I'm a Believer
|"I'm a Believer"|
US single cover
|Single by The Monkees|
|from the album More of the Monkees|
|B-side||"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"|
|Released||12 November 1966|
|Recorded||15 & 23 October 1966
New York City, NY
|Genre||Pop rock, sunshine pop, bubblegum pop|
|The Monkees singles chronology|
16 seconds (of 2:47)
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"I'm a Believer" is a song composed by Neil Diamond and recorded by The Monkees in 1966 with the lead vocals by Micky Dolenz. The single, produced by Jeff Barry, hit the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending December 31, 1966 and remained there for seven weeks, becoming the last No. 1 hit of 1966 and the biggest-selling record for all of 1967. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 5 song for 1967. Because of 1,051,280 advance orders, it went gold within two days of release. It is one of the fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide.
Neil Diamond had already recorded this song before it was covered by The Monkees, and it still sometimes appears in his live concerts. A revised recording by Neil Diamond, featuring additional lyrics, appears on the album September Morn, while his original recording appeared on the 1967 album Just for You. Neil Diamond also suggested it to The Fifth Estate who recorded it as a 1967 album cut to follow up their hit "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead". The Monkees' recording kept the novelty hit "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron", by The Royal Guardsmen, at number two for four weeks, from reaching the Hot 100's summit.
The song was originally used in the home video version of the Coen brothers' 1984 film Blood Simple, but after licensing issues were resolved, was replaced in the 2001 director's cut by the song used in the theatrical version: Four Tops' "It's the Same Old Song".
Session guitarist Al Gorgoni (who later played on "The Sound of Silence" and "Brown Eyed Girl") had worked on Diamond's "Cherry, Cherry" and also contributed to this song. Other personnel on the record include Sal Ditroia on guitar, Dick Romoff on bass, Artie Butler on organ, Jeff Barry on piano and tambourine, and Buddy Saltzman on drums.
In 2008, the song ranked No. 1 on Dallas station KLUV 98.7FM's Top 500 Memorial Day Countdown, as voted on by the listeners. The song is listed at No. 48 on Billboard's All Time Top 100.
British singer-songwriter Robert Wyatt had a Top 30 hit in the UK in September/October 1974 (it reached #29 in the UK charts) with a version featuring Fred Frith on violin, Andy Summers (later of The Police) on guitar, and drums by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, who also produced the recording. It was Wyatt's first recording after the June 1973 accident that left him a paraplegic.
This song was also covered by Smash Mouth and Eddie Murphy in 2001, as part of the soundtrack to the movie Shrek (the band also released the song on its self-titled album). Eddie Murphy, portraying the character "Donkey", also performed a rendition of the song in the film. The song was chosen for its opening line, "I thought love was only true in fairy tales," which matched the fairy tale theme of the film. Subsequently, the song was played as exit music for the Broadway musical adaptation of the film, for comic effect. A year into the show's run, it was inserted into its finale.
In 2010, Neil Diamond recorded a stripped down, slow tempo version of the song on his Dreams album, and Paije Richardson performed an I'm a Believer/Hey Ya! mash-up on series seven of The X Factor. In 2012, the group Emblem3 performed an uptempo version on The X Factor to mixed reviews from the judges.
In 2015, Vanilla Fudge released a cover of the song on their "Spirit of '67" album.
Notable cover versions
- 1966: "The Monkees" single, also on the 1967 album More of The Monkees
- 1974: Robert Wyatt single, also on the album His Greatest Misses (2004)
- 1995: Reeves & Mortimer with EMF, non-album track (No. 3 UK Singles Chart)
- 2001: Smash Mouth on the Shrek soundtrack and on their self-titled album Smash Mouth. It was later put into Now That's What I Call Music 8. This version hit 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1967
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 200. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Beckett, david (March 27, 2013). "Blood Simple - Director's Cut (2013) DVD". Film 365.
- Caterina Caselli - Sono bugiarda. Youtube. 1967. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF_lGrD_3gg Retrieved 1 January 2016.
- "Smash Mouth - Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved 19 October 2014.