Culture Wikia

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"I'm a Believer"
File:The Monkees single 02 I'm a Believer.jpg
US single cover
Song by The Monkees
from the album More of the Monkees
B-side"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"
Released12 November 1966
Recorded15 & 23 October 1966
New York City, NY
GenrePop rock
LabelColgems #1002
Songwriter(s)Neil Diamond
Producer(s)Jeff Barry
singles chronology
""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 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 1966.


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]


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[]

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[]

  • 1966: "The Monkees" single, also on the 1967 album More of The Monkees
  • 1966: Four Tops on the album "Reach Out" (1967)
  • 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)

Smash Mouth version[]

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"I'm a Believer"
File:I'm a Believer by Smash Mouth.jpg
Song by Smash Mouth
from the album Smash Mouth
ReleasedMay 15, 2001
Songwriter(s)Neil Diamond
Producer(s)Eric Valentine

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. This version hit number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5]

Chart performance[]

Chart (2001) Peak
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


Neil Diamond Show

  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 6 March 2012.
  2. Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1967
  3. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 200. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. Beckett, david (March 27, 2013). "Blood Simple - Director's Cut (2013) DVD". Film 365.
  5. "Smash Mouth - Chart History". Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  6. " – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  7. " – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  8. " – Smash Mouth Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  9. " – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer". Top 40 Singles.
  10. "Smash Mouth Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  11. "Smash Mouth - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-09-29.

External links[]

  • Template:MetroLyrics song
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
"Winchester Cathedral" by The New Vaudeville Band
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