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"Daydream Believer" is a song composed by John Stewart shortly before he left the Kingston Trio. It was originally recorded by The Monkees, with Davy Jones singing the lead. The single reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1967, remaining there for four weeks, and peaked at No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart. It was the Monkees' last No. 1 hit in the U.S.

"Daydream Believer"
The Monkees single 05 Daydream Believer.jpg
US single cover
Single by The Monkees
from the album The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees
B-side"Goin' Down"
ReleasedOctober 25, 1967
RecordedJune 14, 1967
August 9, 1967
StudioRCA Victor Studios
LabelColgems #1012
Songwriter(s)John Stewart
Producer(s)Chip Douglas
The Monkees singles chronology
"Pleasant Valley Sunday"
"Daydream Believer"
The Monkees singles chronology
"That Was Then, This Is Now"
"Daydream Believer (remix)"
"Heart and Soul"

In 1979, "Daydream Believer" was recorded by Canadian singer Anne Murray, whose version reached No. 3 on the U.S. country singles chart and No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song has been recorded by others, including a 1971 version by John Stewart himself.

Stewart said that it was supposed to be the third in a trilogy of songs about suburban life. Married couples start out in an idealistic haze, but after a few years it wears off, and each sees the other as he or she really is. This is, supposedly, when genuine love is proven.[1]


The Monkees original versionEdit


Producer Chip Douglas was friends with John Stewart and ran into him at a party at Hoyt Axton's home in Hollywood's Laurel Canyon. Douglas told Stewart that he was now producing The Monkees and asked if he had any songs that might work for the group. Stewart offered "Daydream Believer".

It was recorded during the sessions for their 1967 album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., but was ultimately included on their 1968 album The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees. All four Monkees appear on the track, with Michael Nesmith on lead guitar, Peter Tork on piano (he created the catchy piano introduction; the orchestral arrangement was created by jazz trumpeter and composer, Shorty Rogers, who included the same seven-note phrase preceding the chorus that can be heard on the Beach Boys' "Help Me, Rhonda") and Micky Dolenz on backing vocals. In the album version, the track begins with a spoken dialogue that goes:

  • Chip Douglas: "7A..."
  • Davy Jones: "What number is this, Chip?"
  • Douglas (with probably the recording engineer): "SEVEN - A!"
  • Jones: "Okay, I don't mean to get you excited, man. It's 'cause I'm short, I know..."

Many people did not think the song would be popular. It had been turned down by We Five and Spanky and Our Gang, and even Davy Jones was "pissed off" about recording the song. His vocals show a hint of annoyance at the ongoing takes.[2]

According to the official Billboard Hot 100 chart historian Joel Whitburn in his mid-1980s book The Billboard Book Of Number One Singles, the recording was originally scheduled to be the b-side of the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song "Love Is Only Sleeping" (from Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.). However, a week before release, it was discovered the European single masters for "Love Is Only Sleeping" weren't ready, but the masters for "Daydream Believer" were. A last-minute switch meant that it now became the A-side and "Goin' Down", a song written by all four Monkees with Diane Hildebrand, in the style of Mose Allison, became the flip side.

If this version of events is true, Michael Nesmith missed out on his first single as lead vocalist. He had to wait until 1969's "Listen to the Band" for that to happen. A major flaw with that story is that Colgems Records didn't actually like Nesmith's voice and preferred both Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones' voices to Nesmith's. In fact, early pressure from him had resulted in at least two Nesmith songs per album being allowed, something which irked the company. In fact, Nesmith's lead vocal version of "The Girl I Knew Somewhere" had been left in the vaults on preference to a Micky Dolenz lead vocal when it was issued as the B-side of the single "A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You", so it's very unlikely to have been the case, unless Nesmith had been told this by Colgems to pacify him.

RCA Records did not like the song as written by Stewart either, and insisted on changing a critical word. Stewart originally wrote "Now you know how funky I can be," but RCA wanted to change that to "Now you know how happy I can be", as one meaning of "funky" is "smelly".

Stewart initially objected because it completely reversed the meaning of the line and made no sense in the context of the song. He relented because RCA was adamant and Stewart realized the song could well be a hit. In 2007, Stewart said that the proceeds of "Daydream Believer" "[didn't just] pay the rent. It kept me alive all these years."[1]

In 1986, three of the four Monkees (Dolenz, Jones, and Tork) mounted a successful reunion tour and had a major hit with the newly recorded "That Was Then, This Is Now". Arista Records, which owned the Monkees' masters at the time, re-released "Daydream Believer" as a follow-up single, remixed with a new, heavier percussion track by Michael Lloyd, who had produced "That Was Then, This Was Now".


The Monkees

Additional personnel

Chart performanceEdit

Anne Murray versionEdit

"Daydream Believer"
Single by Anne Murray
from the album I'll Always Love You
B-side"Do You Think Of Me?"
ReleasedDecember 1979
GenreCountry pop
Songwriter(s)John Stewart
Producer(s)Jim Ed Norman
Anne Murray singles chronology
"Broken Hearted Me"
"Daydream Believer"
"Lucky Me"


Canadian singer Anne Murray recorded a cover version of "Daydream Believer" for her Platinum-certified 1979 studio album, I'll Always Love You. Produced by Jim Ed Norman and issued on Capitol records the following year, Murray's single became her eighth number 1 hit on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart.[11] It reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and charted at number 3 on Billboard's list of the most popular country songs.[12] She re-released the song as a duet with Nelly Furtado on her 2007 album, Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends.

Chart performanceEdit

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (1979-80) Peak
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 17
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[13] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 12
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[15] 1

Other versionsEdit

  • You can play a version of this song in the game Wii Music
  • Classics IV on their 1968 album Spooky
  • Four Tops on their 1968 album Yesterday's Dreams
  • In 1971, John Stewart recorded it for his solo album The Lonesome Picker Rides Again as a parody of the Monkees version. It contains many lyrical changes, including replacing "daydream believer and a homecoming queen" with "daydream deceiver and an old closet queen."
  • Lobo on his 1974 album Just a Singer
  • Nick Berry on the 1993 compilation album Heartbeat 2, the recording also being heard as radio broadcasts in the TV series Heartbeat.
  • Boyzone B-Side on their 1994 single Love Me For a Reason
  • Robson & Jerome on their 1995 debut album Robson & Jerome
  • "Cheer Up Peter Reid" was a popular 1996 song by supporters of Sunderland A.F.C., an English football club, about then-manager Peter Reid. It used different lyrics sung to the tune of "Daydream Believer".[16]
  • Kevin Rowland on his 1998 album My Beauty
  • Shonen Knife on their 1998 album Happy Hour
  • Atomic Kitten on the Japanese edition of their 2000 album Right Now.
  • Susan Boyle on her 2009 album I Dreamed a Dream
  • Sakura Gakuin as part of their graduation single for the 2013 nendo, Jump Up (Chiisana Yuki). The song was recorded by the four oldest members of the group at the time: Nene Sugisaki, Hinata Sato, Marina Horiuchi, and Raura Iida.
  • Joe McElderry in his 2017 album Saturday Night at the Movie

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "John Stewart interview on writing "Daydream Believer"". Archives of Music Preservation. 2007. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  2. ^ "You can tell from the vocal that I was pissed off!" Davy Jones, The Monkees Tale, Last Gasp Press, 1986
  3. ^ a b c The Monkees - Daydream Believer
  4. ^ "The Monkees - Daydream Believer". Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  5. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 1 March 1968
  6. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  7. ^ RPM Top 100 Singles of 1967 Archived 2016-08-12 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Go-Set Magazine Charts". Barry McKay. January 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  10. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1968". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 176.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 242.
  13. ^ "Anne Murray Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Anne Murray Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  15. ^ "Anne Murray Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  16. ^

External linksEdit