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"Daydream Believer" is a song composed by John Stewart shortly before he left the Kingston Trio. The song was originally recorded by The Monkees, with Davy Jones singing lead vocals. The single hit the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1967, remaining there for four weeks, and peaked at number five in the UK Singles Chart. It was The Monkees' last number one hit in the U.S. It was also recorded by Anne Murray in 1979, whose version reached #3 on the U.S. country singles chart and #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.


The Monkees version

"Daydream Believer"
Single by The Monkees
from the album The Birds, The Bees & the Monkees
B-side "Goin' Down"
Released October 30, 1967
Format 7"
Recorded June 14, 1967 and August 9, 1967
Genre Pop Rock
Length 3:07
Label Colgems
Writer(s) John Stewart
Producer The Monkees
Chip Douglas
The Monkees singles chronology
"Pleasant Valley Sunday"
"Daydream Believer"

Producer Chip Douglas introduced the Monkees to the song. 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 (it proved to be bandmember Peter Tork's only appearance on the album). All four Monkees appear on the track, with Michael Nesmith on lead guitar, Peter Tork on piano (he also came up with the arrangement), and Micky Dolenz on backing vocals. Davy Jones wasn't sure of the song's potential at first, and admitted later that he'd recorded the vocal with a hint of annoyance at the ongoing takes.[1] His feelings changed when the song became a hit.

John Stewart's original lyrics in the second stanza were "You once thought of me as a white knight on a steed, Now you know how funky I can be". When the Monkees recorded the song, "funky" was changed to "happy", removing any sense of contrast or meaning to the lyric. The song is also known for its humorous opening:

Chip Douglas: "7A" (referring to the take of the song)
Davy Jones: "What number is this, Chip?"
Chip Douglas and others (annoyed): "7A!"
Davy Jones: "Okay. I mean, don't get excited, man. Just 'cause I'm short, I know."

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, who owned the Monkees' masters at the time, re-released "Daydream Believer" as a followup single, re-mixed with a heavier drum track by Michael Lloyd (who had produced "That Was Then, This Was Now"). The re-released single was a minor hit the second time out, garnering some brief airplay on Top 40 radio stations of the day.


Chart positions

Chart (1967) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
Irish Singles Chart 1
Norwegian VG-lista Singles Chart [2] 2
Japanese Oricon Singles Chart 4
Austrian Singles Chart [2] 7
Swiss Singles Chart [2] 10
Chart (1981) Peak
Japanese Oricon Singles Chart[3] 29
Preceded by
"Incense and Peppermints"
by Strawberry Alarm Clock
Billboard Hot 100
number one single

December 2 - December 23, 1967
Succeeded by
"Hello, Goodbye"
by The Beatles

Anne Murray version

"Daydream Believer"
Single by Anne Murray
from the album Anne Murray's Greatest Hits and I'll Always Love You
Released December 1979
Format 7"
Recorded 1979
Genre Country, pop
Length 2:26
Label Capitol Records
Writer(s) John Stewart
Producer Jim Ed Norman
Anne Murray singles chronology
"Broken Hearted Me"
"Daydream Believer"
"Lucky Me"

Anne Murray included it on her 1979 album I'll Always Love You; the following year her single peaked at number one on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart, number three on the country chart, and number twelve on the pop chart. She re-released the song as a duet with Nelly Furtado in her 2008 Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends album.

Chart positions

Chart (1980) Peak
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 17
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 12
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
Preceded by
by Barbara Mandrell
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

March 22, 1980
Succeeded by
"My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys"
by Willie Nelson

Other versions

Numerous other artists have covered the song:

  • John Stewart himself recorded the song on his solo albums The Lonesome Picker Rides Again 1971 and Airdream Believer 1995. He also included it in live performances right up to his death.
  • The Four Tops covered the song on their 1968 album Yesterday's Dreams.
  • The Timers, a Japanese rock band led by singer-songwriter Kiyoshiro Imawano, covered the song in 1989. Their version sung in Japanese gained huge commercial success, reaching number-two on that country's charts.[4]
  • A version of the song performed by Mary Beth Maziarz can be found on the second Dawson's Creek soundtrack, Songs From Dawson's Creek Volume 2, as well as on Mary Beth Maziarz's CD A More Perfect World. This version of the song was played three times on the WB teen drama: in episodes #3-19 "Stolen Kisses," #4-23 "Coda," and #5-01 "The Bostonians." It is a favorite especially of Dawson and Joey fans, or "DJers." (In #3-19 "Stolen Kisses" the Monkees version of the song is also used in a karaoke duet between Dawson and Joey.)
  • American art-rock trio Tears on Sunday released a cover version of the track, appearing on their 2000 debut, The Slamurai EP.
  • Verbal Warning currently performs a punked-up version of the song in their live set.
  • U2 performed the song live on their PopMart Tour. At the Los Angeles show on June 21, 1997, Davy Jones made a guest appearance onstage to sing with the band.
  • Lee Mead performed the song on the BBC television series Any Dream Will Do.
  • On the 3rd season of America's Got Talent, contestants The Wright Kids performed a shorter version of "Daydream Believer".
  • English girl group Atomic Kitten released a cover of this song exclusively to Japan in 2000, It was included on their Greatest Hits album in 2004. However, only the japanese version.
  • Ottawa acoustic guitarist Kirby Swinemar released his YouTube version in 2009. [1]

Other uses

  • The Monkees version of the song has been used in an advertising campaign for eBay which began in 2005. Alluding to a line from the song's chorus, "Oh, what can it mean ...", the campaign features the slogan, "Whatever it is, you can get it on eBay." [2].
  • A change in lyrics has also made it usable in an advertisement for Evergreen liquid grass feed, around 30 seconds long, shown around early 2006.
  • In late 2005, the Finnish national railway company VR Group also used the song in their advertising campaign with Finnish lyrics.
  • The song has become widely used by British football fans, who substitute their own lyrics -- for instance, "Cheer Up Peter Reid" during Sunderland's 1996 promotion season, which peaked at #41 in the UK charts. It may also be used in a derogatory manner against opposition teams. In Northern Ireland the song is used by Glentoran and Linfield fans both with derogatory lyrics.[citation needed] It is also used by Swansea City fans towards their rivals Cardiff City. The Swans' current version is ironically directed towards the Cardiff manager "Davey Jones". The fans of Glasgow clubs Rangers and Celtic also use the song on each other.
  • Werder Bremen use the song's tune in their own version Wir Sind Werder Bremen.
  • Part of the song has also been used on a recent Dominick's commercial starting with the chorus and by Vons supermarket.
  • The song was also featured in the 2008 music simulation game Wii Music.
  • The song is sung by Alvin in the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel when he is accidentally injected with a sleeping shot.


  1. ^ "You can tell from the vocal that I was pissed off!" Davy Jones, The Monkees Tale, Last Gasp Press, 1986
  2. ^ a b c The Monkees - Daydream Believer
  3. ^ Japan's Oricon Year-End International Singles Charts of 1981
  4. ^ Japan's Oricon Year-End Singles Charts of 1989

External links


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