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"

"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 and reached the top spot in numerous countries, including Australia, New Zealand,[3] Canada, and Ireland.[4]

The song appeared in four consecutive episodes of The Monkees TV show in 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 No. 2 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]

The song is listed at No. 48 on Billboard's All Time Top 100.[1]

Chart history[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"

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 No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.[17]

Music video[edit]

The video begins with the band performing in a tent. Then, the scene switches to them walking out of a movie theater, complete with cardboard advertisements of Shrek and the characters. Then, Harwell bumps into a blond-haired girl by accident and then tries to catch up with her. However, a man with blond hair comes up as Harwell freaks out and screams. Afterwards, the girl walks into a "fairy tale convention" at a hotel. Harwell continues to follow the girl into the hotel. Once in the hotel, Harwell tries to find the girl by looking through different rooms. However, there are short clips from Shrek each time he opens the door. Finally, he tries one more door and thinks it's the girl. However, it is a blond-haired monkey, who dances with a girl dressed as a banana. With no luck, Harwell walks out of the hotel, but the girl speeds off in her red convertible. Hoping to catch up, he sneakily takes a red cape and borrows a silver Lexus car driven by a costumed gingerbread man who is injured on crutches. Then, Harwell winks at the camera as the chase begins. While driving, he throws his red cape up and into the street. He then stops at a party where the girl is and goes into a tent. However, he sees multiple blond-haired girls with the same red shirt on, all dancing. By the time he catches up to her, the girl goes on a boat. Harwell asks a boat captain for assistance to win the girl. The band then performs on the boat during a heavy storm. Meanwhile, Harwell and the captain are on the lookout of the girl. He finally catches her on a dock and says that she forgot her keys. Just as he is about to leave, the girl recognizes him as Steve from Smash Mouth and asks for his number. However, Harwell declines and says he has to go. Finally, the girl then chases him and yells, "Wait! Please! I love you!"

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[18] 9
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[19] 87
Germany (Official German Charts)[20] 94
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[21] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 25
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[23] 4
Chart (2018) Peak
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[24] 75

Other versions[edit]

On select prints of the Shrek soundtrack, a prototype version of the Smash Mouth song runs slower, and doesn't sound like the more prominent song in the movie.

In 1966, French band Les Sextans recorded it in French as "Ils aiment la vie", an independent single.

British singer-songwriter Robert Wyatt had a Top 30 hit in the UK in September–October 1974 (it reached No. 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 and No. 17 on the Irish Singles Chart.[25][26]


  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. ^ "Smash Mouth - Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  19. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  20. ^ "Musicline.de – Smash Mouth Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  21. ^ "Charts.nz – Smash Mouth – I'm a Believer". Top 40 Singles.
  22. ^ "Smash Mouth Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  23. ^ "Smash Mouth - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-09-29. 
  24. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  25. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100 02 July 1995 - 08 July 1995". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 17, 2018. 
  26. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – EMF". Retrieved July 17, 2018. 

External links[edit]