The Monkees didn’t write all of their music, however, Monkees member Peter Tork had some creative input in “Daydream Believer.” He says there’s one aspect of the song that really makes it work. According to Tork, most people don’t notice this aspect of the song when they first hear it. Here’s what he had to say.
This part of The Monkees’ ‘Daydream Believer’ was all Peter Tork’s idea
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Tork said The Monkees released “Daydream Believer” at a very specific point in their career when they partly relied on outside songwriters but wrote some of their music themselves. One memorable aspect of “Daydream Believer” was Tork’s idea — the song’s gentle piano riff. “With “Daydream Believer,” I was on the piano and I came up with this opening lick which I thought was just sparklingly original,” Tork said. “When you play it today, everyone thinks of ‘Daydream Believer.’”
Peter Tork said people don’t notice these aspects of The Monkees’ ‘Daydream Believer’ when they first hear it
Tork said the aspect of “Daydream Believer” that makes it come together isn’t his riff, but an aspect of the song’s chorus. “What really makes the song work, I think, is the chord change on ‘Jean’ in ‘Cheer up sleepy Jean.’ It goes from a IV chord to a V chord to a III. That’s a very unexpected and sweet chord change. It really grabs your attention.”
Tork also said one of the song’s lyrics helped make it special in a subtle way. “Then there’s the line, ‘What can it mean to a daydream believer and a homecoming queen,’” he said. “It doesn’t go right in your face, but when you think about it you figure it out. You’re like, ‘Okay, the guy is in a workaday world and he’s got his head in the clouds. His girlfriend was a homecoming queen, but they’re still scratching.’ You don’t get all that until you think about it for a long time.” Tork named “Daydream Believer” as one of the songs that defined The Monkees’ lives, alongside other classics like “I’m a Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” and “Randy Scouse Git.”
How the world reacted to The Monkees’ ‘Daydream Believer’
“Daydream Believer” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 16 weeks. “Daydream Believer” still seemed to resonate long after The Monkees’ sitcom was cancelled. After all, the track appeared during a karaoke scene from the popular soap opera Dawson’s Creek. In addition, it was used in an episode of WandaVision. Considering WandaVision pays tribute to numerous classic television shows, it makes sense it uses a Monkees song because The Monkees had a sitcom. “Daydream Believer” remains a famous song — even if Tork said not everybody notices its complexities.