Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

Help support this site! Consider clicking an ad from time to time. Thanks!


I’m a Believer

First recorded by Neil Diamond (1966, first released 1967).
Hit versions by The Monkees (US #1/UK #1/CAN #1/AUS #1 1966), Neil Diamond (US #51/MOR #31 1971), Robert Wyatt (UK #29 1974).
Also recorded by The Fifth Estate (1967), Neil Diamond (re-recording 1979).

From the wiki: “‘I’m a Believer’ was composed by Neil Diamond who’d already recorded his own version before it was covered by The Monkees. Diamond’s original recording, produced by the songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, was eventually released on his 1967 album Just for You.

“Diamond’s original recording was also released as a single in 1971, charting in the US and Australia. A revised recording, featuring additional lyrics, appeared on Diamond’s 1979 album September Morn. Diamond had also suggested the song to The Fifth Estate who did record ‘I’m a Believer’ as the 1967 follow-up to their hit single ‘Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead’, but it did not chart.

“‘I’m a Believer’ was the second single release for The Monkees. It hit the #1 spot on Billboard Hot 100 (and elsewhere worldwide) for the week ending December 31, 1966 and remained there for seven weeks, becoming not only the last #1 hit of 1966 but also the biggest-selling record for the whole of the next year, 1967. It is one of the fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide.

“A cover by British singer-songwriter Robert Wyatt was an unlikely hit in the UK in 1974, 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 an accident which left him a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. There were strong arguments at the time with the producer of Top of the Pops surrounding Wyatt’s appearance on the program, on the grounds that his use of a wheelchair ‘was not suitable for family viewing’; the producer wanting Wyatt to appear on a normal chair. Wyatt won the day and ‘lost his rag but not the wheelchair.'”

The Monkees, “I’m a Believer” (1966):

The Fifth Estate, “I’m a Believer” (1967):

Robert Wyatt, “I’m a Believer” Top of the Pops appearance (1974):

Neil Diamond, “I’m a Believer” re-recording with additional lyrics (1979):

1 comment for “I’m a Believer