Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Monkees – "I'm a Believer" (1966)

Love was out to get me
That's the way it seemed
Disappointment haunted all my dreams

Fifty years ago today, I was a ninth-grader at South Junior High in Joplin, Missouri.

Every Monday afternoon, WHB in Kansas City – 710 on your AM dial – played their new top 40 singles in reverse order.  I turned the radio on as soon as I got home from school and followed the countdown closely, calling a friend of mine during the five-minute news break at the top of each hour to discuss the records played in the previous hour.   

Fifty years ago today, “I’m a Believer” sat atop the Billboard “Hot 100.”  I’m guessing it sat atop the WHB top 40 list as well.

“I’m a Believer” ascended to the #1 spot in the last “Hot 100” chart of 1966, and remained at #1 for seven consecutive weeks.  It was also a #1 hit in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK.

The B-side of “I’m a Believer” was “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” which made it to #20 at the same time that “I’m a Believer” was the #1 song in the U.S.

The Monkees
“I’m a Believer” was written and originally recorded by Neil Diamond.  It was released on his second studio album, Just for You, along with several other hit songs, including “Cherry Cherry,” “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” “Solitary Man,” and “Thank the Lord for the Night Time.”

The arrangement of Diamond’s original recording is quite similar to arrangement used for the Monkees’ version.  (Both records were produced by Jeff Barry, who was married to Ellie Greenwich.  Together, they were one of the greatest husband-wife songwriting teams ever.)

Diamond wrote some additional lyrics and re-recorded the song in 1979.  That version of the song is HORRIBLE:

If not for “I’m a Believer,” the Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” would have been a #1 record.  Instead, that record made it only to the #2 spot on the “Hot 100” chart.  It remained there for four weeks.

This year's “28 Songs in 28 Days” will feature songs that were listed in the Billboard “Hot 100” chart in February 1967.  Most of those featured songs are pop classics by groups like the Monkees, Mamas and Papas, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Sonny and Cher, and other pop superstars.  But we'll also showcase some one-hit wonders and novelty songs you've probably forgotten about.

Here’s the most popular record from February 1967 and the biggest-selling single of that entire year . . . “I’m a Believer”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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