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Rate-O-Rama: I'm A Believer

Rate-O-Rama #31: The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Smash Mouth

By Rick Henry Christopher Published 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
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The Monkees / Neil Diamond / Smash Mouth

Welcome to Rate-O-Rama!

If you wish to receive a notice when the next Rate-O-Rama post is published please mention that you would like a notification in the comments section.

Rate-O-Rama is a reader participation game.

Every Wednesday evening I will publish a Rate-O-Rama article which will feature three versions of a popular song.

The object is to listen to each of the music videos provided within the post.

After listening to each video you can rate each song in the comments section below.

(You must be a member to comment. If you are not a member you can join Vocal Media for FREE. You don’t ever have to pay for membership unless you choose to upgrade your membership)

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The rating method is easy. Simply give each song a rating of 1 to 100.

(The more you like the song the higher the rating).

If possible, please provide a brief comment to let us now what you think of each song.

After a week (Wednesday evening) I will tally the ratings and in the next Rate-O-Rama post, I will announce the average rating each song received.

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Last week we featured the Rhythm & Blues classic: “I Put a Spell on You" as recorded by Screamin' Jay Hawkins (1956), Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968), and Annie Lennox (2014).

The following are the average ratings for each song as a result of the votes:

🥇 Dinah Washington and Quincy Jones: 96

🥈 Louis Johnson: 89.7

🥉 Joe Jackson: 72.8

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The Thirty First Edition of Rate-O-Rama features three renditions of the Pop/Rock classic: “I'm a Believer."

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The Monkees (1966)

Written by Neil Diamond. Producer Don Kirchner was looking for material for The Monkees when Neil Diamond's “Cherry Cherry” caught his attention. Diamond suggested “I'm A Believer.”

“I'm A Believer” followed The Monkees' first single the #1 hit “Last Train to Clarksville” and immediately followed it to #1 in almost every country that tracked music sales. The song was a phenomenal hit which helped supercharge not only The Monkees' career but also Neil Diamond's. Mickey Dolenz, The Monkees' drummer, performed the lead vocal on this song. Neil Diamond played acoustic guitar.

Cash Box magazine described the song as being, "a medium-paced rocker that is full of the group's top notch harmonies and is laced with infectious sounds."

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Neil Diamond (1967)

Shortly after The Monkees' success with the dong Neil Diamond recorded his own version. He liked Artie Butler's musical arrangement for The Monkees so he had a similar arrangement produced.

Diamond's rendition appeared on his second album Just For Fun. He decided not to release the song as a single but the song has been included on several Neil Diamond Greatest Hits compilations due to the immense popularity of The Monkees' recording.

In 2008 Mojo Magazine asked Neil Diamond if he resented the Monkees' success with “I'm a Believer” at a time when his own recording career was less successful. He replied: "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 The Monkees’ music maven, heard '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 second 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.”

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Smash Mouth (2001)

Smash Mouth recorded “I'm a Believer” for the 2001 animated film Shrek. The song was chosen for its opening line, "I thought love was only true in fairy tales", which matched the fairy tale theme of the film.

Subsequently, Neil Diamond wrote the song "You Are My Number One" for Smash Mouth's next album Get the Picture?.

The song reached #25 in the US as well as #12 in New Zealand and Spain. It was also #3 in Canada, #9 in Spain.

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My Thoughts

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The Monkees:

The Monkees rendition is one of the greatest pop songs of all-time. I get a feel good feel every time I hear the song.

Mickey Dolenz's lead vocal is great. His delivery is smooth and enthusiastic. I love all the sunny sounding sounds interpolating throughout the song. Without hesitation I give this 100.

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Neil Diamond:

I am a big fan of Neil Diamond's music and I love many of his hits including #Song Sung Blue,” “If You Know What I Mean,” and “Forever in Blue Jeans.” Overall Neil's vocal has the energy to carry the song and the arrangement is solid. I like the song quite a bit and at some points it has a sort of Bob Dylan vibe (but with a better singing voice). I give Neil Diamond kudos for writing the song and give his version a 94.

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Smash Mouth:

The musical arrangement is pretty good and I really like the guitars. Steve Harewell handles the lead vocal just fine but I feel his voice just is better suited for Smash Mouth originals such as "All Star" and "Walking on the Sun." The song has a bit of spark but it is not my favorite by Smash Mouth. I give this rendition a 72.

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I will be back next week with the results of this Rate-O-Rama Edition.

Last Week's Rate-O-Rama:

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With Love, RHC ❤️

pop culturesong reviewssocial mediarockpophistoryfeaturebandsalt rockalternative60s music
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About the Creator

Rick Henry Christopher

Writing is a distraction to fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and soothing the bruises of the day.

The shattered pieces of life will not discourage me.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/vocalplusassist

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Comments (18)

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  • Rick Henry Christopher (Author)about a month ago

    This week's Rate-O-Rama is now closed!!! Here is the link to the new Rate-O-Rama: https://vocal.media/beat/rate-o-rama-take-me-to-the-river Thank you for playing Rate-O-Rama!!! 💜🩷💙

  • Tiffany Gordon about a month ago

    Smashmouth rocked it! They took the cake! 100 Monkees 92 for nostalgia's sake Neil Diamond 80

  • Lamar Wigginsabout a month ago

    Great song choice, Rick! The Monkees did it for me. 95 Neil Diamond 65. It was kind of boring, lol. Smashmouth 80. Their version was ok. I didn't like some of the vocal arrangements toward the end though. The video was fun! Do you take requests?

  • Sandra Tena Coleabout a month ago

    Brilliantly put together Rick! This was a particularly difficult one for me because I love the song so much, and because all 3 versions are so great! But I loved reading about the connections between all 3 versions, and it just leaves me thinking how much Neil Diamond has influenced music even when we haven't been aware ❣️ I give The Monkees 100 for iconic feel-good vibes Neil Diamond 100 iconic songwriting and great vocals Smashmouth 90 for great vocals and how they obviously respected the original whilst having lots of fun with their own version

  • Novel Allenabout a month ago

    Did I not ask to be notified. Maybe not, please do Thank you. I love the energy of Smash mouth--I can dance to it. 95 I love Neil Diamond- 94 The Monkees, 90. Peace and love, Be well.

  • Kelsey Clareyabout a month ago

    The Monkees: 90 Neil Diamond: 95 Smash Mouth: 100. This might be influenced by the fact that I was the target age group for Shrek when it came out, so Smash Mouth is the version I grew up with. It's always impossible not to sing and dance with though.

  • Scott Christensonabout a month ago

    I learned something in every Rate-o-rama, I never knew the song was written by Neal Diamond! And I always thought the monkees were a british band. (The monkees were one of my go tos at karaoke in japan back in the day, there were only oldies songs and the spice girls on the english playlist) The monkeees - 100 Neal Diamond - 95 Smash Mouth - 85

  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    Hi Rick, I love The Monkees. I also love their song Daydream Believer ..one of my favourite songs ever. 😁 I didn’t know Neil Diamond wrote many of their songs. The Monkees - 100 Neil Diamond - 72 Smash Mouth - 85 - fun and nostalgic for when I was a teen.

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    RHC: thank you as always for doing these!!! I look forward to them each week

  • Shirley Belk2 months ago

    Smash Mouth: 100 Monkees: 95 Neil Diamond: 80

  • Mariann Carroll2 months ago

    Monkees 100%, Neil 90 % and Smash Mouth 75%. Thanks for choosing this song Rick . It took me back in time ♥️

  • Randy Baker2 months ago

    Monkees: 100 Neil Diamond: 90 Smash Mouth: 75

  • Mackenzie Davis2 months ago

    Hmmmm. I just like the song, lol. Tough to rank them… How about The Monkees at 99, Neil Diamond at 98 and Smash Mouth at 97. Basically a tie!

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    The Monkees 100 I'm like you. I can't hear this and not smile. It's bloody great and there is something so cheeky about the Monkees and that video you put on that just made me smile all the more. I think it's the Technicolour! Neil Diamond. 90 I like it but it's not the same. I do love Neil Diamond though, his voice and his arrangement is true enough to the original to echo it but to be new too. It's good but it's not the Monkees. Smash Mouth 90 I liked this too. I think the song is the winner in all of these because I think you would have to go some to wreck such a great pop tune. I agree with you in that Smash Mouth have done better songs but this version still has merit. Thanks again, Rick!

  • The Monkees: 80 Neil Diamond: 90 Smash Mouth: 70

  • The Monkees 100 Neil Diamond 98 Smash 100 They were all good but Smash almost rated 101

  • Susan Fourtané2 months ago

    A nice feel good song. 🎶🎵 The Monkees: 100 Neil Diamond: 95 Smash Mouth: 50

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    The Monkees 100 + Neil Diamond 90 Smach Mouth 60

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