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#ThrowbackThursday: “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees

The Monkees “I’m A Believer”

by Sean Smith

Some fifty years after making their television debut, the Monkees are back.

The made for television band first arrived on NBC in September of 1966 and the band’s series lasted until March of 1968. The Monkees were formed as a foursome band, like the Beatles, to star in a television show about a band trying to make it in the rock ‘n roll business. The band was made up of Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork. The show was created and produced by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, who got the idea for the show after watching the Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night.

Last week the surviving three Monkees’, Davy Jones passed away in 2012, released a brand new album called Good Times!. The new album features a number of notable guest songwriters. Some of those credited with writing for the new record include Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Andy Partridge of XTC, and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. The entire album is produced by Adam Schlesinger of The Fountains of Wayne. Two of the three living Monkees on Good Times!, Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz, are currently on a nationwide tour to promote the new record. You can check out all the tour dates and purchase tickets on the band’s website here.

The Monkees have had a slew of commercial and critical hits over their career. Some of the more well known include “Valleri,” “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” and “Steppin’ Stone.” However, there is no question what their most successful song has been. It is “I’m a Believer,” and it is is the subject of this week’s edition of #tbt here on

“I’m a Believer” was written and originally recorded by none other than Neil Diamond. The Monkees covered the sonq, and their version was released in November of 1966. Well, perhaps it is generous to say that the Monkees covered the song. Early on in their career, and therefore in their show, the producers didn’t have faith that the four members could actually play all of their own music. Therefore, on “I’m a Believer” studio musicians were used and only the vocals were done by the Monkees. The drummer Micky Dolenz was the lead singer on this particular song. The Neil Diamond cover was a huge hit for the television born band as it topped the charts for seven consecutive weeks. It was only the second single to be released by the Monkees during their first television season.

Some younger readers may be familiar with “I’m a Believer” thanks to yet another cover of the song. The band Smash Mouth recorded a version of the track for inclusion in the 2001 Dreamworks animated film Shrek. This latter version would also impact on the Billboard charts, reaching as high as 25 on the Hot 100.

So with the television born quartet The Monkees releasing a new album some fifty years after they first made their debut, this week we remember their 1966 hit “I’m a Believer.” Enjoy.

The Monkees 

“I’m A Believer”

From More From The Monkees 

Colgems/RCA Victor 

Related Media 

Neil Diamond

“I’m A Believer”

From September Morn

Columbia Records 


Smash Mouth 

“I’m A Believer”

From Shrek; Music From The Original Motion Picture

DreamWorks/Interscope Records