The Monkees‘ “I’m a Believer” is one of the most famous songs of the 1960s. The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz said he could change the song drastically when he performs it live. Subsequently, he revealed why he wants it to always sound the same.
A songwriter said ‘I’m a Believer’ gave The Monkees more ‘political capitol’
Bobby Hart co-wrote many of The Monkees’ songs. “I’m a Believer” was not one of them. Despite this, Hart’s 2015 book Psychedelic Bubble Gum: Boyce & Hart, The Monkees, and Turning Mayhem Into Miracles includes some information about the track.
“As The Monkees became the single largest money-making project for the giant Screen Gems organization, the four actor/musicians found themselves with more and more political capital,” Hart wrote. “By early 1967, in just four months, their first single, ‘[Last Train to Clarksville],’ their double-sided second hit, ‘I’m a Believer’ backed with ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,’ and their two LPs, had already sold nearly 12 million copies.”
Why The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz doesn’t want to ‘screw up’ the song
During a 2019 interview on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering, Dolenz discussed performing “I’m a Believer.” “Y’know, it’s so hard not to get emotionally attached ’cause every time I sing ‘I’m a Believer,’ the entire audience is singing ‘I’m a Believer’ along with me,” he said. “That’s why I insist to do it exactly as they remember it. I could screw it up. I could like, do a reggae version.” As a joke, Dolenz then sang a reggae version of the tune.
“But I know that they want to hear that because it brings them back and when you get that kind of a reaction from an audience, how can you not love it?” Dolenz added. “It’s like, every night, somebody throwing you a birthday party.”
How ‘I’m a Believer’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom
“I’m a Believer” became The Monkees’ longest-running No. 1 single in the United States. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, staying on the chart for 15 weeks in total. The Monkees included the tune on their album The Monkees. The album was No. 1 for 13 of its 102 weeks on the Billboard 200, making it the band’s most successful album in the U.S.
The Official Charts Company reports “I’m a Believer” peaked at No. 1 for four weeks in the United Kingdom, making it the group’s only No. 1 hit there. The tune remained on the chart for 18 weeks. Meanwhile, The Monkees reached No. 1 for seven weeks, staying on the chart for 37 weeks in total.
“I’m a Believer” became a huge hit in the 1960s and Dolenz said it has the power to bring fans back.