I'm a Believer

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"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
Format 7"
Recorded 15 & 23 October 1966
New York City, NY
Genre Pop rock
Length 2:47
Label Colgems #1002
Writer(s) Neil Diamond
Producer(s) Jeff Barry
Certification Gold (RIAA)
The Monkees singles chronology
"Last Train to Clarksville"
(1966)
"I'm a Believer"
(1966)
"A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You"
(1967)

"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,[1] 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.[2] 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.

The song was No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart for four weeks in January and February 1967, as well as a Number 1 in numerous countries including Australia, Canada, and Ireland.[3]

The success of the single prompted the song to appear in four consecutive episodes of The Monkees' TV show throughout December of 1966.

History[edit]

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 Diamond, featuring additional lyrics, appears on the album September Morn, while his original recording appeared on the 1967 album Just for You. 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, and 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".[4]

Recording[edit]

Session guitarist Al Gorgoni (who played on "The Sound of Silence" and later on "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 Vox Continental 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.[citation needed] The song is listed at No. 48 on Billboard's All Time Top 100.[1]

Other versions[edit]

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.

In 1995, British comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer teamed up with the band EMF for a version which reached No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart.

Notable cover versions[edit]

Smash Mouth version[edit]

"I'm a Believer"
Single by Smash Mouth
from the album Smash Mouth
Released May 15, 2001
Format CD single
Recorded 2001
Genre
Length 3:02
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Neil Diamond
Producer(s) Eric Valentine
Smash Mouth singles chronology
"Then the Morning Comes"
(1999)
"I'm a Believer"
(2001)
"Pacific Coast Party"
(2001)

American pop rock band Smash Mouth covered the song in 2001, as part of the soundtrack to the movie Shrek, along with "All Star". (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. Weezer also had a version of the song at the end of Shrek's 2010 sequel Shrek Forever After. A year into the show's run, it was inserted into its finale. This version hit number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[6] 9
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 87
Germany (Official German Charts)[8] 94
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[9] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 25
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[11] 4

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Stop! Stop! Stop!" by The Hollies
Canadian RPM number one single
December 26, 1966 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" by The Royal Guardsmen
Preceded by
"Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number one single
December 31, 1966 (seven weeks)
Succeeded by
"Kind of a Drag" by The Buckinghams
Preceded by
"Green, Green Grass of Home" by Tom Jones
UK Singles Chart number one single
19 January 1967 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"This Is My Song" by Petula Clark
Preceded by
"Green, Green Grass of Home" by Tom Jones
Irish IRMA number one single
19 January 1967 (five weeks)
Succeeded by
"The House With The Whitewashed Gable" by Joe Dolan
Preceded by
"Green, Green Grass of Home" by Tom Jones
Australia Kent Music Report number one single
11 February 1967 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" by The Royal Guardsmen
Preceded by
"Bend It!!!" by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
New Zealand RIANZ number one single
24 February 1967 (five week)
Succeeded by
"Penny Lane" by The Beatles