, Al Porcino, Manuel Stevens — trumpet
  • Manuel Stevens — piccolo trumpet
  • Richard Noel — trombone
  • Richard Leith, Philip Teele — bass trombone
  • Shorty Rogers — arrangement


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Japan (RIAJ)[21] Gold 100,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[22] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[23] Gold 1,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

John Stewart version[edit]

"Daydream Believer"
Song by John Stewart
from the album The Lonesome Picker Rides Again
ReleasedNovember 1971
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)John Stewart
Producer(s)Michael Stewart

In 1971, songwriter John Stewart recorded his own version and included it as the ninth track on his fourth studio album, The Lonesome Picker Rides Again. His version was released on Warner Bros. Records and was produced by his brother Michael Stewart.

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?"
ReleasedDecember 1979
GenreCountry pop
Songwriter(s)John Stewart
Producer(s)Jim Ed Norman
Anne Murray singles chronology
"Broken Hearted Me"
"Daydream Believer"
"Lucky Me"


Canadian singer Anne Murray recorded a cover version of "Daydream Believer" for her platinum-certified 1979 studio album I'll Always Love You. Produced by Jim Ed Norman and issued on Capitol Records the following year, Murray's single became her eighth No. 1 hit on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.[24] It reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 3 on Billboard's country chart.[25] For her 2007 album Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends, Murray rerecorded the song as a duet with Nelly Furtado.[26]

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1979-1980) Peak
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 17
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[27] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[28] 12
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[29] 1
Year-end chart (1980) Rank
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[30] 61

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Breihan, Tom (October 24, 2018). "The Number Ones: The Monkees' "Daydream Believer"". Stereogum. Retrieved November 17, 2022. ...Douglas effortlessly pulls in the strings and horns of that first baroque pop period...adapting the Monkees' starry-eyed pop to the psychedelic moment.
  2. ^ Dewitt, David (June 28, 2000). "Television Review; Fakers Who Realize That They're the Real Thing". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  3. ^ Boedeker, Hal (June 28, 2000). "Hey, Hey These Are the Monkees?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  4. ^, An Amazon Company (February 24, 2023). "Women Talking Soundtrack". Retrieved February 24, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c "John Stewart interview on writing "Daydream Believer"". Archives of Music Preservation. 2007. Archived from the original on 2021-12-19. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Zollo, Paul (13 January 2020). "The Story Behind The Monkees' "Daydream Believer"". American Songwriter. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  7. ^ "You can tell from the vocal that I was pissed off!" Davy Jones, The Monkees Tale, Last Gasp Press, 1986
  8. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. November 4, 1967. p. 12. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  9. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. November 4, 1967. p. 22. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  10. ^ Morris, Chris (23 October 2017). "Before There Was Bieber, the Monkees' 'Daydream Believer' Took the Teen World by Storm". Variety. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  11. ^ a b c The Monkees - Daydream Believer
  12. ^ "The Monkees - Daydream Believer". Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  13. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. p. 210. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  14. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 1 March 1968
  15. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  16. ^ RPM Top 100 Singles of 1967 Archived 2016-08-12 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Go-Set Magazine Charts". Barry McKay. January 2007. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1968". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Japanese digital single certifications – Monkees – Daydream Believer" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved May 20, 2021. Select 2014年1月 on the drop-down menu
  22. ^ "British single certifications – Monkees – Daydream Believer". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  23. ^ "American single certifications – The Monkees – Daydream Believer". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  24. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 176.
  25. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 242.
  26. ^ "Anne Murray - Duets: Friends & Legends". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-02-16.
  27. ^ "Anne Murray Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Anne Murray Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Anne Murray Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  30. ^ "1980 Talent in Action – Year End Charts : Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 92, no. 51. December 20, 1980. p. TIA-10. Retrieved 5 April 2020.

External links[edit]