Neil Diamond Wrote My Hit!, Part 1: The Monkees, “I’m a Believer”
Neil Diamond (1967)
The Monkees (1966)
Today on Cover Friday, we have Part 1 of a “miniseries” I’ll be doing on Neil Diamond covers throughout the decades. We begin today with the very well-known “I’m a Believer,” made famous by the Monkees, but written and originally recorded by Neil Diamond. This may be a somewhat obvious choice to some of you, but I rarely, if ever, hear Neil’s version played, so I think it’s still worth highlighting.
Now as you may recall from an earlier Reselect post, I’m no Neil Diamond fan on the whole, but I am a big fan of his earliest hits on Bang Records — some of the best pop of the ’60s. And considering the number of people who covered his songs then (not to mention later), clearly there were others at the time who concurred.
“I’m a Believer” was actually not written by Diamond for the Monkees, as is often believed — he recorded it himself first. However, the Monkees’ version was released first, as a single, in late 1966, and became a huge success (the top-selling single of 1967, in the midst of the Beatles era!). As a result, Neil’s own version of the song, released in September 1967 on his album, Just for You, was heavily overshadowed. But no biggie for Neil — he still got the songwriting recognition for the Monkees hit, and in many ways it helped push his career into the big time. For better or worse, depending on how you feel about the direction his career took later on…