I'm a Believer

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"I'm a Believer"
The Monkees single 02 I'm a Believer.jpg
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
Songwriter(s) Neil Diamond
Producer(s) Jeff Barry
The Monkees singles chronology
"Last Train to Clarksville"
"I'm a Believer"
"A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You"
"Last Train to Clarksville"
"I'm a Believer"
"A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You"

"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 more than 10 million physical copies worldwide. While originally published by Screen Gems-Columbia Music (BMI), it is now published by Stonebridge Music/EMI Foray Music (SESAC).

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, New Zealand,[3] Canada, and Ireland.[4]

The song appears in four consecutive episodes of The Monkees' TV show throughout December 1966.


Neil Diamond had already recorded this song before it was covered by The Monkees, and it still sometimes is performed 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 settled, was replaced in the 2001 director's cut by the song used in the theatrical version: Four Tops' "It's the Same Old Song".[5]

When Marvin Andrews scored for Rangers, or won the Man of the Match at Ibrox Stadium, the song was played.


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 "I'm a Believer". Other personnel on the record include Sal Ditroia and Neil Diamond on guitar, Russ Savakus on bass, George Butcher and Stan Free on keyboards, George Devens on percussion, and Buddy Saltzman on drums.[6]

In 2008, the song ranked No. 1 on Dallas station KLUV 98.7FM's Top 500 Memorial Day Countdown, based on a vote by the listeners.[citation needed] The song is listed at No. 48 on Billboard's All Time Top 100.[1]

Chart history[edit]

Other versions[edit]

British singer-songwriter Robert Wyatt had a Top 30 hit in the UK in September/October 1974 (it reached #29 on the UK charts) with a version of "I'm a Believer" that features 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. In 2005 Sophie Bennett and Kia Luby former stars of The Saddle Club covered "I'm a Believer" on their albums "Raw Beauty" and "Raw Beauty: The Acoustic Sessions".[17]

An instrumental version can be heard in the background of the Slipped Disc nightclub scene in the 1969 film, Cactus Flower, and was released on the movie's soundtrack album.

Notable cover versions[edit]

Smash Mouth version[edit]

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

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, which was inserted into the musical's finale a year into its run. The Smash Mouth version hit number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.[18]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[19] 9
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[20] 87
Germany (Official German Charts)[21] 94
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[23] 25
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[24] 4
Chart (2018) Peak
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100) [25] 80


  1. ^ a b "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1967
  3. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 23 March 1967
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 200. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ Beckett, david (March 27, 2013). "Blood Simple - Director's Cut (2013) DVD". Film 365. 
  6. ^ 'More of the Monkees' deluxe reissue, Rhino Records 2017, booklet, Pages 17 and 20, containing personnel as listed by Monkees historian Andrew Sandoval, sourced directly from official Musicians' Union records
  7. ^ "Go-Set Magazine Charts". www.poparchives.com.au. Barry McKay. January 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1967-01-02. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I’m A Believer". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 23 March 1967
  11. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  12. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, February 2, 1967
  13. ^ "Go-Set Magazine Charts". www.poparchives.com.au. Barry McKay. January 2007. Retrieved 26 April 2018. 
  14. ^ RPM Top 100 Singles of 1967
  15. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  16. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 23, 1967
  17. ^ Sophie And Kia - Raw Beauty: The Acoustic Sessions - 02 - I'm A Believer
  18. ^ "Smash Mouth - Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  20. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  21. ^ "Musicline.de – Smash Mouth Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  22. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ "Smash Mouth Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  24. ^ "Smash Mouth - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  25. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved April 16, 2018.

External links[edit]