Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*: #80-71

 We have heard the first 20 entries in The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era* for the last 60 years.  The time is now to hear the next 10:


The Sign
 Ace Of Base

"Perfect song."
"I love this song!"
"Best song of the '90s."
"It's impossible not to love this song."
"OMG I love this song."
"Amazing song!"
"Love the beat and their accents!"

Prior to 1990, sisters Jenny and Linn Berggren sang in church choirs in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Brother Jonas, meanwhile, played synthesizers and wrote songs with Ulf Ekberg.  Jonas and Ulf soon recruited Jenny and Linn to sing with them, and the group began playing at local clubs in the summer of 1990. 
By 1992, Ace of Base had hooked up with producer John Ballard, who also wrote a majority of their songs.  The group's first single, "All That She Wants", which we have already heard in The Top 500*, became a #1 hit in 10 countries, and launched their career. 
Ace of Base released "The Sign" October 29, 1993 in most of Europe, December 21 in the United States, and January 17 of 1994 in the U.K.  "The Sign" was included on the album Happy Nation, which was titled The Sign in North America.
While popular, "The Sign" faced stellar competition from the group's first single, "All That She Wants", as well as "Dreamlover" and "Hero" by Mariah Carey, "I'll Make Love To You" and "On Bended Knee" by Boyz II Men, "Breathe Again" by Toni Braxton, "I Swear" by All 4 One, Celine Dion's "The Power Of Love", "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" by Elton John, "All I Wanna' Do" from Sheryl Crow, "All For Love" by Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams & Sting, "Again" by Janet Jackson, and "Stay ( I Missed You)" by Lisa Loeb. 

"The Sign" jumped to #1 for 6 weeks, and unlike many of its counterparts, didn't just drop off the chart after falling from the top--it spent another 7 weeks at #2 and spent a total of 21 weeks in the Top 10.  The song also spent 14 weeks at #1 on the Airplay chart, the most ever to that point, and showed its mass appeal by reaching #2 on the Adult chart.  It also ran to #1 in Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, #2 in the U.K., Ireland, and Sweden, #3 in Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands, #4 in Switzerland, and #5 in France and Norway.
"The Sign" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by Group or Duo.  In a relatively short period of time, the song has sold over 1 million singles, helped sell over 10 million albums, and logged over 3 million radio airplays. 

Night Fever
 Bee Gees

"They made some of the sweetest music the world will ever hear."
"It doesn't get any better than this."
"This song screams 'Get up and dance!'"
"Such a superb track."
"The best harmonies ever in this song that will last forever."
"This song is Awesome!"
"One of the greatest songs ever made."
"Timeless music."

In 1977, plans were in the works for a film about the exploding disco scene.  Robert Stigwood, head of RSO Records, was tabbed to produce the movie, tentatively titled Saturday Night.  Stigwood's top act was the Bee Gees, and Robert turned to the Brothers Gibb to write a song called "Saturday Night".  The Bee Gees had already written a song called "Night Fever", and they convinced Stigwood to change the name of the film to Saturday Night Fever.  Robin Gibb told the Observer Music Monthly in 2008:

The idea for the film that became 'Saturday Night Fever' started when our manager, Robert Stigwood, saw an article in 'New York' magazine entitled "Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night" by Nik Cohn, talking about teenagers going to dancing competitions.  When they first started dance rehearsals for the film with John Travolta, they were using our song "You Should Be Dancing", which had been released the previous year.  We were mixing a live album in France and Robert rang and asked if we had any other songs we could contribute.   In the end, five of our new songs "How Deep Is Your Love", "Stayin' Alive", "Night Fever", "More Than A Woman", and "If I Can't Have You" (which Yvonne Elliman recorded) were used in the movie, as well as two previously released songs--"You Should Be Dancing" and "Jive Talkin'".

Keyboardist Blue Weaver came up with the string intro, patterned after Percy Faith's "Theme From 'A Summer Place'".  Producer Albhy Galuten explained how the song came together: 


...For "Night Fever", the group had the hook-line and rhythm - they usually pat their legs to set up a song's rhythm when they first sing it - and parts of the verses.  They had the emotion, same as on the record.  We put down drums and acoustic guitar 
first, so the feel was locked in.  The piano part was put on before the bass, then the heavy guitar parts.  We had the sound, but we needed something there to shake it so we used the thunder sound.
The Bee Gees recorded the song at Château d'Hérouville in  April of 1977, and the song was mixed and finalized at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida in September.  The Bee Gees released the single February 7, 1978.
Due in no small part to the Bee Gees, the period was one of the most magical of the Rock Era.  "Night Fever" faced amazing competition from their own "How Deep Is Your Love" and "Stayin' Alive", "Three Times A Lady" by the Commodores, "You Light Up My Life" from Debby Boone, "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty, "Just The Way You Are" from Billy Joel, Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally", "We Are The Champions" by Queen, "If I Can't Have You" from Elliman, "Blue Bayou" from Linda Ronstadt, Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing", "Sometimes When We Touch", by Dan Hill "Baby Come Back" by Player, "Dust In The Wind" by Kansas and "You're The One That I Want" from Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta.

"Night Fever" dashed to #1 for 8 weeks with 12 weeks in the Top 10.   During five of those eight weeks, "Stayin' Alive" was #2, as the Bee Gees became one of 15 artists in the Rock Era to own both #1 and #2 in the same week.  "Night Fever" also hit #1 in the U.K. for two weeks and reached #1 in Canada and Ireland, #2 in Germany, New Zealand, and Norway, #3 in China, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, #5 in Sweden and #6 in Finland.
During this period, the Bee Gees were red-hot--"Night Fever" was their third of a record six consecutive #1 songs.  It replaced Andy Gibb's "Love Is Thicker Than Water" at #1, and was replaced by another song from the movie, "If I Can't Have You" by Yvonne Elliman, all of which were written and produced by the Bee Gees.
The "Saturday Night Fever" Soundtrack sold over 30 million copies worldwide and captured the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.  The Bee Gees were rewarded for Best Pop Vocal Performance By a Group for "Night Fever".

"Night Fever" sold over two million singles and helped sell over 19 million albums in the U.S. alone.  The song is near two million in radio airplay.

What's Love Got To Do With It 
Tina Turner

"My favorite song  of all-time."
"I love this song. ❤"
"This song is a classic.  Tina did a wonderful job."
"This song is GREAT."
"LOVE it!"
"Amazing song."
"I'm in love with this song."
"Brilliant song."

Annie Mae Bullock grew up picking cotton on the plantation where her father was the caretaker.  She married Ike Turner, and as Ike and Tina Turner, enjoyed several hits before Tina finally got away from the abuser.  She had 36 cents, a gasoline charge card and the clothes she had on.  Tina called Ann-Margret and asker if she would buy Tina an airline ticket to Los Angeles.  Turner spent six months with Ann-Margret while husband Ike looked for her.  In 1976, the two were finally divorced.
For the next eight years, Tina worked nine months out of the year to be able to pay off debts that she and Ike had rung up.   
Prior to this song, Tina Turner had not enjoyed a Top 10 hit since the early 1970s when she and her then-husband Ike hit with their remake of the Creedence Clearwater Revival smash "Proud Mary".  Shortly before going to work on the album Private Dancer, Tina signed a recording contract with Capitol Records.
Terry Britten and Graham Lyle wrote this song for Turner's comeback, and it was the second single released from Private Dancer.  Beginning in May of 1984, "What's Love Got To Do With It" contended with "Like A Virgin" by Madonna, Lionel Richie's "Hello", "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, "When Doves Cry" from Prince, "Jump" by Van Halen, "Against All Odds" by Phil Collins, "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder, "You're The Inspiration" from Chicago, "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper, "Missing You" by John Waite, "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins, "Dancing In The Dark" by Bruce Springsteen, "Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean and "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince. 
"What's Love Got To Do With It" rumbled to #1 for 3 weeks, and spent 8 weeks in the Top 10.  It also went to #2 on the R&B chart for 5 weeks.  "What's Love Got To Do With It" also reached #1 in Canada and Australia, #3 in the U.K., #4 in Austria, Ireland, and Sweden, #7 in Germany, #8 in Switzerland and #10 in the Netherlands and Norway.
At the time, Turner was 44 years old, making her the oldest solo female artist to score a #1 song in the United States.  In 1999, Cher, at age 53, became the oldest female solo artist to hit #1 when "Believe" reached the top.
Turner won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, American Music Awards for Favorite Soul/R & B Female Artist and Favorite Soul/R & B Female Video Artist and an MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video.

"What's Love Got To Do With It" went Gold and helped sell 7 million albums.  It has now gone over 5 million in radio airplay.
The song's title was used as the title for the biographical movie about Turner's life in 1993.  In 2012, "What's Love Got To Do With It" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 


All I Have To Do Is  Dream
 Everly Brothers

"One of my favorites."
"Beautiful song..."
"So smooth..."
"Amazing song!"
"Song is still relevant 57 years later.  Gotta' respect that."
"Dreamy voices."
"This song is very beautiful."
"Classic song!"

With their great guitar playing and exquisite harmonies, this legendary duo had tremendous influence on groups such as the Beatles and Animals and scores of other artists.  Bob Dylan said:  "We owe those guys everything.  They started it all."
Boudleaux Bryant, who had teamed with wife Felice to write "Bye Bye Love, "Devoted To You", and "Bird Dog" for the Everly Brothers, wrote this song as well.  Phil Everly remembers his reaction to the song:
I remember hearing "All I Have To Do Is Dream" on an acetate with Boudleaux's version on it, and I said, at the time, they could have put Boudleaux's out and it would have been a hit.  It's just a great, great song.  It's beautiful.  Boudleaux was the main man who wrote all the great songs for us, and we love him.
The Everly Brothers recorded the song March 6, 1958 in two takes at RCA Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.  Chet Atkins played guitar on the track, and the Everlys released the single the following month. 
By April, the song was given heavy rotation at radio stations, where early Rock Era fans also heard great songs such as "Jailhouse Rock" and "Don't" by Elvis Presley, "At The Hop" by Danny & the Juniors, and "Twilight Time" by the Platters.
"All I Have To Do Is Dream" soared to #1 for 5 weeks in the United States, with 10 weeks in the Top 10, and peaked at #1 for 6 weeks on the Country chart and #2 for 3 weeks on the R&B chart.  It also went to #1 for 6 weeks in the U.K.
"All I Have To Do Is Dream" is included in the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll" in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2004.  The song has been played six million times to rank in The Top 30 of all-time in radio airplay.


Hello, Goodbye

"Such a simple little tune, really....why does it still sound so ....fresh nearly 50 years later? because this is what GENIUS sounds like."

"My favorite song ever!"

"Great song!"



"Fantastic song!"

"As cool now as it was when it was written.  The sublime contradictions of the lyrics, great vocals, musical dexterity and superb production is pure Beatles; in other words. timeless and perfect.

"Awesome song--love the Beatles!"

"Great music!"

Paul McCartney wrote most of the song at #76*.  Reportedly, McCartney got his inspiration when Paul brought Alistair Taylor, manager Brian Epstein's assistant, into his dining room, and asked Taylor to say the opposite of whatever he said while McCartney played the harmonium.  In the course of the evening, McCartney had composed this song, and brought in a demo to the band proposing it as the next Beatles single.  McCartney said:
  It's such a deep theme in the universe, duality – man woman, black white, ebony ivory, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye – that it was a very easy song to write.
The Beatles recorded the song in the period from October 2 to November 2 of 1967 at the EMI Studios in London.  The song features a coda, which came about spontaneously in the studio.  McCartney said:
I remember the end bit where there's the pause and it goes "Heba, heba hello".  We had those words and we had this whole thing recorded but it didn't sound quite right, and I remember asking engineer Geoff Emerick if we could really whack up the echo on the tom-toms.  And we put this echo full up on the tom-toms and it just came alive.
The Beatles released the single "Hello Goodbye" November 24 in the U.K. and November 27 in the United States, their first since the death of manager Brian Epstein.  The song was also included on the album Magical Mystery Tour.

During its chart run, "Hello Goodbye" faced competition from "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding, "To Sir With Love" by Lulu, "Love Is Blue" by Paul Mauriat, and "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees.  We have another example of a few great songs as competition, but very few Top 500 Songs*, limiting "Hello Goodbye" from ranking higher.  

"Hello Goodbye" reached #1 in every major country in the world except Austria and Switzerland, where it peaked at #2.  In the United States, the song remained at the top for 3 weeks, and spent 8 weeks in the Top 10.

The song has sold over 1 million singles and helped sell over 42 million albums in the U.S., and has been played over 3 million times. 

To Sir With Love

"I have a special place in my heart for this song."
"A classic.  Loved it then, love it now."
"Love this song!"
"Sends a massive shiver down my spine...truly awesome."
"Magic--great lyrics and awesome vocals."
"One of the songs that can bring tears to my eyes."
"A perfect song."
"So great and memorable."
"Fabulous song and well-song."

Lulu joined the group the Gleneagles in Glasgow, Scotland in 1963, which played regularly at the clubs Lindella and Le Phonegraphe.  Tony Gordon, owner of Le Phonographe, introduced the group to his sister Marion Massey, a show business manager in London.  Massey became the group's manager and changed their name to Lulu & the Luvvers.
The group signed a recording contract with Decca Records, and enjoyed a Top 10 hit in 1964 with a cover of "Shout" by the Isley Brothers.  While with her group, Lulu began to be booked as a solo act.

We are up to Song #75--one of 21 songs from the year 1967.  Although 1967 is tied for 2nd for the most songs in the Top 500* with 21, many of those songs are ranked very high, and a good reason why many people point to 1967 as being the best year of the Rock Era. 
Don Black and Mark London, husband of Massey, wrote this classic.  "To Sir With Love" is the title song from the movie of the same name starring Sidney Poitier.  The film stars Poitier as a high school teacher who has a big impact on his unruly students. Lulu plays one of his students, and sings this song to him at the end of the film as the students show their appreciation for the teacher.
Lulu got the call to act in the film after director James Clavell saw her open for the Beach Boys.  Soon, Clavell was impressed with Lulu, and not only gave her a bigger role in the movie; he tapped her to sing the theme song.   At the end of the school year, Lulu sings this song to Poitier as the students show appreciation for their teacher.  
Don Leander arranged the song and conducted the orchestra, while Mickie Most produced the song.  "To Sir With Love" debuted on the chart in September of 1967, a great year in music.  During its chart run, the song faced great songs such as "Light My Fire" by the Doors, "Ode To Billie Joe" by Bobby Gentry, "Hello Goodbye", "A Day In The Life", and "All You Need Is Love" from the Beatles, "The Letter" by the Box Tops, the Association's "Never My Love", "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees, and "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison.

"To Sir With Love" became a huge hit, rising to #1 for 5 weeks and spending 9 weeks in the Top 10.  The song also reached #9 on the R&B chart.  To date, the song has sold over one million singles and has exceeded four million in radio airplay.     


Come Together

"Perfect chilling music."
"One of my favorite songs."
"Excellent, awesome song!"
"A masterpiece."
"I love this song!"
"Classing song."
"Love McCartney's bass line in this song."

John Lennon wrote this song for psychologist Timothy Leary, who began a campaign to run for governor of California against Ronald Reagan.  That campaign came to an end when Leary was thrown in prison for possessing marijuana.
Lennon finished the song with some nonsensical lyrics and brought it to the group.   Paul McCartney came up with the idea to alter the tempo of the song:

I said, "Let's slow it down with a swampy bass-and-drums vibe."  I came up with a bass line, and it all flowed from there.

The Beatles began recording the song on July 21, 1969 at Abbey Road Studios in London and finished July 30.  The July 21st session marked the first time in which Lennon participated in a session after his and Yoko Ono's car accident three weeks before.  Ono was in worse shape than John, and Lennon set up a hospital bed in the studio so he could keep an eye on her condition.  A rotary phone was used to make the sound heard before each verse and after the chorus.  The sound was accompanied by McCartney on bass.
The Beatles released "Come Together" as a double-A side single with "Something" on October 6 from their Abbey Road album.  In addition to "Something", "Come Together" also competed with great songs such as "Honky Tonk Women" by the Rolling Stones, "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" by B.J. Thomas, "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley, "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies, "Someday We'll Be Together" by the Supremes, "Wedding Bell Blues" by the 5th Dimension, "Everbody's Talkin'" by Nilsson, "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam, "Venus" from the Shocking Blue, "Down On The Corner" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and "I Can't Get Next To You" by the Temptations.  
When "Come Together" reached #1, it enabled the Beatles to break the Rock Era record for career #1's with 18, one more than Elvis Presley.  They went on to score two more in 1970 and continue to hold the mark to this day.  The song also reached #4 in the U.K.

"Come Together" won a  Grammy Award for best engineered recording.  The song has helped sell over 44 million albums in the United States alone, to rank in The Top 15 in that category, and has logged 6 million radio airplays to date. 

Aerosmith covered the song in 1978.


My Sweet Lord 
George Harrison

"One of my favourite songs ever."
"A classic--marvelous!"
"Such a beautiful melody!  At the minute you hear that chord, you get something from inside...It's fantastic!"
"This is one of the greatest songs of all-time."
"Such a beautiful and enchanting song.  Classic!"
"It's awesome how this song can heal the soul."
"Awesome song!"
"Great music for all-time."
"It's a beautiful song."

George Harrison was always known as "the quiet Beatle", and, although he had contributed some great songs to the Beatles repertoire ("Here Comes The Sun", "Something", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps, "Norwegian Wood" and "Taxman"), when the group officially broke up in 1970, it was unclear how successful Harrison would be on his own.  George immediately put all concerns to rest with this great song.
Harrison began writing "My Sweet Lord" in December of 1969, when he, friend Billy Preston, and Eric Clapton were in Copenhagen, Denmark as guest artists on Delaney & Bonnie's European tour.  Harrison completed the song with Preston's help when they returned to London.

 George wrote the song specifically in praise of the Hindu god Krishna, but at the same time, he wanted the lyrics to serve as a call to abandon sectarianism across religious by deliberately blending the Hebrew word hallelujah with mantra chants of "Hare Krishna".  Harrison said that "hallelujah and Hare Krishna are quite the same thing."  He continued,
    First, it's simple.  The thing about a mantra, you see... mantras are, well, they call it a mystical sound vibration encased in a syllable.  It has this power within it.  It's just hypnotic.
Harrison gave the song to Preston to record, but George also recorded it himself at Abbey Road Studios in London.  Producer Phil Spector gave the song his Wall of Sound treatment, and "My Sweet Lord" is also renowned for introducing Harrison's slide guitar technique.  Eric Clapton and the members of Badfinger played acoustic guitar, Preston played piano, former Beatle Ringo Starr played drums and Gary Wright, then a member of Spooky Tooth who went on to enjoy a successful solo career later in the decade, played electric piano on the track.   
Harrison released "My Sweet Lord" as a double-A side single November 23, 1970 in the United States and January 15, 1971 in the U.K. for this acclaimed triple album All Things Must Pass.  During that time, Rock Era fans could hear other current songs such as "Just My Imagination" by the Temptations, Santana's "Black Magic Woman", "Fire And Rain" by James Taylor, "We've Only Just Begun" and "For All We Know" by the Carpenters, "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5, "Your Song" from Elton John, "Me And Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin, "Knock Three Times" by Tony Orlando & Dawn, "Rose Garden" by Lynn Anderson and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Diana Ross.
"My Sweet Lord" became the first solo Beatles song to reach #1, and it remained as the best-selling song by an ex-Beatle throughout the '70s.  By December 14, 1970, the single was already certified Gold.  All told, "My Sweet Lord" registered 4 weeks at #1, an additional 3 weeks at #2, and 10 weeks in the Top 10.  The song also hit #1 in Germany for 10 weeks, #1 in France for 9 weeks, and #1 in the U.K. for 5 weeks, and also went to #1 in Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Several years later, "My Sweet Lord" became the center of a copyright suite by Ronnie Mack, who wrote the 1963 hit "He's So Fine" for the Chiffons.  The verdict has repercussions throughout the music industry to this day.  Harrison was found to have subconsciously plagiarized the song, a verdict which has had repercussions in the industry to this day.  In the trial, Harrison testified that he used the out-of-copyright song "Oh Happy Day", a Christian hymn, as the inspiration for his melody. 
After Harrison's death in 2001, the single was re-released in the U.K., where it again rose to #1.  By 2010, sales of "My Sweet Lord" had passed the ten-million mark worldwide, including over one million in the United States.  The song has helped sell over six million albums in the U.S. alone, and has topped three million in radio airplay.
Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams, Peggy Lee, Edwin Starr, Nina Simone, Julio Iglesias, Richie Havens, and Megadeth are among the artists who have remade the song. 

Don't Go Breaking My Heart 
Elton John & Kiki Dee

"Still awesome after all these years."

"Marvelous!  Elton is one of the best!"

"An absolute CLASSIC!!"

"One of the greatest songs ever!"

"Affectionately innocent lyrics, an "I-dare-you-to-resist-this" melody, superior vocals by both parties = musical magic.  EJ wrote so many artistically profound, contemporary classics, and yet, this little ditty stands proudly among them.  Great, great, great song!"

"One of my all-time favorites."

"So catchy!"

"Great song!"


Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote this song, which Elton wanted to sing with Dusty Springfield.  He ultimately withdrew that offer because Springfield was too ill at the time.  John by 1976 had started his own record label, Rocket Records, and turned to one of the artists he had signed, Kiki Dee, to record the duet with him.  Dee recalled the process:

Both Elton and I were big fans of those duets on Motown by the likes of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and as there hadn't been any around for a bit, we thought we'd do one ourselves.

 Elton recorded his vocal in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, then the tape was sent to London where Dee recorded her vocal, and the single was released June 21.  Although the song was recorded during the sessions for the album Blue Moves, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" was not included on the album but rather released as a stand-alone single.
Among the songs that "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" faced at the time were "Tonight's The Night" by Rod Stewart, "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight" by England Dan & John Ford Coley, "Silly Love Songs" by Paul McCartney & Wings, Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now", "Rock'n Me" by the Steve Miller Band, and Boston's "More Than A Feeling". 

"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" went to #1 for 4 weeks, and also topped the Adult chart.  The song topped the U.K. chart for six weeks.  It also reached #1 in Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, and New Zealand, #3 in the Netherlands and Sweden, #4 in Switzerland, #5 in Germany and Norway, and #8 in Austria.  "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" finished 1976 as the second biggest-selling song of the year in both the U.S. and the U.K.
To date, the song has sold over 1 million singles and helped sell over 14 million albums.  It has achieved over five million airplays to rank in The Top 100 of all-time.

I'm A Believer 

"I'm a believer in great music, like this one."
"A great song."
"I love this song!"
"This is one of my all-time favorites."
"Super song!"

Amazing song!  Very catchy!"

"A real classic!"

"OMG I love this song so much!"

Neil Diamond wrote this song, which the Monkees subsequently turned into a classic.  Neil recorded it for his 1967 album Just for You, and later revised it with additional lyrics for his 1979 album September Morn.
Music entrepreneur Don Kirshner had heard "Cherry, Cherry" and became interested in signing him.  At the time, Kirshner was looking for material for the Monkees, and as part of the deal, Diamond was allowed to record the song as well.

The Monkees recorded "I'm A Believer" October 15 and 23 of 1966, with session guitarist Al Gorgoni among the musicians on the track.  Gorgoni had played on "Cherry, Cherry", and later played on "The Sound Of Silence" for Simon and Garfunkel and Brown Eyed Girl" for Van Morrison.  Producer Jeff Barry also played piano and tambourine on the track.  Mixing was completed in time for a release date of November 12 from the album More of the Monkees.
"I'm A Believer" was heard the same time as classics such as "Penny Lane" by the Beatles, "Happy Together" by the Turtles, "Cherish" by the Association, "Good Vibrations" from the Beach Boys, "You Can't Hurry Love" and "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by the Supremes, "Ruby Tuesday" from the Rolling Stones, "Reach Out I'll Be There" by the Four Tops, and "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield.   
The Monkees heavily promoted the song on their television series.  There were over one million advance orders for the single, and it went Gold within two days of release.  "I'm A Believer" topped charts in the United States for 7 weeks and spent 12 weeks lodged inside the Top 10.  The song also went to #1 in the U.K. for four weeks.
"I'm A Believer" is one of fewer than 40 songs to sell over 10 million copies worldwide, including over one million in the U.S.  It has helped sell seven million albums and has been played over four million times. 
Diamond was asked by Mojo magazine if he resented the success of the Monkees with his song:

I was thrilled, because at heart I was still a songwriter and I wanted my songs on the charts.  It was one of the songs that was going to be on my first album, but Donny Kirshner, who was their music maven, hears "Cherry, Cherry" on the radio and said, "Wow, I want one like that for The Monkees!"  He called my producers, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich - "Hey, does this kid have any more?"  And they played him the things I had cut for the next album and he picked "I'm A Believer," "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" and "Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)," and they had some huge hits.  But the head of my record company freaked.  He went through the roof because he felt that I had given #1 records away to another group.  I couldn't have cared less because I had to pay the rent and The Monkees were selling records and I wasn't being paid for my records.

A cover version by Smash Mouth, featured in the 2001 movie Shrek, reached #25 in the United States.

Thanks for joining us each and every day during the special--the fun continues tomorrow on Inside The Rock Era!

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