Cheer up, Sleepy Jean, because it's time to share the story of "Daydream Believer." The classic Monkees song is featured in the third episode of WandaVision, which hit Disney+ on Friday, Jan. 22. The song was one of the biggest hits from The Monkees, hitting the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1967, becoming their last chart-topper. "Daydream Believer" was written by the late John Stewart, a member of The Kingston Trio, and has been recorded countless times since Davy Jones first sang to the homecoming queen over 50 years ago.
Stewart wrote "Daydream Believer" just before he left The Kingston Trio. In a 1991 interview with American Songwriter, Stewart said he originally envisioned the song as part of a "suburban trilogy" he was working on. At one point, he suddenly thought, "What a wasted day - all I've done is daydream." A short time later, "Daydream Believer" was born.
"I never thought it was one of my best songs," Stewart, who died in 2008 at 68, said. "Not at all. And then when I heard The Monkees do it, I said, 'My God! The line was supposed to be, 'You once thought of me as a white knight on his steed/now you know how funky life can be.' You know, after the wedding how things can get funky? And then Davy [Jones] sings, 'Now you know how happy life can be.' The record company wouldn’t let them say 'funky.'"
Excellent use of The Monkees. #WandaVision— Tankboy (@tankboy) January 22, 2021
Stewart recorded his own version in 1971. The song also became a hit for country singer Anne Murray in December 1979. Her version topped the Adult Contemporary chart, reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chat and third place on Billboard's country chart. Murray sang "happy" instead of "funky," too. It will "always be 'happy,'" Stewart said in 1991.prevnext
Although Stewart wrote hundreds of songs during his life, "Daydream Believer" became the best known. "I lived off the song totally for more than a year. And then Anne Murray recorded it and it came up again. It was just a song I wrote in a few minutes," Stewart said in 1991. "I’ve written other songs like 'Runaway Train' just as fast."prevnext
The Monkees' version has been included on just about every Monkees greatest hits album, although it first appeared on The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees. The album version opens with funny banter between Jones, who died in 2012, and producer Chip Douglas, who yells the take number at the singer. "Okay, I don't mean to get you excited, man," Jones replied. "It's 'cause I'm short, I know." "You can tell from the vocal that I was pissed off," Jones later wrote in the Monkees' biography.prevnext
For all the #WandaVision fans out there with “Daydream Believer” stuck in their heads... this song was originally performed by The Monkees, a “fake” band, and I find that hilarious.— Sara Katz-Scher (@ThatPrincessGrl) January 22, 2021
#Wandavision 3 is ramping up the Truman show unease brilliantly, also everything is infinitely better with The Monkees.— HappyToast ★ (@IamHappyToast) January 22, 2021