"I'm a Believer" was written by Neil Diamond. He originally recorded the song himself, but when the Monkees released it as the first single from their More Of the Monkees album in November 1966, it quickly went to #1. "I'm a Believer" remained at #1 for seven weeks and was the bestselling record of the year for 1967. It is estimated to have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Jeff Barry, a veteran of classic girl group and Phil Spector efforts, produced "I'm a Believer."
John Stewart of the legendary folk group the Kingston Trio wrote "Daydream Believer." Producer Chip Douglas brought the song to the attention of the Monkees. It is his voice that interacts with lead vocalist Davy Jones on the humorous spoken word intro. "Daydream Believer" was the final #1 pop hit single by the group spending four weeks at the top of the charts.
The legendary songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote "Pleasant Valley Sunday," a piece of social commentary about status symbols and suburbia. In an effort to gain some control of the recording process Mike Nesmith invited producer Chip Douglas to helm the Monkees' studio efforts. "Pleasant Valley Sunday" featured musical input from the entire group and landed at #3 on the pop singles chart.
The Monkees debut single "Last Train To Clarksville" was written and produced by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The pair had such a close connection to the success of the group that they formed a group and toured with Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones in the mid 1970s playing classic Monkees songs. The musical style of the song has been compared to the Beatles' hit "Paperback Writer." "Last Train To Clarksville" was a #1 hit song two months after the TV show The Monkees debuted in September 1966.
"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" is the B-side for the Monkees' biggest hit single "I'm a Believer." It became a hit on its own. The song was written and produced by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" was notoriously covered by legendary punk band the Sex Pistols.
"A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" was the second Neil Diamond song released as a single by the Monkees. It was the group's first single to feature Davy Jones on lead vocals. Reportedly "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" was recorded with no input by any of the Monkees beyond Davy Jones, and they do not appear on the record. The record inflamed the conflict between the Monkees and record label personnel over artistic control of the group's music.
Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote "Porpoise Song" for the Monkees' feature film Head. It utilizes psychedelic rock styling with echo distortion of the lead vocals. The Monkees produced the song themselves along with Gerry Goffin. Along with the movie, "Porpoise Song" was a relative commercial failure but represents the group as an intact musical unit with their own artistic direction.
Written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, "Valleri" was originally recorded in 1966 and included in The Monkees TV show in 1967. However, it was never officially released. In 1968, with the Monkees in control of their own artistic process and producing their own music, "Valleri" was re-recorded to be included on the album The Birds, The Bees, and the Monkees. It became a #3 pop hit and was the group's final top 10 pop hit.
"D.W. Washburn" was the first single released by the Monkees following cancellation of their TV series. Without the promotion via the weekly show, the song failed to make the pop top 10. It was written by the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It remains a good example of a folky style often favored by the group when in control of the recording process.